Newly Added Contributors

Newly Added Contributors

Since the launch of the original Tobar an Dualchais (Kist o Riches) website more than ten years ago, there have been almost 46,000 tracks made available on the website – an unparallelled achievement which has made a wealth of recordings of Gaelic and Scots song, history, and tradition available globally to anyone who wishes to listen to them.

The work, however, is by no means complete, and the ongoing tasks of cataloguing, summarising, transcribing and agreeing copyright with contributors and their next of kin are integral to the work of the Tobar an Dualchais team.  The extensive archive collections of the School of Scottish Studies, The Canna Collection, and BBC Radio nan Gàidheal are the underground springs which feed this stream of new material on the website

Below are a small selection of our recently-added contributors.  This will be regularly updated as we work to trace those recorded and their next of kin.  

Pipe Major James Robertson

Pipe Major James (Jimmy) Robertson was one of the leading figures in piping in the first half of the twentieth century. Born in 1886 in Portsoy, Banffshire, Robertson moved with his family to Coatbridge at the age of seven, and began to learn the pipes at the age of fifteen with Pipe Major William Sutherland of Airdrie, before joining the army at the age of 20 where he had a distinguished career, serving in the Great War and rising to the rank of Pipe Major in 1918.
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London Gaelic Choir (Còisir Lunnainn)

In addition to the many individual contributors on our website, we also have recordings of many Gaelic choirs – especially in the BBC collection, which features recordings from the Royal National Mòd from the 1950s onwards. Among the choirs who are new to our website is Còisir Lunnainn – the London Gaelic Choir – who were recorded at the 1977 Mòd in Sutherland.
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Gilbert Gray

Born in 1909 in Norwick, Unst, Gilbert (Gibbie) Gray grew up steeped in the Shetland musical tradition and language, both his mother and father being well-known local fiddlers. Recorded extensively by Tom Anderson and Dr Peter Cooke, his style was an outstanding example of the local Unst tradition, and his playing was long sought after at dances in houses and local halls. He was also a veteran of the Second World War, serving in the Merchant Navy for many years.
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Ella Henderson

Among the new recordings on the website are a number from the Northern Isles. Some of the most notable are those of of Ella Henderson (née Stout), and her husband John, who were recorded in June 1977 in Fair Isle, by Peter Cooke. These recordings capture both the traditional culture of Fair Isle and give us an insight into lighthouse keeping and the associated way of life at a time when the process of automation was in full swing, slowly but surely bringing a three-hundred-year-old way of life to an end.
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Betsy West

One remarkable woman who features in our selection of new Ìleach contributors is Betsy West (née McNeill). Born in December 1915 in Portnahaven to Malcolm McNeill and Marion MacKinnon, Betsy was the youngest of four, of whom – tragically – only two survived until adulthood. She grew up on Queen Street, Portnahaven, speaking only Gaelic until the age of five.
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Alex Norman MacPhee

Another new addition to the Tobar an Dualchais website is Alex Norman MacPhee. Born in South Uist in 1919, MacPhee emigrated to Canada with his parents in 1924, settling in the Canadian Prairies in Alberta. Despite spending the vast majority of his life in Western Canada, Alex did not lose his mother tongue, and was well versed in the culture and history of the Gaels on both sides of the Atlantic.
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