Maggie MacInnes

Maggie MacInnes is one of Scotland's foremost
Gaelic singers and clarsach players. She comes
from a long line of singers from the island
of Barra in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland.

Gaelic Song — A Fàgail Mhiughalaigh – Leaving Mingulay

A Fàgail Mhiughalaigh – Leaving Mingulay

1. Beinn a' Cheathaich (The Misty Mountain) LISTEN HERE Leaving Mingulay CD sound file one LYRICS
This song is believed to have been composed by a female bard from Mingulay, Nic Iain Fhinn (the daughter of Fair-haired John), in the Seventeenth Century. It is in praise of the MacNeils of Barra who were heading to Ciosamul Castle, seat of the Clan MacNeil, and known at one time to be a place for great feasting and celebration.
Mingulay is part of Barra Parish and it, along with Barra and the other Barra Isles,
were held by the MacNeils from at least as early as the Fifteenth Century.

3. Laoidh Mhoire Mhaigdeann (Hymn to the Virgin Mary)
LISTEN HERE Leaving Mingulay CD sound file three
Faith was central to the lives of the people of Mingulay. This hymn is taken from a hymn composed by Sìleas MacDonald of Keppoch (Sìleas na Ceapaich) c.1660-c.1729. The full version of it, which depicts the story of Christ from his birth to his death, is known to have been sung often in Mingulay. It has been in Maggie’s family for at least the last three generations and was a favourite of her Great Granny, Cairistiona Gillies née MacNeil of Mingulay.

4. Cha Teid Mise (I will not go) LISTEN HERE Leaving Mingulay CD sound file four LYRICS
According to Maggie’s mother, Flora MacNeil, and Great Aunt, the late Mary Gillies, this is a Waulking song which was sung in Mingulay. Maggie learned this song from her mother and from a recording of Mary Gillies held in the School of Scottish studies

5. Thig Dhachaigh Leam dha 'n t-sìdhean
(Come home with me to the Fairy Knoll)
A Mingulay Fairy Song. According to the Collector, Alexander Carmichael,
writing in his famous collection, The Carmina Gadelica (first published in 1900), this Fairy song was “heard in a fairy mound in Mingulay” (CG(V), 116 – 117).
The melody of the song was not collected and, as far as we know, has been lost. Maggie has composed her own new tune. Clearly, the Fairy is trying to entice the children away from home with all sorts of promises.

6. Leis an Lurgainn (with the Lurgainn) LYRICS
Fishing was, of course, an essential part of life for the people of Mingulay This song, about a boat called “The Lurgainn”, was sung in many parts of the Highlands and Islands including Mingulay. Maggie heard this particular version, which is different to the commonly sung version, from the singing of the late Nan MacKinnon of Vatersay
(Nan Eachainn Fhionnlaigh) who, in a recording made by the School of Scottish studies, said that her mother who was born and lived most of her life on Mingulay sang it this way, (SA1958/116.1). There is a play on words in the chorus which does not exist in the more commonly sung version. The word “Lurgainn” means “Leg” (whereas perhaps the boat was actually called “Luragan” meaning “Pretty Girl”).

7. Gaol a chruidh, gràdh a chruidh
(Love of the cattle, darling of the cattle)
As well as fisherman, the Mingulay people were crofters. They also lived off the seabirds
by scaling the high cliffs. This is a traditional Milking song. Maggie learned this from a recording of the singing of Ealasaid Sinclair (Ealasaid Iain Dhonnchaidh) of Mingulay held by the School of Scottish Studies in Edinburgh. (1959/68/B9)

8. 'N Robh thu 'sa bheinn? (Were you on the hill?) LYRICS
A waulking song which would have been sung in Mingulay. This song was passed on
to Maggie by her mother who heard it from her mother, Annie Gillies, and her Granny, Cairistiona Gillies née MacNeil.

