New York City to showcase first ever Gaelic song contest with Tartan Week Mòd

A NYC Tartan Week Mòd will take place for the first time this spring as NYC Tartan Week, the largest annual Scottish cultural gathering in NYC, hosts its first ever Scottish Gaelic song contest in celebration of NYC Tartan Week’s 25th anniversary of National Tartan Day. The two-day event will be held in association with An Comunn Gàidhealach, who are responsible for the annual Royal National Mòd, and hosted by Mòd Gold Medallist and BBC Alba’s SpeakGaelic presenter, Joy Dunlop. It marks the first time a Mòd has taken place in New York City.

A beautiful way to celebrate our community and our history

Singers from across North America, Scotland, and beyond are being invited to compete in the historic event which will take place at The Tailor Public House on Thursday 13th April. The competition will see singers ages 16+ perform one of six prescribed Gaelic songs, or their own selected Gaelic song, before a panel of judges. The winner will be crowned NYC Tartan Week Mòd Champion 2023 with a cash prize sponsored by the New York Caledonian Club, and the winner will be invited to perform at the New York Caledonian Club NYC Tartan Week Pre-Parade Ceilidh. Wednesday 12th April will see the event kick off with a series of workshops in Gaelic language and culture including song, instrumental music, step dancing, and ceilidh dancing. The festivities will be captured by Mac TV for a documentary that will be aired later this year. It will follow Joy as she travels across the Atlantic to share the spirit, excitement and camaraderie of the Mòd and speak to Americans with ties to Scotland about the importance of celebrating the Gaelic language and their heritage.

Joy Dunlop.

The Royal National Mòd, which takes place annually in different Scottish locations each October, is the highlight of the Gaelic community calendar and the annual festival is the largest gathering of Scottish Gaelic song, music, and culture in the world. Choirs, groups, quartets, duets, soloists, thespians, and musicians compete at this week-long gathering, with winners of its singing and musical competitions going on to delight audiences around the world. Joy Dunlop said: “The tradition of the Mòd is one we’ve enjoyed in Scotland for over 100 years, and we are so proud to bring this event to NYC for the first time. It’s a beautiful way to celebrate our community and our history and keep this important part of our culture thriving on both sides of the Atlantic.”

A gathering of people

James Graham, Chief Executive Officer of An Comunn Gàidhealach, said: “The Royal National Mòd is the biggest celebration of Gaelic language so it felt only fitting that we partnered up with North America’s largest annual Scottish cultural gathering. It’s wonderful to see NYC Tartan Week bring its own mòd to life across the Atlantic for what will be a fantastic opportunity for Gaelic speakers across the pond to take part in a Gaelic singing competition. This pilot project has so much potential, and we look forward to continue growing this friendship in years to come.”

The Royal National Mòd is organised by An Comunn Gàidhealach (The Highland Association) which was founded in Oban in 1891 and had HM The Queen as its Patron.  The Gaelic word “mòd” means “a gathering of people” and this festival was first held in Oban in 1892, and it has grown to become Scotland’s premier Gaelic festival famous for celebrating our Gaelic linguistic and cultural heritage.  Following Royal assent and now known as The Royal National Mòd, it provides opportunities for people of all ages to perform across a range of competitive disciplines including Gaelic music and song, highland dancing, instrumental, drama, sport and literature.

To find out more, visit This year’s Royal National Mòd will take place in Paisley from 13th-21st October 2023. Entries are open now at

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