Gaelic Literature of the
Traditional poetry and song: collectors and collections
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DHUGHLAS, Catriona (1893-1965)
Daughter of Iain Mac-an-Aba,
himself a poet (q.v.)
Catriona Dhùghlas (Katherine Douglas) was born in Kilmuir,
Trotternish and lived there all her life. Educated at
Catriona coached young people for Mod competitions and composed a number of Gaelic songs (see her entry in the section for poetry and song of known authorship). After her death her husband gave her manuscripts to the Rev. Domhnall Buidse, who undertook the task of publication, a task in which, in spite of all his efforts, he was only partially successful. The Rev. Buidse’s account of Catriona’s life and work is to be found on pp. 596-601 of his article ‘Bàird an Eilean Sgiathanach: Clann-an-Aba, Throdairnis’ (TGSI 48: 584-601).
Catriona collected many old Gaelic songs and some of her collections were to win prizes at Mod competitions. Apparently when collecting songs she learnt the tunes, then played them by ear on her harmonium and from her playing made transcriptions of the tunes (information from Dr. John MacInnes).
I : SONGS FROM MOD PRIZEWINNING COLLECTIONS
An Gaidheal, 35 (1939-1940)
i ‘Cha bhì mi buan is tu bhì bhuam’, p. 60.
From the singing of Catriona Chamshroin of Valton. Fifteen verse-couplets and a three-line refrain. For another version of this song, see the Calum I. MacLean Collection.
ii ‘Chaidh mo Dhonnachadh dha ‘n bheinn’, p. 77.
See individual entry for this song.
iii ‘Duanag an t-Seòladair’, p. 175.
Niall MacLeòid’s song, with the tune to which it was usually sung in Skye. The composer himself sang it to the tune of ‘Eirich agus tiugainn O’.
iv ‘Oganaich ma chuir thu cùl rium’, p. 46.
From the singing of Anna Dhùghlas of Valtos. Five verse-couplets
and a refrain.
v ‘Tha mo chridhe brùite briste’, p. 107.
Lament of a mother for her dead daughter, from the singing of Catriona Chamshroin of Valtos. Eleven verse-couplets, with the second line of each repeated as the first line of the following one, and a vocable refrain.
An Gaidheal, 36 (1940-1941)
‘Iain Shomalta é ho ró’, p. 14
From the singing of Anna Dhùghlas of Valtos. A pibroch song which celebrates a cattle raid (Collinson 1966:196).
An Gaidheal, 38 (1942-1943)
i ‘Air fàill ill éilo’, p. 143.
An òran-luaidh (waulking song) from Mrs. Annie Arnott of Kilmuir. Five verse-couplets and a vocable refrain.
ii ‘Fhir a shiùbhlas am bealach’, p. 83.
From the singing of Iain MacLeòid of Kilmuir. A love song, with five eight-line verses.
An Gaidheal, 39 (1943-1944)
i ‘Air pilltean o na blàraibh’, p. 82.
Song composed by Major Neil MacLeod of Waternish, see his entry in section for poetry and song of know authorship.
ii ‘Oran Leannan Sìthe’, p. 143.
From the singing of Aonghus MacLaomainn of Bornaskitaig. Possibly a composition of Iain Og Moraidh, see his entry in section for poetry and song of know authorship.
II : MISCELLANEOUS ITEMS
i Fior Sheann Orain Taghta le an Ceòl a chaidh a chruinneachadh ann an Tròtairnis an Eilean Sgiathanaich. Catriona Dhùghlas.
A collection of upwards of sixty songs, the manuscript of which came into the possession of the Rev. Donald Budge after Catriona’s death (TGSI, 48:596-601). The Rev. Budge hoped to have the collection published, but sadly he himself died before this could be done (information in a note from the National Library of Scotland’s Lending Services Department).
ii Catriona collected some songs attributed to the Trotternish poetess Beathag Mhór: see entry in section for poetry and song of known authorship.
iii See individual entry for ‘Chaidh mi le ‘m leannan a’s t-foghar’.
III : Songs connected with Catriona in GAELIC SONGS OF SKYE
Orain an Eilein: Gaelic Songs of Skye. Cairistìona Mhàrtainn. Taigh na Teud: An t-Eilean Sgitheanach, 2001.
i ‘E o nighean, is o nighean’. , p. 88.
From Eòin Dòmhnallach, who had heard it from Catrìona
who collected it in Trotternish. Seven four-line verses and a refrain.
ii ‘Gu bheil an gille dubh-dhonn’, p. 92.
The words collected by Catrìona, the tune as sung by Eòin
Dòmhnallach. Five couplets and a three-line refrain.
Song about the sailor’s boat, as if to a sweetheart. Six couplets and
a three-line refrain beginning ‘Dhèanainn sùgradh … ‘
Annie Arnott An Cabairneach Carmina Gadelica Catriona Dhùghlas Tormod Domhnallach Marjory Kennedy-Fraser Angus Lamont K. N. MacDonald Johan MacInnes Hugh MacKinnon Calum I. MacLean Sorley MacLean Kenneth MacLeod Niall MacLeòid Màiri Nighean Alasdair
© A. Loughran, 2016