Congratulations to Linda Macleod who have been nominated in Gaelic singer of the Year sponsored by Macmeanmna in the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards 2014. Vote now!
We asked Linda Macleod of Linda Macleod the following questions.
Tell us about yourself
Originally from North Uist in the Western Isles of Scotland, Scottish Gaelic singer Linda Macleod has spent many years researching and performing Gaelic songs associated with her family and native homeland. Linda specialised in local song research at the University of Glasgow and graduated with an MPhil in Gaelic in 2011. This year-long course was spent researching the unpublished songs and poems of the Baleshare bards and bardess’. With such a huge interest in Gaelic song, particularly within her own community of North Uist, Linda is honoured to have had the opportunity to gather and preserve a wide collection of unpublished Gaelic songs from the memory of the oldest members of the her home community. To add to this, Linda has recently commenced a new research project collecting the unpublished Gaelic songs of various bards from the island of Berneray, North Uist of which her father has strong family connections. Linda’s interest in Gaelic song tradition and indeed her own singing, has been greatly influenced by her late grandfather, Hugh Matheson, who was a singer himself, and taught Linda a great deal of the songs she sings today.
Why are you involved in Scottish music?
I have always been surrounded by Gaelic singing and the tradition which accompanies it. With so many well-known singers in the family and surrounding community, local ceilidhs and family gatherings always influenced my understanding of our local culture and added to my own repertoire, and indeed continue to do so. The generosity of local singers and tradition bearers over the years have greatly encouraged me to continue to learn from them and to engage in further research surrounding local Gaelic songs, particularly those that are unpublished. Over the years, these informants and dear friends have also taught me the importance of a singer when it comes to preserving and passing on the skilled work of our forefathers’ tongue or pen. This has always been my main reason to learn songs which are not so commonly sung today and to unearth a few which have passed with former members of the community.
As a singer and researcher, it is also very exciting to sing a variety of different songs and work with various other singers and musicians. I have been very fortunate to have performed at festivals such as the Hebridean Celtic Festival in 2011 & 2013, Ceilidh na Bliadhn’ Ùire in 2010 & 2014 & BBC Alba’s Ceilidh a’ Cho-Fhlaitheis 2014, and to have collaborated with fantastic singers and musicians at all these events too. In August of this year, I also put together my own Trio for a gig as part of Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Since then the trio, with my friends Shona Mason on keys and fiddle and Seonaidh MacIntyre on whistle and guitar, has been very busy and we are currently working on new material.
Any particular career highlights?
As well as completing my MPhil and learning so many songs from my research, 2014 and all the fantastic festivals and events I have been part of over the last 11 months has really stood out for me as a singer. It all began back at the very start of the year when I performed at Cèilidh na Bliadhn’ Ùire 2014 alongside Mànran, Barbara Dickson and the Glenfinnan Ceilidh Band. Later that month I performed at Ceòlas’ annual Celtic Connections concert alongside Cathy Ann MacPhee, Kathleen MacInnes, Sineag MacIntyre, Gillebride MacMillan and a wealth of talented musicians. In May 2014 I performed at the Joe Heaney Festival in Carna, Ireland along with fantastic sean nós Irish singers. In July, I sang at BBC Alba’s Commonwealth Ceilidh alongside Ingrid Henderson & Anna Massie and performed onstage with one of Gaelic’s best loved singers, Karen Matheson. As part of the Commonwealth Fringe Festival I also performed infront of hundreds at Glasgow Green’s main stage as part of Fèisean nan Gàidheal’s Ceòl nam Fèis concert. In August I performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with my Trio and from our performance was invited onto BBC Radio 2’s Anneka Rice live programme and festival concert to do a solo performance. In September I performed at 5 Blas Festival concerts, sharing a stage with the renowned singer Dougie MacLean, musicians Allan & Megan Henderson, Gary Innes and shinty historian, Hugh Dan MacLennan. More recently I performed a lunch time concert at the National Mod with the widely recognised harpist and composer, Catriona MacKay. All in all, it’s been a fantastic year!
What are your plans for the future?
I will continue to work on my current research project and expand the repertoire for the Trio too. I also hope to record an album in the next few years from the material collected in my research.
Read more about Linda Macleod
Buy a ticket for the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards on Saturday 13th December in Inverness Leisure, start time 7pm. You’ll have a great time!