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!

Friday, 9 April 2010

Just because its in Gaelic doesn't mean its traditional......

I've been getting increasingly disillusioned with the view in certain quarters, influential quarters, about Gaelic and Gaelic Song. Too often I have had to overcome the stumbling block of the view that because something is sung in Gaelic, that it must be traditional - Gaelic=Traditional, and ne'eer the twain shall meet. This, to me, typifies something which will hasten the end of the Language- a language which I have been struggling, in my own small ways, to help survive over the last 15 years. If the language does not absorb new influences and styles it will not advance, it will not survive. There is noone who has a greater respect for the language and culture than myself and I deeply love the 'tradition' but I also recognise the importance of moving forward. The future of any culture is the Youth and that Youth has be offered a choice of cultural styles and influence- they may love the 'old stuff' but they must also be offered the New. And too often , I have been battered down or saying this, for trying to offer a new direction, whilst retaining the Respect. And Im afraid that often, the reason for this is that I am regarded as, and always will be, a Nouveau Gaidheal, a new Gael, someone who 'doesn't belong' - because I dont have a Gaelic Family Past. However, I have created this for my children- they all now have a 'Gaelic Past' and are all heavily involved, and enjoying the language and Culture- and THEY are the important ones, the ones who will carry the language forward.

So I will contintue to fight for the language and culture in my own small way, sing my old songs but also look at new ways of getting young folk involved, in a way which is relevant to them...

Let me know your comments, please!

Sorry for the rant but its something I feel very strongly about.

Im also going to start giving you a daily recommendation for a Gaelic Song of the Day. Today Im going to be a bit narcisstic and give you one of my own favourites. Hope you enjoy it! Its a true story, a song of Unrequited love- You Are Alive in My Soul. From my album 'A Good Suit of Clothes'. http://www.last.fm/music/Fiona+J+Mackenzie/_/Tha+Thu+Be%C3%B2+Nam+Anamsa+%3D+You+Are+Alive+In+My+Soul

Tapadh leibh- have a good weekend!


  1. I feel your pain. I make tatted lace and it's been an uphill struggle to convince the local judges that it's still tatting, even if it's not white or ecru. I even resorted to using Victorian mourning customs to drive home that tatting is can be in color.

  2. I think that Gaelic culture has been undermined for historical and political reasons. It is only in recent years that the Scottish government has been the source of any encouragement. But while I think some effort has been made the traditional perception persists. The way I see this view being dispelled is by using the language to convey what's happening today in our modern lives. The more geeky the better.


If you'd like to ask me any questions about Gaelic Song or Music, then please leave your comment here and I'll try to help you if I can. Tapadh leat!