About Me

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Isle of Canna, Scottish Highlands, Highlands, United Kingdom
I am a Gaelic singer living in the Highlands.I have produced 4 CDs - the most recent being "Archipelago- Songs of the Scottish Islands in Scots 7 gaelic""released on the Greentrax label. The other Cds are " A Good Suit of Clothes- emigrant Songs" "Duan Nollaig" - a unique Gaelic Christmas double CD( also on Greentrax, 2007) and "Orain nan Rosach" ( 2006). Since May 2015, I have been lucky enough to be working as the Canna House archivist on the Isle of canna, for the Nationl Trust for Scotland, looking after the incredible folklore archives fo John Lorne and Margaret Campbell.I look forward to keeping you up to date with my music, gigs, news www.fionamackenzie.org Tapadh leibhs! Thank you!

Thursday, 31 December 2009

The American 'Livvie' LiveIreland awards!

Absolutely delighted to find out today, the last day of 2009, that I have won a special award in the Livvie Awards by LiveIreland.- Special Merit of the Year - for the album "A Good Suit of Clothes". A real honour and a lovely New Year present! Mile taing, LiveIreland! And epsecially thanks to Irvin of course, the honour should really go to him- he made the songs what they are.

Bliadhna Mhath Ur indeed!

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Bliadhna Mhath ur Dhuibh Uile!

In case Hogmanay celebrations overtake me ( I wish!), I'd just like to wish you all a very Happy New year when it comes. Bliadhna Mhath ur nuair a thigeas e!
I'd be very keen to hear from anyone who'd like to learn some mroe wee bits and pieces of Gaelic with me or who have any queries about Gaelic Song?
I'd also be interested in hearing from anyone who may have musical projects they may have ideas for?
And also love to hear from anyone who'd be interested in coming with me to Spain this Springtime to learn Gaelic Song & Language? More detials to come soon.

A very safe and happy Hogmanay and Ne'Er Day to you all!

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Edinburgh Gig - 28th December

Delighted to be catching up with my Burnsong pals again in Edinburgh tomorrow night ( 28th) and delighted to see anybody else there too. @ The Village, Leith around 730p.
Andy Tucker of The Scattered Family will be hosting the evening and it promises to be an eclectic set! Link to location http://http://www.multimap.com/maps/?zoom=16&title=The%20Village%20Bar%20and%20Restaurant%2C%20South%20Fort%20Street%2C%20Edinburgh&countryCode=GB&qs=EH64DN

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Christmas Eve Concert online update

Fiona and katie's concert of Gaelic carols on Christmas Eve shoudl be alovely way of seeing in Christmas Day ( if you're with UK time) and whatever time of day it is with you, its guaranteed to get you in the Christmas spirit! Join us at 1140pm for half an hour of old favourites and some newer ones too - download the lyrics and listen to the podcast on my website so you can join in!

Get the mulled wine or spiced apple juice out of whatever makes you feel festive an

d relax for a wee while. Katie will accompany me on the Scottish Clarsach for some of the songs. If you do join us for the carols make sure and close any other programs you may have running on your computer before watching as they may mean your computer will struggle to stream the broadcast

Look forward to seeing you - and hope you enjoy it!

A very Nollaig Chridheil to you all!


Friday, 18 December 2009

Duan Nollaig Christmas Show

The Duan Nollaig TV Christmas carol concert will be aired again this Christmas, twice! On STV on the 23rd Dec at 1135pm and then on BBC Alba , Christmas Eve at 2015. Heres a taster.

Live Christmas Gaelic Carol Concert- streamed on web

Im going to be performing what we think is the first ever Gaelic Christmas carol concert streamed live on the web on Christmas Eve! From 1140 till 1210, myself and singer and clarsach player Katie Mackenzie will take you gently into Christmas Day with some well known and not so well known Gaelic carols. You will be able to join in too but downloading the lyric and phonetic sheets which will be available shortly from my website http://www.fionamackenzie.org/

We will be performing , from my home, of course in UK time so if you're elsewhere in the world, you'll need to adjust your time schedule accordingly! The carols will be available, recorded on the site , after the broadcast.

The carols will be broadcast from my site at http://www.fionamackenzie.org/

Friday, 11 December 2009

Burnsong jetlag etc...

