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Scottish and Celtic Music Discussion
Looking for some good Uist tunes
nic a' phlutes
Posts: 2289
Posted: 11-Jan-2010 11:55
Hello -

Wondering if any of you have any suggestions for some good Uist tunes (not songs) - either written by people from Uist or written for Uist. South Uist in particular. I've got a few already but would be a help if anybody else has any suggestions.

Also, if you can think of tunes relating to Oban, that would be grand as well....!

Thank you please


Posts: 1670
Posted: 11-Jan-2010 14:15
As one of Scotlands leading composers Fred Morrisons "Collection " tune book would give you a head start along with his CDs -"Up South "etc -all sprinkled with Uist links and they are all 'good" tunes as you request.Some would suggest that all Uist tunes are good.
Iain MacLachlans "Dark Island" is a fascinating topic in its own right-whose tune is it and when?
nic a' phlutes
Posts: 2289
Posted: 11-Jan-2010 15:41
Well judging by the slow response I'll take it that the Lewis tunes are the best ;-)

Thanks for that - got Fred already, will keep ploughing. It's for a lots of non Uist stuff too. When people ask what kind of music I like, I always say "I just like a good tune."

Nìall Beag
Posts: 2237
Posted: 11-Jan-2010 15:44
I might have known a Leòdhasach wouldn't be after Uibhist tunes out of personal interest.... ;-)

Anyway, there's a nice wee tune on Fhuair Mi Pòg (Allan MacDonald and Margaret Stewart) called Cille Pheadair. Not clear from the liner notes whether it's one of Allan's compositions or an older tune.

nic a' phlutes
Posts: 2289
Posted: 11-Jan-2010 15:48
Actually most of my favourite tunes come from the Highlands - Allan MacDonald is probably my favourite tunester :-)

Edit - just saw your edit there NB. Yes I've got that one, it's brilliant.

Posts: 1670
Posted: 11-Jan-2010 16:00
The illustrious Uist piping tradition was also demonstrated by Pipe Major Angus Mac Aulay -among other interesting aspects of his work he played on the soundtrack of "Whisky Galore" if my memory serves me right in these thawing times.The "Cille Pheadair"connection was also part of the title of one of the best ceilidh dance bands ever to play the village halls -the aptly named "The Sound Of Kilphedar" -I dont think they were recorded and that was a great pity
Posts: 647
Posted: 11-Jan-2010 16:06
A quick look at my database:

  • Mac a’Bhaillidh a Uist (Darling of the Uist Lasses)
    Book: Simon Fraser Collection; Recording: Carl Mackenzie, Welcome to your Feet Again.
  • In Praise of Uist
    from a Fiddler's Rally LP, Scottish Fiddler's Rally Kelvin Hall Vol.1, 1976
  • Iomramh eadar Il' a's Uist (Rowing From Isla to Uist)
    Book: Simon Fraser Collection; Recording: Ossian, St Kilda Wedding
  • South Uist Golf Club (composed by Lachlan MacCormick)
    LP: Jock Tamson's Bairns
  • Uist Dance
    Deaf Shepherd or
  • Uist My Love
    LP: Bobby MacLeod, Tobermory Treasure, 1971
  • The Three Peaks of South Uist
    LP: Kentigern (learned from Duncan Johnstone)
  • South Uist
    LP: Kentigern ("Learnt from Ducan Johnstone. “We have been unable to discover the name of [this tune], but believe it to be from South Uist, hence the unofficial title.”)
  • Pipe Major John MacDonald’s Welcome to South Uist
    (composed by D MacMillan) - LP: John Burgess, The Art of the Highland Bagpipe
Posts: 647
Posted: 11-Jan-2010 16:24

  • Donald MacLean's Farewell to Oban
    Aly Bain and Friends; Sandy Coghill, Out the Box; Foundry Bar Band, On the Road; Tannahill Weavers, Land of Light.
  • Duncan Campbell of Oban (comp.Lawrie)
    Glasgow Caledonian Strathspey & Reel Society, 1980
  • The Oban Weekend (comp.John Mason)
    Scottish Fiddle Orchestra, Tam o'Shanter
  • Echoes of Oban (comp. MacPherson)
    Ian Powrie, Farewell to Scotland
Alistair C
Posts: 1097
Posted: 11-Jan-2010 16:25
Does Benbecula count? In which case "The Cat and the Dog" is a great slip jig from Benbecula. Here is a link to Angus Nicolson, Coll MacDonald & Will Lamb. It is the 2nd tune in the set:

nic a' phlutes
Posts: 2289
Posted: 11-Jan-2010 16:46
Thanks very very much for those - will go and see if I can source them myself and have a listen now. That's brilliant, thanks again.
Posts: 2596
Posted: 11-Jan-2010 17:53
The Creagorry Ceilidh
Donald Macauley Of Creagorry
The Kerrera Polka
The Hills Of South Uist
Leaving Lochboisdale
The Argyllshire Gathering

And one that shall really appeal to you Nic …..

