An Athollman’s Bagpipe Song in Defense of Gaelic

Gaels all over the Highlands, even as far east as Strathardle, managed to cling resiliently onto their language and culture until the tumultuous changes of the nineteenth century. English pushed aggressively against Gaelic during the nineteenth century, but not without some resistance. One of those Perthshire Highlanders who defended his native language and urged others…

Kenyon Love Song (19th-century Ontario)

I’m slogging my way through a very large project at present, the first modern anthology of Canadian-Gaelic literature that I’m calling Seanchaidh na Coille // The Memory-Keeper of the Forest, which will be published by Cape Breton University Press next year. I’m trying to cover as much territory as I can in Canada, as Gaelic-speaking…

The Origins of the Strathspey: A Rebuttal

By the 16th century Lowland texts reflect the notion that the Highlands were a repository of older Scottish customs and traditions, and Macpherson’s Ossian (1760) only popularized and reinforced this idea. Music and song collectors of the 18th and 19th centuries, responding to the perceived crisis of Scottish identity and tradition in an assimilationist and…

Gaelic Song by a Bute-man?

I have an 8-month old daughter, Róisín, who loves edges: she crawls up to the boundary of the carpet – or, this morning, to the serrated edge of the café play mat –, feels the texture of the edge, pulls it up and looks under, and seems to be fascinated with the interface between the…