Beginning to recover from the Burnsong week. Still cant believe I actually managed to write 5 songs- hope to record them sometime in 2010. Topics as diverse as Robert Burns and Blackberry.........:0) We Burnsong incumbents are so missing each other that we 're having 2 meetups over Christmas - firstly at Andy Tuckers gig at King Tuts in Glasgow on the 19th then in The Village , Edinburgh on the 28th and several tiunes and songs will be had so if you're inthe vicinity,we'd be delighted to see you and you can hear some of our new material! Watch this psace for details of gigs for 2010

Been busy with Christmas carol services for TV this year etc - my own Duan Nollaig Christmas Specialis to be screened again several times over Christmas- firstly on BBC Alba on Christmas Eve at 2015 so hope you can tune in for 45 mins of very Christmassy music from St Andrews in the Square, Glasgow.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Burnsong HOuse Day 6

Day of rehearsals for the Big Gig on MOnday in the Scottish Parliament. This week has been full of revelations - and none more so than that I feel like a whole new world of music is on my doorstep, not to sound too cheesy! The people in the house are such fantasic singers and musicians and Ive been priviledge to learn so much from the. And my doo wop BV's are getting better by the minute!
the gig will be broadcast on Radio Scotland on Monday 30th at 10pm .
My songs are called Guthan air a'Ghaoith and Thuirt Thu Riumsa. Guthan was the song I won my place in the House with and Thuirt Thu is one I wrote yesterday.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Lisa and AJ rehearsing harmonies for The Tinto Hymn for the Burnsong Big Gig

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

The Burnsong Peacock

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

Burnsong House Day 5

Another productive day in the Burnsong House although there were a few very tired musicians floating around first thing. Have to decide today which of our new songs we want to do on Monday - think I'm going to sing the one I actualy wrote for today - a sort of a protest song or as near as Gaeldom can get to a protest song! Quite different to anything Ive ever done - or heard- before.
Task for today is to write about a place or an inanimate object. Im on the Blackberry.....

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Day 4 in the Burnsong House

Some more great songs emerging today, from all. Everyone's style is so different but all have something special. Learning so much about the pitfalls and the intrinsic writing techniques which I either didn't realise existed or even didn't realise I was using anyway.
Really hope that I can come out of here with at least one song which DOESN'T sound like a Gaelic song....

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Day 3 in the Burnsong House

Day 3 dawned with several very sleepy songwriters- some were 'writing' till the very wee sma oors....:0)
Still dreadful weather in the dales.
Task today wa to write in the completlely opposite way to which we normlly write- ie for me , that meant NOT writing the melody without recourse to using accompanying instrumentation - to make me look at chords etc - which- when you dont actually PLAY anything that makes chords, aint easy..... found it very hard not to just write the tune in my head. enlisted the help of Lisa who gave the me benefit of her lovely wee sheruti box but I still found it hard- we'll see what happens tomorrow....
Set list out for the Parliament gig. First set is the 'winning' songs. The gig will be broadcast on the Iain Anderson Show on BBC Scotland on Monday nigt.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Day 2 proper in the Burnsong House

First whole day in Burnsong - dreadful weather, get soaked between house and studio. Started at 10 and had first task - to come up with 10 titles. then a lecture on pitfalls of song writing and various challenges then given task no 2- to a) write lyrics for a song then give them to one of hte other writers to do the melody. Mean that one poor writer had to do a Gaelic song - poor Lisa, she coped fantastically well after a wee Gaelic cramming session! I wrote a song called Barr an Crois- the place we're staying is called Barncrosh and I dont know if its from the Gaelic but Ive used it as inspiration anyway.
Then had to perform the songs we were given the melody to compose- I got Andys' song a- a 'blokes' song!! Kebabs and Playstation 2 and drinking sessions featured heavily......... however he seemed happy with what I came up with!
Now after dinner off to write another one before 11am tomorrow- lyrics and melody with a chorus which EVERYONE can learn....... Any ideas!!!

Monday, 23 November 2009

Day 1 1/2 in the Burnsong House!

All arrived in the House now apart from Nuala, Ziggy & Yvonne. Weather very wet,as it has been in Dumfries for the last few days - extensive flooding as reported in the media, very wet and lots of stranded sheep and cows! W're not really affected at Barncrosh though as we're up on the hills - the llamas will look after us.........
Jennie ( our 'minder' for the week) is looking after us us beautifully and we're all settled into our rooms - the house i beautiful and full of creative potential! Methinks there will be lots of great artistic debate this week and everyone seems lovely.
Joe ( Bennett) wants us to get to work tonight ( hes also going to blog the week - http://joebennett.wordpress.com/2009/11/08/and-so-peaceful-until/- but says he'll be gentle with us as some of us are pretty tired from travelling - 2 from the US, Emily and AJ included- but we're having a musical 'get to know you circle' - bit more fun than the usual 'dynamics' session........

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Day 1 in the Burnsong House......:0)

Heading for lovely warm, dry Dumfries..............with waders safely packed....... hope the floods havnt affected the Burnsong House!
Looking forward to a challenging week - its good to be pushed out of your comfort zone now and then - but it is a bit daunting too! Im sure we will have a great time but the dynamics of 12 creative folk in one house could make for some interesting debate!
Co dhiubh, I shall endeavour to keep up to dat e with the blog- internet connection allowing....
wee articla on Bord na Gaidhlig page about Burnsong-

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Mike Wilson's Music Blog: ALBUM REVIEW: Fiona J Mackenzie - 'A Good Suit Of Clothes'

Mike Wilson's Music Blog: ALBUM REVIEW: Fiona J Mackenzie - 'A Good Suit Of Clothes'

Burnsong Update & Trad Awards! Last Chance to vote!