9. Oran na Raiders Bhatersaigh (Song of the vatersay raiders) LYRICS
In 1908, ten men from Barra and Mingulay were imprisoned for refusing to leave the island of Vatersay where, out of poverty and desperation, they had built huts and planted potatoes without the Landowners permission. The case caused public outcry and led to the Government buying the island for crofting. The Raiders were hailed as heroes and this song was composed praising them.
Maggie learned this song from the singing of Nan MacKinnon of Vatersay, courtesy of the School of Scottish Studies (SA 1958/115.1)

10. Seathan LYRICS
This ancient lament for Seathan, the son of the King of Ireland, composed by his wife, was often sung in Mingulay. It was collected by Alexander Carmichael for his “Carmina Gadelica” from, amongst others in different locations, a Mary MacDonald and Mary, wife of Angus Campbell, on Mingulay in May 1869. Maggie’s mother heard this song from Mary Johnston from Mingulay who later lived in Castlebay, Barra. Mary was a cousin of Maggie’s mother’s mother.

12. Oran do Dh'eilean Mhiughalaigh (Song to the Isle of Mingulay) LYRICS
Neil MacPhee is said to have composed this after a return visit to Mingulay many years after the island had been abandoned and upon seeing the house where his parents and other family members had died of typhoid in 1894.

Gaelic Song — Òran Na Mnà – A Woman's Song

Òran Na Mnà – A Woman's Song
Catalogue No. MARCD04

Song text description


Gaelic Song — Talamh Sìtheil – Peaceful Ground

Talamh Sìtheil Peaceful Ground

01. Dh’èirich mi gu moch Diluain (I rose early on Monday)
Leaving Mingulay CD sound file one LYRICS
This is a song describing the beauties of the island of Mull in the spring. It describes the white swans swimming in the lochs, the mountains, the primroses on the river banks and the thrushes singing.

02. Peaceful Ground LISTEN HERE Leaving Mingulay CD sound file one LYRICS
Words and music by Maggie MacInnes

03. Dh’fhalbh mo rùn bho chionn seachdain
(My Love has been gone for a week)
LISTEN HERE Leaving Mingulay CD sound file one LYRICS
A love song for a man called Donald. The woman is singing about the man she loves who is away on his boat. She misses him terribly and is hoping for his safe return. She goes on to praise him saying that he is related to nobility.
In this recording you will hear the voice of my late great aunt, Mary Gillies from Barra. We have incorporated a recording of Mary which was made at my mother’s house in the late 1950s. My mother is singing with Mary on the earlier recording and again with me now. My granny and her sister, my great aunt Mary played a very big part in the singing tradition of our family and I have a lot for which to be thankful to them.

04. ‘S toil leam an Cìobair (I love the Shepherd) LYRICS
The girl is singing of her love for the shepherd. She can’t praise him enough yet he has left her heartbroken. She says she would be better off dead than to have lost his love.

05. Haidh O LYRICS
A waulking song or work song used for the process of shrinking tweed or fulling cloth. In this song the woman is saying that young Neil has taken advantage of another girl. The singer says that she wishes it had been her. She wouldn’t have screamed or shouted and if she had torn his shirt she would sew it with fine thread, wash it and dry it for him.

06. Thig an Smeòrach as t-Earrach (The Thrush will come in the Spring) LYRICS
A beautiful love song where the girl comments that while the birds in the trees are getting closer together in spring she and her love are growing further and further apart. She gives advice to other young girls not to fall for a man who is full of sweet talking because despite all he says, his heart can be as ice and he will always be looking for the prettiest face. My mother heard this song being sung often by Joan MacKenzie of Lewis when they would perform together in concerts in the 50s and 60s.

07. Cairistiona (Christina) LYRICS
This is a lament for a girl called Cairistiona. Her body is being taken by ship for burial and the singer is calling out to her. I first recorded this song in 1984 for the album (called “Cairistiona”) which I made with the late George Jackson. It remains one of my favourite songs and I have enjoyed getting the chance to re-record it here… in memory of George.

08. The Ewe Bughts LYRICS
A song of war-torn love. I am deeply grateful to Dr. Andrew Noble for bringing this “lost” Burns song to my attention when I was preparing my show “Burns and the Gaels” for the Largs Mod of 2002. This song was recovered by Patrick Scott Hogg in the “Morning Chronicle” of 10th July 1794. He published his retrieved lyric in “Robert Burns:The Lost Poems” (Clydeside Press, 1997). It was republished in Noble and Scott’s edition of the “Canongate Burns” (Edinburgh 2001). Andrew comments;- “In a wholly typical Burns inversion, the self-satisfied lowland male voice of the original song, with its baiting of a matrimonial trap with conspicuous eighteenth-century consumption, is replaced by a highland, female voice fraught with personal destitution caused by her soldier husband’s departure to the new French war.”
The song is a reworking of a traditional song “Will ye go to the Ewe Bughts, Marion” and its tune of the same name was used by Burns for his song “Will Ye Go to the Indies, My Mary”. In this recording I have used my own tune which is an adaptation of the traditional tune.

