About Macdonald Music

All Things Scottish

When it comes to things Scottish, I am not by any stretch of the imagination an academic or expert, whether the topic is the land, its scenery, history, people culture or music. I am just an enthusiast, but I do mean Enthusiast.

The Highlands of Scotland

So what is this web site about? If I can simply communicate to you some of the flavour, the sights and sounds of the Highlands of Scotland, of my home, then in a small way I have helped nurture it.

If Time Were a Tapestry

What to talk about first - the Land or Scenery, the History or the People, the Culture, or the Music? There is no starting point. If time were a tapestry all these would be woven together – the patterns, the colours and textures, some timeless and some ever changing.

For example, is it coincidence that the tartans and tweeds reflect the colours of the land? Not when the dyes originated from the native vegetation. Is it a mystery that there is such a folklore and feeling of spirituality given the ancient relics of our past, which lie amongst the hills and glens?

Mystery and Enigma

There is real mystery and enigma too. Don’t ask me why on the one hand, a regiment of Highland soldiers has always been regarded as one of the most fearsome sights on a battlefield, yet on the other hand a vast crowd of Scottish football fans, noisy and tribal, are so consistently welcomed all over the world – even before we lose!

Wee Nessie

And as for that Monster down in the Loch – I know several sane and unimaginative souls who have looked me in the eye while describing quite matter-of- factly what they have seen.

The Gatherings

For me, more than anywhere else, the whole thing comes together when highlanders get together to enjoy our music. People young and old come together on these occasions. Some of the music will be hundreds of years old and some will have been recently composed. Some of the musicians will have seen three score years, ten and ten more, but increasingly the young folk are showing an interest and developing a level of talent which will nurture both the traditions and continuing evolution of Scottish Music.

Debate

There is of course the debate – Some purists feel that the music remain true to its traditional form untainted by “modern fads” while others proclaim that Celtic rock music, for example, is the new tradition and many of our younger traditional players will forego strict dance time in their music to put fire into the performance.

Whisky, The Water of Life

It is all down to subjective opinion really. But I firmly believe that for the traditions to remain alive and nurtured we also need to allow the music to develop. However, I digress… Back to the Ceilidh (kay-lay), a gathering of our people for an evening of dancing and singing (and the occasional dram). Eyes and ears absorbing what is the sum of all our past and our present, then the eyes close briefly - so as not to overwhelm too many senses at one time - as the palate savours the raising of glass containing the water of life!

On whisky, sadly I’m no expert – but again I am an Enthusiast! On the question of my favourite dram of Scotch I can never decide. It always comes down to a short-list of two however. The one I had last, or the next one to come! But I do have good friends and relatives who make or have made the stuff – legally (I add, in case the Exciseman is in earshot) so I’ll gladly consult with the Experts if you have a question.

Back to Top

OFF-AIR
Next Live Broadcast:
4 Days

Free Scottish Music Download

Download a couple of Ben Macdonald's latest traditional Scottish Music recordings - FREE

Scottish Music LIVE On-Air

Visit MORAY FIRTH RADIO (MFR) to listen to 'All Scottish' and hear Ben and John, live every Thursday night 19:00-22:00 GMT

Roll Back the Years

Ben Macdonald Read about Ben Macdonalds Life and Times.

Images of Scotland - Photography by Ben Macdonald

Photography by Ben Macdonald Moments captured. Join Ben on a photographic tour of some of Scotlands most hidden treasures