Things hotting up preparation wise for Burnsong next week. Getting exciting! Local papers ran pieces on it last week and I gave an interview on Radio nan Gaidheal this morning. Im sure it will be a very exhilarating if exhausting week!
And then of course theres the Trad Awards on Saturday the 28th in Dumfries. Its still not too late to vote for Pur's album The Lassies Reply as reviewed on Mike Wilson's Blog here. You can vote at
www.handsupfortrad.co.uk Album of the Year category number 1. the girls will much appreciate your vote! Listen to them on www.myspace.com/purlassiesreply

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Review of The Lassies Reply

Excellent review of The Lassies Reply by Pur which has been nominated for Album of the Year at the MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards- have a listen on their Myspace www.myspace.com/purlassiesreply and if you like what you hear vote for them at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=Y4fgcFLw4XfvD_2fFFtSAKSQ_3d_3d

Give 2 young singers careers a real boost!

Friday, 6 November 2009

Autumn in the Highlands

Weathers getting gradually colder- a lovely fresh crispy morning yesterday with a sharp frost on the grass, but back to grey wetness today. We're still very lucky to live here though, its beautiful whatever the weather!

Monday, 2 November 2009

MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards Nomination

Delighted to announce that MacDug Music's newest release "The Lassies Reply", by 'Pur' has been nominated for Album of the Year at the MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards. This unique album is very special- the only CD in the wolrd of the Songs of Robert Burns sung in Scots and Gaelic. The 2 young singers featured are Katie Mackenzie (Gaelic) and Shona Donaldson (Scots).Please take a listen to some tracks on their Myspace at www.myspace.com/purlassiesreply
and if you like what you hear, please consider casting your vote for them on
www.handsupfortrad.co.uk and look for the link to the MG Alba Awards.
This is a great album, very different to any other Burns album around. We hope you like it!

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Burnsong 2009

Press release about the Burnsong 2009 winners here
really excited about this opportunity - sure it will be a tiring week but also very creative! And delighted that I am the first Gaelic writer to have won a place in the House!

Friday, 23 October 2009

Short & Tweet with Gaelic Twitter

My daily short doses of Gaselic Tweets on Twitter really seem to have caught the imagination of Gae;ic learners and those interested in Gaelic Culture! I've now got alomost 750 people following me to learn the langauge including Mr George Sorial, Donald Trump's righthand man! He s now learning Gaelic from the top of Trump Tower and says it takes him back to his childhood summers spent on Lewis where his granny came from. The Tweets re complied weekly onto podcasts on my website so why not come join the merry band of GaelTweets!
My Twitter name is Gaelicsinger of course

Monday, 19 October 2009

Short and Tweet - Gaelic Twitter

Piece on BBC website about the wee Gaelic phrases Ive been posting on Twitter and the amount of interest shown in it across the world! Just delighted if it helps folk to access Gaelic easier! Follow me on Twittername- Gaelicsinger

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Photo of Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond kissing Fiona at Conference 2009


A photo of Mr Salmond giving me a kiss after my songs at the SNP Conference today in Inverness. A lovely welcome and I think the Gaelic song went down very well.

Scottish National Party Final Day @Conference - Gaelic Song!

Just preparing to go off for sound check at Conference- singing Cuir Culaibh ri Asainte- an emigrant song from Sutherland - and the classic Scots 'anthem'- Scots Wha Hae. It is rumoured that Mr Salmond has a very fine singing voice! More news later!

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Mod an Obainn

Coming to end of 3rd day at Royal National Mod in Oban. A Marathon but fun too! Watch out for news and photos in a couple of days.
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

Gaelic Song to Bring SNP Conference to close

Delighted to have been asked to mark the Year of Homecoming by bringing the SNP Conference to a close this weekend in Inverness by singing a Gaelic emigrant Song and Scots Wha Hae. The Gaelic speaking emigrants from the Highlands and Islands of Scotland helped to create the Modern World and it is only right that their language and culture should form a part of the Homecoming Celebrations. Watch out for more news on the SNP site at www.snp.org
I will be singing Duthaich MhicAoidh - Mackay Country, a song telling of the bitterness and despair at the laying waste of the lands of Sutherland, by The Big Sheep in the 19thC - clipp at

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Some pictures of Juzcar in Andalucia where the 2010 Gaelic Course will be held

Learn Gaelic Song & Language In Spain!