09. Fhir an Leadain Thlàth (Lad of the beautiful hair) LYRICS
This is a love song where the girl is singing of her love for this very handsome man who has left her heartbroken and pregnant. I have heard my mother sing this song so often that I found I had learnt it without trying. I think it is one of the most powerful and beautiful love songs I have ever heard and I sing it here as a tribute to mum and as a thank you to her for keeping so many of these beautiful songs alive.

10.Dh’ fhalbh mo rùn ’s dh’ fhàg e ‘n Cala (My Love has left the Harbour) LYRICS
This is a song which my mother learned on a visit to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada. The song was taken over from this country to Canada by emigrants and although it was still known here it was rarely sung. The man in the song has gone off in his boat leaving the woman desolate. She has heard that he has got married and comments that he didn’t even invite her to his wedding

11. Nuair Bhios mi Leam Fhìn (When I am alone) LYRICS
I first heard a different version of this song sung by Kathleen MacDonald from Lewis many years ago and have been meaning to learn it ever since. My mother had heard the song while growing up in Barra. The man is singing that he can’t concentrate on steering his boat for thinking of the girl he loves. He does not want her head to be turned by any other man and says that he has always been very unlucky in love. The chorus translates;- When I am alone, you come into my mind. I sing about the brown-haired girl with the beautiful eyes.

Gaelic Song — Spiorad Beatha – Peaceful Ground

Spiorad Beatha – The Spirit of Life
Catalogue No. MARCD01

Song text description



Gaelic Song — Eilean Mara

Eilean Mara
Catalogue No. DUNCD022

Song text description



Contact Maggie here

Visit Maggie on Facebook

Visit Maggie on Myspace


Marram Music is Maggie's own record
company. For more information visit:


August 2014
Lorient Interceltic Festival
2nd - 6th August, 2014
Maggie MacInnes & Anna Massie

July 2014
Hebridean Celtic Festival
An Lanntair, Stornoway, Lewis, 19th July,
2014 • Maggie MacInnes Trio

January 2013
Celtic Connections Festival
Mitchell Theatre, Glasgow, 26th January,
2013, Maggie MacInnes presents the life
and songs of Flora MacNeil with special
guests including The Boys of the Lough,
Anne Lorne Gillies, Arthur Cormack,
Peadar O' Riada, the Cùilaoidh Choir
and others...

March 2013
St Patrick's Weekend Cultural Concert
Monday 18 • Colum Sands and Maggie MacInnes
with Willie Drennan, Jarleth Henderson
and many more! Starting 3pm
Ann Street, Dungannon, Co. Tyrone

February 2012
Maggie MacInnes Trio
Celtic Connections Festival
Wednesday 01

Maggie will be taking part in various events
at this traditional music school
from Wednesday 15 - Sunday 19
Sciol Cheoil an Earraigh
Dingle Peninsula
Co.Kerry, Ireland

March 2012

Maggie MacInnes
with Anna Massie
Cinema Teatro Nuovo
VARESE, Near Milan, Italy
Friday 9th, 21h
Contact: Geomusic
+39 035 732005

Maggie MacInnes
with Anna Massie
Turin Folk Club
Turin, Italy
Saturday 10th

Maggie MacInnes
Wednesday 21
Edinburgh Folk Club
The Pleasance Cabaret Bar

The Seedboat with Colum Sands
Thursday 29 • 8pm
Ballymena Arts Festival,
The Briad Arts Centre,
Ballymena, N. Ireland

The Seedboat with Colum Sands
Friday 30 • 8.30pm
Cushendall Sailing and Boating Club
Coast Road, Cushendall.
Tickets 028 21771331

The Seedboat with Colum Sands
Saturday 31
CCA, Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow

