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“There can be few scholars on either side of the Atlantic who succeed in combining such a wide range of skills. A folksinger of great sensitivity and versatility, she is undoubtedly one of the major figures of the modern Scottish revival … Margaret embodies all that is best of the spirit of Scotland".

Hamish Henderson

Margaret & Martyn Bennett: The Strange Show

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 and 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.