The Beaton Institute Celebrates Gaelic Awareness Month with Fiona Mackenzie of Canna House

In celebration of Gaelic Awareness Month, the Beaton Institute will host Fiona Mackenzie, Mod Gold Medalist and archivist for the National Trust for Scotland, in a song lecture entitled Brigh an Òrain, Na Caimbeulaich – The Campbells, A Meaning in Every Song. Beginning at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 11, 2016, this 45-minute presentation will tell of the life and work of well-known folklorists, Dr. John Lorne and his wife, Dr. Margaret Fay Shaw Campbell of Canna.

“The Beaton Institute is pleased to host Fiona Mackenzie to share the stories and music of the Canna Collections,” says Catherine Arseneau, Director of Cultural Resources, the Art Gallery and Beaton Institute. “This presentation is a great opportunity for students, staff and the public to celebrate Gaelic Awareness Month and gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the rich cultural history shared by our communities.”

The Canna Collections, amassed by John and Margaret between 1938 and 1981, form one of the world’s most culturally, socially and historically important archives of Celtic and Norse Studies, Gaelic language, Gaelic music and literature, and Scottish history. The couple spent their lives collecting and researching Gaelic song from the Outer Hebrides and Nova Scotia. Their archives, which comprise thousands of manuscripts, typescripts, research papers, broadcast papers and correspondence, represent this extraordinary record of Scottish history and Celtic studies.

Margaret’s grand collection of black and white photographs and colour slides taken in the Hebrides and Nova Scotia in the 1930’s and 40’s leave a snapshot of a lifestyle no longer in existence. Her manual transcriptions of Gaelic songs are beyond compare in their accuracy and diversity.

Fiona brings her lecture to life using Margaret’s photographic collection, with photos of Nova Scotia unseen by audiences until now, along with clips of John’s original archive sound collection, recorded in Nova Scotia in 1937. Fiona will also sing her own favourite songs from the Canna Collections.

This event is free and open to the public. For more information, please visit the Cape Breton University Event Calendar.