August 2012

Maggie MacInnes
accompanied by Brian McAlpine
Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Friday, 17th August • 6.45pm start
Barra and Beyond: Songs from the Western Isles
AMC @ St. Brides, Edinburgh
Book tickets here

The Seedboat with Colum Sands
Monday 20th August • 3pm
Farnham Arms Hotel  
The All Ireland Fleadh
Co Cavan
Please note this is an afternoon concert starting at 3pm website

October 2012

Maggie will be performing at the
Scoil Seamus Ennis Festival
called The Return to Fingal
in Ballyboughal, near Dublin.
27th & 28th October, 2012

December 2012
Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame
Dinner Dance, Alexandra Hotel, Fort William
7th December • 7.30pm.
Maggie will be performing along with her
mother, Flora MacNeil, who was inducted
into the Hall of Fame in 2005.


November 2011
The Carrying Stream Festival, Edinburgh
Thursday 10, 8pm

September 2011
The Seedboat with Colum Sands
Wednesday 7
Irvine Folk Club

The Seedboat with Colum Sands
Friday 9
Girvan Folk Club

The Seedboat with Colum Sands
Saturday 10

June 2011
Maggie is the special guest singer
at the Ayrshire Gaelic Forum Ceilidh
Tuesday 14, Burns Conference Centre
Kay Park, Kilmarnock • 7.30pm
Tel: 01294 5545565


January 2010
Thursday 21 • Celtic Connections Festival
St Andrews in the Square, Glasgow
Tel: 0141 353 8000

March 2010
Thursday 18 • Live at the Star
St Andrews in the Square, Glasgow
Tel: 0141 563 045
Maggie will be appearing with her Trio.

Friday 19 • Universal Hall, Findhorn
Tel: 01309 691170
Maggie will be appearing with her Trio.

April 2010
Tuesday 13 • Edinburgh International
Harp Festival. Tel: 0131 652 0585
Maggie will be appearing with her Trio.

Friday 30, 7.30pm • Fiddlers' Fling
Craigie Village Hall, Craigie,
Nr. Kilmarnock, Ayrshire
Tickets at the door or phone 01655 889511
Maggie will be appearing as a guest of the Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra

May 2010
Saturday 8, 7.30pm • Burgh Hall, Dunoon
Tickets £12 Adults, concessions £10, Schoolchildren FREE
Contact 01301 703504 or email:
For more info:
An evening of Gaelic and Scots Song with Emily Smith

June 2010
The Seedboat with Colum Sands
I will be performing The Seedboat -
a show with Irish singer/songwriter,
Colum Sands.

Sunday 13 • 9pm start
Rouskey Community Centre
Rouskey, County Tyrone
Tickets: 07847 459428

The Seedboat with Colum Sands
Saturday 19 • The Ceilidh Place
Ullapool. Tel: 01854 612103

July 2010
Maggie MacInnes Trio
Friday 9 • Stonehaven Folk Festival

Maggie MacInnes — solo
Sunday 11 • Stonehaven Folk Festival

August 2010
The Seedboat with Colum Sands
16, 17 & 18 • 8pm start
The Acoustic Music Centre,
Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

The Seedboat with Colum Sands
Thursday 19
Recital Rooms, City Halls, Glasgow

September 2010
The Seedboat with Colum Sands
Thursday 2 • 8pm start
Bagenal’s Castle, Newry & Mourne
Museum, Newry

The Seedboat with Colum Sands
Friday 3rd • 8pm start
Farmleigh House Long Mile Road,
Dublin 12

The Seedboat with Colum Sands
Sunday 5 • 8pm start
The Folk Gallery Newcastle, Co.Down

Solution Graphics

Maggie's CDs can be bought on
Recordings page via PayPal

Click here to be taken to
the Recordings page


John Barrow
Stoneyport Associates
Suite 10, 130 Leith Walk
Edinburgh, EH6 5DT
Email Contact
m: +44(0)7968-131737 (jb: 24hr ansa)


Unit 7, Muir of Ord Ind. Est.
Great North Road
Muir of Ord
Ross Shire

Tel: 01463 871422

20 Newtown Street
G65 0LY

Tel: 01236 827550

Gateway Business Centre
Kangley Bridge Road
London SE26 5AN

Tel: 020 8676 5100

Website by Designfolk