A quick 'heads up' to keep an eye out for more information on next Spring's Gaelic Song and Language course- Gaidhlig Thall Thairis- in Andalucia, Spain. Dates- 28 April- 2nd May 2010. Learn Gaelic Song and Langauge at all levels, with myself and Gillebride Macmillan. Through the medium of Spanish if you wish! venue- Hotel Bandolero , Juzcar, Andalucia
Watch for more details

Friday, 9 October 2009

Promoting The Lassies Reply

Busy getting 'Pur's' new release, The Lassies Reply, out there! This Cd is unique in thats the only CD of the Songs of Robert Burns sung in Scots and Gaelic - to show that the 2 languages CAN co-exist in harmony - literally! 'Pur' are Shona Donaldson and Katie Mackenzie and met whilst both studying at the RSAMD in Glasgow. Shona sings in Scots and Katie sings in gaelic - but on this Cd they also both sing the 'other' language too. Its arranged in bright and fresh, contemporary arrangements by Irvin Duguid who produced my recent album 'A Good Suit of clothes'. Lets give these two talented you musicians a real career boost and gettheir music out there! You can hear a sample here-
Available from here

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Good Suit at Brodie for A'Chraobh- Highland Homecoming

Update on the Good Suit Recital at Brodie Castle on Sunday 25th October for Highland Homecoming. Am delighted that I am going to be joined by young Inverness contemporary dancer Gemma Giubarelli, who will 'translate' some of the songs for me- a new departure for Gaelic Song.Gemma will interpret the songs for the audience using her beautiful , elegant and emotive style of dance. I will also be joined by Ross-shire fiddler Eilidh Ramsay who will play sets of tunes from The New World.
There will also be photos on display relating to the new World and a display of art by local school pupils, inspired by sessions I have been working on with the pupils, on the songs of emigration.
Get you tickets soon - they are extremely limited !

Monday, 5 October 2009


Delighted to be able to say that I've been named a winner in the prestigious Burnsong House this year! A song I wrote last year, Guthan air a'Ghaoith has won me aplace inthe house which takes place late Novmeber this year. I will have the opportunity to live with 9 other winners , drawn from hundreds of entries from all over the world - all genres of songs, not just Trad. We will debate, write, work with industry professionals and ultimately perform our winning songs in the Scottish Parliament on St Andrews Day! This is a great opportunity and I am very excited to have been selected. More details are available on www.burnsong.org.
Guthan air a Ghaoith - Voices on the Wind, No matter where you live in the world, Song unites races.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

An Elegant Evening of Gaelic Song

Busy organising an elegant evening of Gaelic Song as part of the Highland Homecoming celebrations in October." A Good Suit of Clothes" is a recital of Gaelic Emigrant songs, performed in the beautiful setting of Brodie Castle drawing room. The Castle is near Nairn and is a beuatiful example of traditional Scottish Castles.
The recital will be accopanied by bubbly and canapes and there may be one or two musical surprises.........
I will be accompanied on the castle's fine grand piano, by well known Scottish MD, producer and composer, Kennedy Aitchison.
Tickets are expremely limited for this special event so book soon - e mail me fiona@fionamackenzie.org, at the Castle itself http://www.nts.org.uk/Property/69/Contact/ £20/10 inclusive of bubby and canapes.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Gaelic Podcasts Online

I've posted 2 Gaelic Phrase podcasts online at my website to hopefully help you learn a little Gaelic. Very simple phrases covering basic conversation and subjects such as the weather. Phonetics and text also available for download.

The Lassies Reply - new release by Pur.

Just to let you know about the new release on the MacDug Label. - "The Lassies Reply" is a unique album of the songs of Robert Burns, performed in Scots & Gaelic by 2 of Scotland's best young traditional singers, Shona Donaldson and Katie Mackenzie. Very young, fresh and funky to reflect the youth and vitality of the artists. More details at www.macdug.co.uk.

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Oran an Latha- Taladh Choinnich Oig/Lulllaby of Young Kenneth 30/08/09

Lullaby of Young Kenneth - from Orain nan Rosach 2006 - Songs of the Ross-shire Folk.

Fail iu fail eo hi u ho ro
Fail iu fail eo hillinn o ho
Ho hi ho ro ho hi ibh o

A Mhac Coinnich na biodh gruaim ort
Cha do ghlac do mhàthair buarach
No plaide bhan air a h-uachdar
Ach sìoda dearg is srol uaine

Se Mac Coinnich fhuair an t-urram
A miosg nam morbhairean uile
Cheannaicheadh e fìon baile Lunnainn
Each is dìollaid fo chuid ghillean

A Mhac Coinnich mhòir a Brathann
Mhic an t-Seoid nach fhuilingeadh masladh
Cheannaicheadh tu fìon dha t-eachaibh
S cruidhean dha’n or a chur fo’n casan

Chan eil an Coinenach og ach leanabh
Cha do ràinig e aois a sheanar
Marbhaiche’n fhèidh air na beannaibh
Is coilich dhuibh air bàrr nam menagan

O son of Kenneth do not be sad
Your mother was never bound to do housework
Or have a white plaid around her shoulder
But red silk and green satin.

