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Marjory Kennedy-Fraser

1857 - 1930

Marjory Kennedy-Fraser
©2019 Gazetteer for Scotland

Marjory Kennedy-Fraser

Collector, arranger and singer of Hebridean songs. Born in Perth, the daughter of a well-known Scottish singer David Kennedy (1825-86), with whom she and her brothers and sisters travelled the world as he sang for the Scots diaspora.

From the early years of the 20th century Kennedy-Fraser visited many of the islands in the west of Scotland, where populations were in decline, and recorded the traditional Gaelic songs using a wax-cylinder phonograph. She arranged these songs for piano and harp (clarsach) and published them, with translations, in her three-volume 'Songs of the Hebrides' (1909-21), with a fourth volume 'From the Hebrides' following later. She brought songs such as the now-famous Eriskay Love Lilt to the world. Her work earned Kennedy-Fraser a CBE, together with an honorary degree from the University of Edinburgh, awarded in 1928.

Marjory Kennedy-Fraser died in Edinburgh. The University Library there holds her archive, including her wax cylinder recordings.

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