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Riona Whyte
Riona has been surrounded by music all her life, she has been singing since an early age at home with her family and was encouraged in school to compete at the local Mod. She sang with the Gaelic choir in Lochaline Primary school and then joined Oban High School Gaelic Choir. Instigated by Gaelic teacher Boyd Robertson, she became vocalist and guitarist with folk group 'Na Latharnaich' with fellow classmates Catriona MacCallum, Hector MacFadyen, Fiona MacLeod and Martin MacLeod. They competed at the Royal National Mod in Stornoway in 1979 and won! The group went on to support popular acts such as Donnie' Large' MacDonald and Norman MacLean as well as various ceilidhs around Argyll and occasional Radio broadcasts.

While studying in Glasgow, Riona continued to increase her repertoire and had success at local and national Mds. She returned home and married Muileach, Reay and while heavily pregnant with her son Alasdair in 1986, won the premier award for Gaelic Learners, the Silver Pendant. She subsequently went on to win various other competitions and in 1988, while heavily pregnant with her daughter Megan, won the Kennedy Fraser competition. It became a standing joke that perhaps she should be pregnant with twins before attempting the major award at the Royal National Mod - the Gold Medal!
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Family photos Granny & Granda MacGregor Granny Jackson Granda Jackson Riona Reay Stuart, Granda MacGregor, Riona Mum & Dad (Creina & Alasdair) - wedding photo Mum & Dad (Creina & Alasdair) Riona, Stuart & Mairi Reay & Riona (wedding photo) Dad (Alasdair) Stuart, Riona & Mairi Mum & I Alasdair & Megan
Whilst working in the Gaelic Medium Unit in Salen on the Island of Mull with inspirational teacher (now MP) Angus Brendan MacNeil, Riona achieved her lifetime goal of winning the Ladies Gold Medal at the Royal National Md in Stornoway in 2001.

She joined an exclusive group of people by winning the Oban Times Gold Medal at the Royal National Md in Caithness in 2010.

Choral singing has played a large part of Riona's cultural path and she has been a member of the Isle of Mull Gaelic Choir since 1985. She instigated the formation of Argyll Ladies Choir - Atomaig Piseag in 2003 and also the formation of quartet 'Dealrach in 2008 with fellow Piseagan - Joy Dunlop, Audrey Paterson and Nicola Pearson. She has helped tutor the Ardnamurchan Gaelic Community Choir, Ceilear, and has now been persuaded to form a new choir based in her home village of Lochaline. Burach formed in March 2012 and competed at the Barra & Vatersay Provincial Md in September earning great praise from the adjudicators.

Riona has been secretary of the Mull Local Mod-Md Ionadach na Drelluinn, for more than 20 years. This Md has now become an extremely popular event with Mod goers and visitors alike. One of her duties on the Mull Md committee is to tutor in local schools preparing the children for the local Md. As part of the 70th anniversary celebration for Md Ionadach na Drelluinn, Riona spearheaded a new song competition - ran r do Mhuile. This project was extremely successful and tracks from the CD are still played regularly on the radio.

Comunn Gidhealach Mhuile was formed, with Riona's help, in 2003, and she teaches at two weekly group sessions . Members of the club have been very successful at various events throughout the country.

Riona has been involved with various projects at Watercolour Music and has assisted with projects such as Lasair Dhe and Sruth is Steall.

Riona's debut album Bunachas (Roots) was released this summer. A generous present of recording time by her husband Reay, propelled Riona into the relatively unknown world of recording. The patience and expertise of Mary Ann and Nick at Watercolour Music has resulted in a project she is proud of. 'I wanted to include songs that were personal to me and show my roots as well as some of my favourites. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole process from researching and choosing the songs to the recording with some of my friends and making some new ones along the way!' Researching the songs has created an interest, throughout the family, in family history and we have made quite a few interesting discoveries.

Riona's debut solo album is out now.