It is Mackenzie who commands respect
The best of all the lairds
He would buy wine from London City
A horse and saddle for every servant

O son of Kenneth, Laird of Brahan
Son of the hero who never had to suffer shame
You would buy wine for your horses
And you would put shoes of gold on their feet

Young Kenneth is still a baby
He has not reached the age of his grandfather
Who was a killer of deer out on the bens
And of the black cocks at the tops of the branches

Friday, 14 August 2009

Oran an Latha= Gaelic Song of the Day

Todays song is 'Cladaich Loch Iu" - The shores of Loch Ewe ( Ross-shire)http://www.imeem.com/people/wOw0u9L/music/rOQ9Q4dE/fiona-j-mackenzie-09-cladaich-loch-iuwma/

Ri Taobh Cladaich Loch Iu

Ri taobh cladaich Loch Iù, leag dhomh siubhal gun èis
Am miosg mo luchd-dàimhe ’s mo chàirdean gu lèir
Ann an dùthaich mo shinnsear, miosg dhilsean cho dlùth
Nach tlachdmhor an tir seo, mu Chladaich Loch Iù.

Bho àm sith-thàimh na maidne, aig bristeadh an là
Gu uair laighe na grèine, le flatheileachd àrd
Tha a’ Chruithneachd a’ dòrtadh òirnn seoladh as ùr
Gach latha agus oidhche, mu chladaich Loch Iù.

Far bheil eunlaith na mara, le cainntearachd cuain
Agus eòin bheag a bhaile, le caithream nar cluais
Tha n t-àile ghlan chùbhraidh, an ionad cho ciùin,
Toirt cuireadh as ùr dhuinn, gu cladaich Loch Iù.

Tha na beanntaichean àrda cuir dion air an t-sliabh
Gu cruinn, corrach, sgorrach s iad dùbh-ghorm is liath
Tha dubhan sgòthach, s na neòil, os ar cionn
A’ roghnachadh dreach dhuinn, mu chladaich Loch Iù.

Fhad’ s bhuaileas na tuinn, air muir-làn no muir-tràigh
Air na cladaich as fheàrr leam, ann an dùthaich mo ghràidh
Tha sior mhàisleachd nadir gach là mu ar gnùis
Toirt ùrachadh làitheil mu chladaich Loch Iù.

By the shores of Loch ewe let me wander and roam
Beside my own dear ones my croft and my home
In my own native Country where friends are still true
How peaceful to walk by the shores of Loch Iu

From the still of the morning at break of the day
Till the sun goes to rest with its glorious display
There nature presents her adorable view
Each day and each night by the shores of Loch Iu

Wheer the seabirds cry out and the song birds are sweet
And the sea breezes mix with the tang of the peats
The atmosphere pure will prove rightly to you
That life is still sweet by the shores of Loch Iu

The high peaked mountains stand guard o’er the scene
Serrated and rounded all blue grey and green
The heavenly shadows determine the hue
Which waters reflect by the hsores of Loch Iu

While the sound of the waves beats an endless encore
On the shores that I love and the land I adore
The creation has something to offer anew
To charm and delight by the shores of Loch Iu

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Oran an Latha- Gaelic Song of the Day- Dean Cadalan Samhach/Sleep Peacefully

Dèan Cadalan Sàmhach- Sleep Peacefully. A lullaby from Kintail, reputed to be the first Gaelic Song written in the Americas. By John Macrae, written in North carolina around 1763. Sound clip at my own website-

Dèan cadalan sàmhach, a chuilein mo rùin
Dèan fuireach mar tha thu‘s tu ‘n dràst’ an àit’ ùr
Bidh òigearan againn làn beàirteis is cliù
‘S ma bhios tu ‘nad airidh, s leat feareigin dhiù

Gur h-ann an Ameireaga tha sinn an dràst’
Fo dhubhar na coille nach teirig gu brach
Nuair dh’fhalbhas an dùbhlachd,‘s a thionndas am blàths
Bidh cnothan is ùbhlan is siùcar a fàs

Tha sinne ‘n ar n-Innseanaich cinnteach gu leòr
Fo dhubhar nan craobh cha bhidh h-aon againn beò
Coin-allaidh is bèistean ag èigheach‘s gach fròig
Gu bheil sinn ‘n ar n-èiginn bho’n thrèig sinn Righ Deòrs’

Mo shoraidh le fàilte Chinn t-Sàile nam bò
Far an d’fhuair mi greis àrach, s mi’m phàisde beag, òg
Bhiodh fleasgaichean donna air am bonnaibh ri ceòl
Is nionagan dualach,‘s an gruaidh mar an ròs

An toiseach an fhoghair bu chridheil ar sunnd
Gheibht’ fiadh às an fhireach,is bradan à grunnd,
Bhiodh luingeas an sgadain a’ tighinn fo shiùil
Le’n lasgairean tapaidh nach faicte fo mhuig

Sleep quietly, my beloved child
Stay where you are, you’re in a new land
We will have youths now full of wealth and renown
And if you are worthy, you’ll have one of them too.

