On Friday 3 February as part of Celtic Connections there was a concert showcasing some of the songs and tunes collected by 19th century Gaelic scholar Frances Tolmie. She is a woman who has featured in the Clan MacLeod Magazine on more than one occasion. The concert was to launch a book ‘Gun Sireadh, Gun Iarraidh‘ subtitled ‘The Tolmie Collection’. The Gaelic phrase ‘Gun Sireadh, Gun Iarraidh’ was apparently a favourite of Frances’. The literal translation is ‘without seeking, without asking’. It conveys the meaning in English of serendipity. But it was no happy accident that so much of the musical heritage of the Highlands was recorded by Frances. It was dogged and heroic work on her part. Thanks to her we have much of that ancient oral culture passed to us that would otherwise have been lost forever.
The book by Kenna Campbell and Ainsley Hamill collates much biographical information as well as selected music so it is not just for musicians and is available now from Acair books: https://acairbooks.com/
With our thanks to the West Highland Free Press, their excellent review of the publication is available here.