The Boys Of Ballivanich

Why limit to tunes only when there are so many lovely tunes to so many Uist & Oban songs?

Posts: 13
Posted: 11-Jan-2010 18:03
A pal of mine from up there had some of tunes published in book which came out up there about 10 years back. I think it's called "Tunes of Uist" and contains pipe, fiddle and accordian tunes all composed by Uibhistachs (sp?!). I think it may only have been sold locally though. There are some cracking tunes in it and some good stories behind the tunes too. I can give you a phone number for one of the composers if you like?

Regarding Oban, there's the 2/4 pipe march "Donald Maclean's Farewell to Oban", which was for written for a piper of that name who somewhat disagreed with the piping result at the Games. He vowed never to return due to getting "shafted" (piping terminology for when you get any result that isn't 1st)!


Posts: 1670
Posted: 11-Jan-2010 18:48
TUNES of Uist,
Uist and Benbecula Accordion and Fiddle Club [2000.]
Call #: 788.86




Format: PBK



nic a' phlutes
Posts: 2289
Posted: 11-Jan-2010 19:19
Boula2 - you can't put songs with words behind talking, so therefore tunes it is...

Thanks for all this info, great stuff altogether!!!

Posts: 9
Posted: 11-Jan-2010 21:23
Amongst some of the more popular ones;

Donald, Willie and his Dog –Jig By P/M Donald Morrison of S.Uist
The Skylarks Ascension – Jig by Archie Lindsay of Daliburgh

An Drochaid Chliúiteach- Reel, The famous Bridge (melody of the song making fun of the engineers who made a bit of a mess of the small causeway on the east side of Benbecula)

P/M Willie Gray’s Farewell to the Glasgow Police – March, P/M John MacDonald, South Uist.

.Roderick MacDonalds Strathspey/ Favourite

The Shores of Loch Bee – March, P/M John MacDonald

Och is’ Duine Truagh Mi- Port a’ Beul

Hercules The Bear! – P/M Calum Campbell, Benbecula

Hundreds more!!

Posts: 285
Posted: 11-Jan-2010 22:54
Yes Glyn Mo it is called "Tunes of Uist" being 60 or so new tunes composed by a variety of composers mostly from Uist and the western isles,but some from further afield.(Penicuik!) It was produced by the Uist and Benbecula Accordian and Fiddle club following a competition . About 1999/2000.
Some nice tunes!
"To obtain further copies of this book, please contact Miller Macdonald,'Silver Rock', Kyles Flodda,Gramsdale, Isle of Benbecula. HS7 5LZ'
Posts: 14820
Posted: 12-Jan-2010 11:06
"Boula2 - you can't put songs with words behind talking, so therefore tunes it is..."

Boula2 has a good point. If a song has a good melody, it will also stand on its own as an instrumental piece. So, you could still use it.

Unless, of course, you just wish to use existing recordings as opposed to commisioning musicians to play the pieces.

nic a' phlutes
Posts: 2289
Posted: 12-Jan-2010 12:20
I have tunes of songs don't worry - but tunes they are and not songs.

Commissioning musicians? Yeah if I lived in fantasyland....

Posts: 14820
Posted: 12-Jan-2010 12:38
"I have tunes of songs don't worry - but tunes they are and not songs"

I think that's what Boula and I both meant, actually. :-)

"Commissioning musicians"

Sounds a lot grander and more expensive than it need be. Basically, I just meant getting one or more people to play the tunes for you. They don't necessarily need to be professional musicians and it could be done as a favour if they were particularly interested in your project.

Anyway, you obviously already have a good idea about what you wish to achieve. So, I'll leave you be. :-)

nic a' phlutes
Posts: 2289
Posted: 12-Jan-2010 13:22
I have something coming up where music will be commissioned - can't wait!!! Can't do it for everything but special things, yes.
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