Though now it is in America we are now
In the everlasting darkness of the woods
When the winter is over and warmth returns
Nuts and apples and sugar will grow

We are like Indians surely enough
In the gloom of the forest no-one will survive
With wolves and beasts crying in each cranny
We are in trouble since we deserted King George

My best wishes and welcome to Kintail of the cows
Where I was brought up through my childhood when I was young
There were brown haired youths on their feet to sing
And curly haired girls, with cheeks like the rose

At the beginning of autumn we were heartily glad
Deer were got on the moor and salmon
Boats fishing herring came under sail
With able young men, none of them were churlish

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Oran an Latha- Song of the Day

Todays song is Òran a’Chianalais.The Homesickness song. Composed by Iain Archie MacAskill, The Berneray Bard, who emigrated to Western Australia in 1924 and composed on the eve of his departure. In the early 20thC, approximately 9,000 people emigrated to Australia every year under a Government scheme which provided grants of land and money as an incentive to developing wheat and sheep farming. Iain Archie was destined never to return to Berneray. A song of intense homesickness despite the cheerful sounding chorus!
www.fionamackenzie.org/Audio_Map.html and click on Berberay near Uist!

Oran a’Chianalais- Song of Homesickness. Macaskill/arr Duguid

Ho ro fal il lo hog I o ho ro i
Ho ro fal il lo hog I o ho ro hi
Ho ro fal il l lo hog I o ro hi
Sa bhi fàgail na dachaidh dh’fhàg airtneal ‘nam chlì.

Gur mise tha fo chùram ‘s mi ‘n dùil ri bhi falbh
Air latha na bliadhn’ ùire s beag tha shunnd a tighinn orm
A dh’ionnsaigh na dùthcha tha cùbhraidh na sealbh
Astralia mhòr iomall còmhdach na fairg’.

Ged dhèanainn mo dhìcheall Sa sgrìobhadh le làmh
Cha b’urrainn mi inns’ mar tha m’inntinn an drast’
Mo chridhe cha ghluais e s e fuaighte le cas
Mo ghean air a mhùchadh le ciùrradh do chradh.

Mo bheannachd do Bhearn’raigh seach àite fo’n ghrèin
Le machraichean fàsmhòr gu àrach na sprèidh
Tha pòr de gach blàth-lus a fàs ann gu sèimh
S air leòidean glas còmhnard uain òga ri leum

Ma ruigeas mi sàbhailt s a bhata ceann ùidh
Bidh misneachd is gabhachd gu làidir nam chridh’
Ged gheibhinn am pailliun cho àrd tha s’an tìr
Gu’mfhearr bhith ‘m Beàrn’aidh air Àirigh chrodh- laoigh

Nan robh mi mar fhaoileig readh aotram air chuairt
Gu’m falbhainn gu h-aotrom ri faontradh is cruas
Gu’n shiùbhlainn air sgiathan s cha’n iarrainn a nuas
Gu laighinn s a cheàrn ghlas a dh ‘àraich mi suas.

Ma gheibh mi mar b’abhaist mo shlàinte le smuais
Cha n fhanainn s a cheàrn seo Gu brath air son duais
Gu’n giùlain an t-aiseag mi thar bhàrr nan tonn uain’
A dh’ionnsaigh mo chàirdean tha tàmh s an Taobh Tuath

Ho ro fal il o hog I ho ro hi
Ho ro fal il o hog I ho ro hi
Ho ro fal il o hog I ho ro hi
To be leaving my home now brings sadness to me

Oh I am so worried
To think that I’ll leave
The first Day of the New Year
Little joy there is for me
To go to the country
Where riches are found
Australia the Great
Far away o’er the sea

Though trying my best
To write with my pen
Its hard to be telling
How my spirit is now
My heart is not lively
Its filled with woe
My joy has been smothered
And tortured by the pain

My blessings to Berneray
Best under the sun
With fields that are fertile
For grazing the herds
While grain of the best
Will grow there with ease
On sloping green pastures
Young lambs are at play

If I should reach safely
The boats’ landing place
Then courage and toil would
Be strong in my heart
Though I’d get a palace
The best in the land
The sheilings of Berneray
I would still prefer

If I were a seagull
So light in flight
I’d soar away lightly
Though lonely and sad
On wings I would travel
Nor seek to come down
Till over the green pastures
Where I was brought up

If I keep, as usual
My health and my strength
I’ll not stay in that place
Forever for pay
The ferry would take me
O’er the top of green waves
To go to my kindred
Who live in the North

Monday, 3 August 2009

Gaelic Song of the Day 03/08

Todays song is Cuir Culaibh ri Asainte - Turn your back on Assynt, an emigrant song of leaving Sutherland for Canada.

