Margaret & Martyn Bennett – A Theàrlaich òig (Oh young Charles Stuart)
Remembering Culloden, April 2014
Margaret Arch house Dunira
Margaret Bennett

Folklorist, singer and writer Margaret Bennett is from the Isle of Skye and comes from a long line of traditional singers and pipers  — Gaelic on her mother’s side and Lowland Scots on her father’s.  She credits her family upbringing with her expertise in Scottish Folklore and folksong, though she has a post-grad Master’s in Folklore and a PhD in Ethnology. 

Widely regarded as “Scotland’s foremost folklorist” she is known to “wear her scholarship lightly,” lecturing, singing and storytelling on both sides of the Atlantic. Scottish Arts critic Judy Moir wrote “It’s rare to witness such a charismatic and fascinating raconteur.”

Prize-winning author with 15 books to her credit, her awards include The Michaelis Ratcliffe Prize for Folklore (1991), The Scotch Malt Whisky Society award “for notable service… rendered to the people of Scotland” (1994), the  Master Music Maker Award “(USA, 1998) in celebration of a lifetime of musicianship and teaching”, Canadian Historical Association/Société historique du Canada: Cleo Award for History (1999), the Celtic Women International 2003 award for “lifelong service to Scottish and Celtic Culture” and Le Prix du Québec (for contribution to Quebec cultural studies (2011).  

She has also featured in theatre, film and documentaries and with her son Martyn Bennett (1971–2005) collaborated on recording projects, including the lament in the National Theatre of Scotland’s critically acclaimed play, ‘Black Watch’.

Since 2009 she has been the driving force behind the charity Grace Notes Scotland, (“Dedicated to handing on tradition”), organizing and teaching community workshops as well as recording local traditions.

Also, since 2009, she has been a Patron of the Traditional Music and Song Association. In 2011, for her services to traditional music she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama; in 2012 the Royal Scottish Academy elected her Professor of the RSA; in 2014 she was inducted into the Traditional Music Hall  of Fame; in 2017 the Saltire Society (Highland Branch) presented her with an award “for outstanding work in conserving and sustaining the oral traditions, music and song of the Highlands and Islands“. In 2019, the Saltire Society awarded her their Outstanding Women Award, as one of ten women who have made an outstanding contribution to Scottish society.

As the late Hamish Henderson wrote, “Margaret embodies the spirit of Scotland.” 

Facebook / Grace Notes Scotland