Fonds MG 21.8 - D.J. MacDermaid Songs & Stories Collection

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D.J. MacDermaid Songs & Stories Collection

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  • Sound recording

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MG 21.8

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  • 1952-1987 (Creation)
    MacDermaid, Donald John

Physical description area

Physical description

60 audio cassettes.

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Biographical history

Donald John MacDermaid (Dòmhnall Sheumais Thoirmoid) was born in Stirling, Richmond County on September 30th to parents James Matthew and Catherine (Morrison) MacDermaid. He worked for a while in Maine before moving to Massachusetts. He became a US citizen in 1942 and enlisted for service in WWII. Upon returning to the United States, he married Florence B. Moody, a native of Maine. He and his wife eventually settled in Framingham, Massachusetts near MacDermaid's sister-in-law Margaret MacQueen and brother, Norman. He passed away in 1992 and is buried with his wife in her hometown of Cornville, Maine.

Donald John is remembered as a fine Gaelic singer with a great love for the Gaelic song tradition of the Framboise area. He made and shared many recordings of the region's singers in Cape Breton and Massachussets. He also took a great interest in the tradition as it existed in Berneray, Harris, Scotland. MacDermaid's ancestors, like most in the Framboise region, hailed from the Hebridean islands of North Uist, Harris and Berneray.

Custodial history

The collection was donated to the Beaton Institute by the MacDermaid family on October 13th, 1992.

Scope and content

The collection consists of sixty cassette tapes of both primary recordings and some commercial material collected by Donald John MacDermaid from the early 1950s to the late 1980s.

Recordings taken in this collection cover a spectrum of Gàidhlig culture from Scotland, Cape Breton, and Massachusetts "The Boston States." In-House recordings include Gàidhlig stories and songs by singers such as MacDermaid himself, his brother Norman, Florence MacLeod, Ross MacDonald, Kenneth Morrison, and others. Fiddle & pipe tunes from renowned Cape Breton musicians like Winston Fitzgerald, Lee Cremo and Bill Lamey round out the musical selections. Commercial recordings include songs by Norman MacLean, Archie Grant, Calumn Kennedy and other Scottish singers.

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      General note

      Click the link above to download a full finding aid of the collection.

      Recordings can also be found on the Beaton Institute SoundCloud page:

      The description and digitization of this collection was generously supported through funding by the Nova Scotia Office of Gaelic Affairs.

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