Cuir Cùlaibh Ri Asainte

Cuir cùlaibh cuir cùlaibh
Cuir cùlaibh ri Asainte
Cuir cùl ri tìr nan Gaidheal
Far ‘n robh mi og is amaideach
Cuir cùlaibh cuir cùlaibh
A ghillean òga eistibh
Gus ‘n dèan mi sgeula aithris dhuibh
Oir feumaidh mi bhith fàgail
An tìr a dh ‘àraich m’athraichean

S’ann air Diciadaoin
Gu moch anns a mhàdainn
Dh’fhalbh mise le mo thriall
A dòl thar chuan a Chanada.

Bho’n dh’fhàg sinn Loch –an –Inbhir
Bha mise dol air m’aineolas
Mu’s d’ràinig sinne Luirge
Cnoc na glean cha b’aithne dhomh

Disathairne rinn sinn seòladh
Bho’n Broomielaw ‘n Glaschu
Measg treubhan dheth gach seòrsa
Air bòrd ‘n “Southwark” Shasunnach

Ach tha mi nochd gu tùrsach
Falbh air sràidean Chanada
Is caolas farsainn fiadhaich
Eadar mi ‘s mo luaidh tha’n Asainte

Cuir cùlaibh cuir cùlaibh
Cuir cùlaibh ri Asainte
Cuir cùl ri tìr nan Gaidheal
Ach dùil gu’n till mi dhachaidh ann
Cuir cùlaibh cuir cùlaibh

Leaving behind leaving behind
Leaving behind leaving Assynt behind
Leaving behind the land of the Gaels
Where I was young and foolish

O young lads now listen
While I tell you my tale
For I must be leaving
The land where my ancestors were reared

It was on a Wednesday
Very early in the morning
That I left with my heartache
To go over the sea to Canada

From the time we left Lochinver
I was in totally strange country
By the time we reached Lairg
Neither hill nor glen did I know

On Saturday we set sail
Drom the Broomielaw in Glasgow
Among all different races of people
On board the boat from England, the “Southwark”

Tonight I am so sad
Walking the streets of Canada
With the wide angry ocean
Between me and my love in Assynt

Leaving behind leaving behind
Leaving Assynt behind
Turning your back on the land of the Gaels
But I do hope to return there

Scotster Site for Exiled Scots, resident Scots and indeed anyone with an interest in Scotland!

Scotster. Where Scotland meets.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Gaelic Song of the Day ( Sunday 02/08)

Todays song is O Mo Dhuthaich - O My Country- An emigrant song from South Uist.
Click on island of South Uist on the audio map at www.fionamackenzie.org/Audio_Map.html

O Mo Dhùthaich

O mo dhùthaich, 's tu th'air m'aire,
Uibhist chùbhraidh, ùr nan gallan,
Far am faicte na daoin' uaisle
'S far bu dual do Mhac 'ic Ailein.

Tìr a' mhurain, tìr an eòrna,
Tìr sam pailt’ a h-uile seòrsa
Far am bi na gillean òga
Gabhail òran‘s g’òl an leanna.

Thig iad thugainn carach, seòlta
Gus ar mealladh far ar n-eòlais.
Molaidh iad dhuinn Manitoba,
Dùthaich fhuar gun ghual, gun mhòine.

O gur mise tha gu cràiteach;
'S trom mo cheum, neo-aotrom tha mi;
O'n a dhealaich mi ri'm chàirdean
Thuit mo chridhe 's mo cheòl-gàire.

Fhir a shiùbhlas bàrr an t-sàile
Thoir mo shoraidh gu mo chàirdean;
Guidheam nach trèig sibh ur n-àite
Airson uachdaran no bàillidh

Nam biodh agam fhìn de stòras,
Deagh dheis' aodaich , paidhir bhrògan,
Agus m'fharadh bhith nam phòca,
'S ann air Uibhist dhèanainn seòladh.

Oh my land, you’re always in my thoughts
Fresh, fragrant Uist, home of heroes
Where the noble people live
Herditary territory of Clanranald.

Land of bent grass, land of barley
Land fertile in every way
Where the young lads
Sing songs and drink ale

They come to us, wily and cunning
To seduce us from our homeland
They sing the praises of Manitoba
A cold country without coal, without peat.

Oh, I am distressed
My step is heavy, I am sombre
Since I parted from my friends
My heart and my laughter have waned away

You who travel across the ocean
Bear this greeting to my family
I pray, you, do not desert your homeland
For any land owner nor bailiff.

If only I was rich enough
To possess a good suit of clothes, a pair of shoes
And my fare in my pocket
I would set sail immediately for Uist.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

New bi-lingual show going up on Moray Firth Radio

Sunday the 2nd August sees me presenting a new bi-lingual magazine show on Moray Firth Radio 1107 AM 9-10pm - Ru-Ra, which is a Gaelic word meaning 'mixture' or 'eclectic mix'. We'll be playing an eclectic mix right enough, of music, information, features and movie info so dont miss it if you want something a little different on the airwaves! Thig comhla ruinn!

