Tobar an Dualchais - Kist O Riches

The voices of the past ... brought to life through the latest technology - The speik o a bygane age ... gien new virr wi fantoosh technology
This website contains over 34,000 oral recordings made in Scotland and further afield, from the 1930s onwards.
The items you can listen to include stories, songs, music, poetry and factual information.


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Painted by Henry Raeburn. In the public domain.

Niel Gow was born in this month in 1727 and became the most famous Scottish fiddler of the eighteenth century. He also left a lasting musical legacy.

Niel grew up in Inver, a village near Dunkeld, where his father was a weaver. He started playing the fiddle as a young child and received formal tuition from the age of thirteen.

At the age of eighteen he won a fiddle contest in Perth and this brought him to the attention of the 2nd Duke of Atholl, who became Niel's patron. Niel would play at various balls, receptions and dance parties held at Blair Castle and Dunkeld House. This led to him travelling around Scotland performing at parties and balls in the homes of Scotland's wealthy. Such was his fame that the painter Henry Raeburn was commissioned to paint his portrait several times.

As well as playing the fiddle, Niel also composed many beautiful tunes. The exact number is not known but it is estimated at over 80. One of his best-known compositions is 'Lament for the Death of his Second Wife' which is played here by Aly Bain.

Listen to 'Lament for the Death of his Second Wife'

Browse all recordings of Aly Bain

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About the Website

Julie Fowlis and Chris Wright were Tobar an Dualchais' Artists in Residence in 2012


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