February 1924: Hebridean Songs – Mrs Kennedy-Fraser’s Annual Visit and Recitals, in the Athenaeum

An article on page thirteen of The Glasgow Herald, on Wednesday the 20th of February, 1924, reads:






The annual visit to Glasgow of Mrs Kennedy-Fraser with ‘Songs of the Hebrides’ is an event which appeals

to a wide circle of hearers, including many who can claim little or no kinship with the folk of the Western

Isles. The latest proof of this was furnished by the large audience which attended the recital given last

evening in the Athenaeum Hall. Former recitals have been given in St Andrew’s Hall, but the change to the

Athenaeum is well advised, the smaller hall being of an ideal size for such an evening as Mrs Kennedy-Fraser

provides. Last night she established at the outset, and maintained throughout the recital, an intimate

association with her audience which was scarcely possible in the larger spaces of St Andrew’s Hall, and this

intimacy is essential for the full enjoyment of very many of the Hebridean songs. To meet the only disadvantage

in this new arrangement, that of the decreased accommodation, a second recital will be given this evening, with

a complete change of programme.


Last night, Mrs Kennedy-Fraser was assisted, as usual, by Miss Margaret Kennedy and Miss Patuffa Kennedy-Fraser,

the latter singing two groups of songs to the harp. The remaining items of the programme were sung to the piano,

the duties of accompanist being shared by Mrs Kennedy-Fraser, Miss Kennedy, and Miss Nina Philipson. The

performance was of sustained interest, and was greatly appreciated by the audience. Mrs Kennedy-Fraser was

again an excellent guide to the moods and settings of the various numbers. Her ability to create beforehand in so

charming a manner the appropriate atmosphere for each song was as marked as ever, and her preliminary talks

furnished one of the most enjoyable features of the evening. Two new songs opened the concert, an Ecstatic Chant

and a Grandame’s Lilt, ‘The Potato-liftin’.’ These were recovered in Barra during last summer and form attractive

additions to the great collection. The second is specially charming, and is being sung again this evening by request.

Among the more familiar items may be mentioned ‘Dance to your Shadow,’ the ‘Raasay Love Lilt,’ the old air, ‘An

dubh ghlens,’ the Processional ‘To the Lord of the Isles,’ the ‘Seal-Woman’s Sea Joy,’ ‘The Water Kelpie,’ ‘Aillte—An

Ossianic Chant,’ and the dance song, ‘The Sea Bird to Her Chicks.’ Additions to the programme were ‘The Morar

Reaper’s Song’ and ‘Land of Heart’s Desire.’


At the concert this evening some further examples of songs recently recovered will be given, and Mr Hugh Mackay

will be added to the concert party.”



George Fairfull-Smith, August 2023.