Gaelic Song of the Day -

http://www.fionamackenzie.org/Audio_Map.html Click on Island of Tiree for sound clip.

A’ Choille Ghruamach

Gu bheil mi ‘m ònrachd sa choille ghruamaich
Mo smaointean luaineach, cha tog mi fonn
Fhuair mi’n t-àite seo’n aghaidh nàdair
‘S gun d’thrèig gach tàlant a bha nam cheann
Cha dean mi òran a chur air dòigh ann
Nuair nì mi tòiseachadh bidh mi trom
Chaill mi a’ Ghàidhlig seach mar a b’àbhaist
An uair a bha mi san dùthaich thall.

Chan fhaigh mi m’inntinn leam ann an òrdugh
Ged bha mi eòlach air dèanamh rann
‘S e mheudaich bron dhomh‘s a lughdaich sòlas
Gun duine còmhla rium a ni rium cainnt’
Gach latha‘s oidhche s gach car a ni mi
Gum bi mi cuimhneachadh anns gach àm
An tìr a dh’fhàg mi bha’n taic an t-sàile
Ged tha mi’n dràst’ ann am bràighe ghleann.

‘S I seo an dùthaich sa bheil an cruadal
Gun fhios don t-sluagh tha gun tigh’nn a-nall
Gur h-olc a fhuaras oirnn luchd a’bhuaraidh
A rinn len tuairisgeul ar toirt ann
Ma ni iad buannachd cha mhair I buan dhaibh
Cha dean is suas iad- s chan iongnadh leam
S gach mallachd truaghain a bhios gan ruagadh
Bhon chaidh am fuadach a chur fon ceann.

Bidh gealladh làidir ga thoirt an tràth sin
Bidh cliù an àite ga chur am meud
Bidh iad ag ràdhtainn gu bheil bhur càirdean
Gu sona saidhbhir gun dad a dh’ èis
Gach naidheachd mheallta ga toirt gur n-ionnsaigh-sa
Feuch an sanntaich sibh dol nan dèidh
Ma thig sibh sabhailt’, nuair chi sibh iadsan
Chan fhearr na Stàtachan na sibh fèin.

Chan fhaigh mi innseadh dhuibh anns an dàn seo
Cha dèan mo nàdar a chur air dòigh
Gach fios a b’aill leam thoirt do na càirdean
San tìr a dh’fhàg mi, rinn m’àrach og
Gach aon a leughas e tuigibh reusan
‘S na tugaibh èisteachd do luchd a’bhost;
Na fàidhean breige a bhios gar teumadh
‘S gun aca spèis ach an dèidh ur n-òir

Ged bhithinn bliadhna ann an sgrìobhadh
Gun gabhainn mìosa ris agus còrr
Mun cuirinn crìoch air na bheil air m’inntinn
‘s mun tugainn dhuibh e le cainnt mo bheòil.
Tha mulad dìomhair an dèidh mo lìonadh
Bhon‘s èiginn strìochdadh an-seo rim bheò
Air bheag thoil-inntinn sa choille chruim seo
Gun duine faighneachd an seinn mi ceòl

I am alone in the gloomy forest
My thoughts uneasy, I can’t sing a chorus
I this place so unnatural
That every talent in my head has gone from me
I can’t get around to creating a song here
Whenever I start, I become depressed
I’ve lost my Gaelic compared to the way it was
When I was back in the country over there.
I can’t get my thoughts in order
Though I was once so good at composing verse
It has made worse my misery and diminished my happiness
That there is no-one around for me to talk to here.
Every day and night, in everything I do,
I am always reminded
Of the land I left behind, bordered by the sea
Though now I live high above the valleys.

This is a country full of hardships
Undreamt of by those who have never been here
We’ve been conned by the fraudsters
Who drew us here with untrue stories
Whatever profit they make will not last them for always
Nor will it gain them advancement- and no surprise.
For they’re haunted by the curses of each poor soul
In whose head they sowed the thought of emigration.

They offer extravagant promises
Strengthened by the reputation of the place
They claim that your relatives
Are happy and wealthy and want For nothing
Each report of lies which you receive
Is aimed at making you want it for yourself
If you arrive safely, when you see them for yourself
You will find out that the States are no wealthier than you are yourselves.
I can’t begin to tell you in this poem
I am just not able to tell
The information I would like to give my relatives
In the land I left behind, the land of my youth
But believe my words, all you who read this
And do no listen to those of propaganda
The false prophets who wish to harm you with no other reason than to take your money
Even if I spent a year writing this
It would still take me another month or more
To finish everything that I am thinking on
And to convey it all to you in my words
I am filled with this secret pain
Forced to struggle here for the rest of my life
With sparse pleasure in this labyrinth of a forest
Where nobody asks me to sing my music.