memories

By Murdo MacLeod (Broadcaster)

(There is a Gaelic version below the English)

Iain “Hoddan” MacDonald once remarked to me that football had given him more pleasure than music and song. When he was in Inverness he was invited to sing in Còisir Ghàidhlig Inbhir Nis. The choir, however, met on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and these were the training evenings of his football team. The lure of the game was much greater.

We should surely be thankful that, although not enticed by the choir, Iain did not forsake the songs. Since he was a lad he had an interest in these. This may have been kindled by the fact that his father composed some poetry. When he was of an age to be admitted to the ceilidh houses, the stories and songs of the sailors captivated him; and as we listen to Iain’s singing we can always sense the unfolding of the narrative.

Piseag Fear Cheòis, Òran an AI, Am Bàla Gaoithe, Òran a’ Ghuga, and many more . . .we hear these funny, witty, sparkling stories communicated in a warm voice, gently or jovially, as befits the storyline. Iain had his individual manner of rendering songs and it was different from that of other artistes. His was a friendly style, with a smile on the words as well as on his face and in his eyes.

Whilst in his company in Partick on Saturday evenings, every minute was fun-filled. He once told us of the occasion when he was recording “Bàs an Eich” and he was asked for an English title that could be used for the song. Whilst Iain was nonplussed, a friend who was with him promptly quipped, “The Poor Horse that was buried at Sea”! Thus was that English title born.

Iain brought us immeasurable pleasure through the lighthearted songs of good friends, such as Kenneth “Red” Macleod and Duncan “Dodd” Graham. He had a great capacity to convey nostalgia through his singing as well, with songs such as “Bidh mo Dhùthaich a’ tighinn air m’ Aire”, one of William Mackenzie’s compositions.

Iain passed away in May 2007 and we mourn him greatly.

His legacy of songs ensures that he will never be forgotten.

Murdo MacLeod (Broadcaster)


Thubhairt Iain “Hoddan” Dòmhnullach rium aon uair gun robh ball-coise air barrachd tlachd a thoirt dhà na bha ceòl is òrain. ’Nuair a bha e ann an Inbir Nis chaidh cuireadh a thoirt dhà seinn ann an còisir a’ bhaile. Bha an còisir a’ coinneachadh gach oidhche Mhàirt agus oidhche Dhiardaoin ach b’e sin na h-oidcheannan a bha an sgioba ball-coise aige a trèanadh agus bha tarraing a’ gheam fada ro làidir.

Ged nach deach a thàladh leis a chòisir nach sinn bu choir a bhith taingeil nach do chuir Iain a chùl ris na h-òrain. Bha ùidh aige annta bho bha e na bhalach beag agus ‘s dòcha gun deachaidh sin a bhrosnachadh le athair, a bha ri beagan bàrdachd. ’Nuair a bha e aig aois faighinn a-steach do na taighean cèilidh bha sgeulachdan agus òrain nan seòladairean, gu h-araid, na chùis ioghnaidh dhà agus ’nuair a tha thu ’g eisteachd ri Iain fhèin a’ seinn tha thu dha-rìribh a’ faireachdainn gur e sgeulachd a tha thu a’ faighinn.

Piseag Fear Cheòis, Òran an AI, Am Bàla Gaoithe, Òran a’ Ghuga agus gu leòr eile……. sgeulachdan èibhinn, eirmseach, geur air an innse le guth blàth, socair is suigeartach, a-rèir brìgh an òrain. Bha dhòigh fhèin aig Iain air an h-òrain a lìbhrigeadh nach robh aig seinneadair sam bith eile. Bha stoidhle chàirdeil aige, gàire air na facail cho math ri aodann agus lasair bheòthail na shuilean.

Nuair a bhitheadhmaid na chuideachd ann am Partaig air feasgar Disathairne cha robh mionaid a’ dol seachad nach robh gàire againn. Leithid an àm a bha e ag innse dhuinn ‘nuair a bha e a’ clàradh “Bàs an Eich” agus a dh’fhoighneachd am fear-clàraidh dhà de an t-ainm a chuireadh air an òran sin ann am Beurla. Chuir seo Iain ann am beagan de bhreislich ach bha caraid na chois agus ann an tiotan thàinig esain an àird le “The Poor Horse that was buried at Sea” agus ‘s ann marsin a nochd e air a’ chlàr.

Thug Hoddan toileachas gun tomhais dhuinn le na h-òrain aighearrach aig leithid a dheagh charaidean Coinneach “Red” MacLeòid agus Donnchadh “Dods” Greumach. Bha comas air leth aige air faireachdainnean bròin a thogail ann an òrain cuideachd, ged tha, samhail “Bidh mo dhùthaich a tighinn air m’aire” aig Uilleam MacCoinnich.

Shiubhal Iain ‘sa Chèitean, 2007, agus tha sinn ‘ga chaoidh gu mòr.

Leis an dileab de dh’òrain a dh’fhàg e cha tèid e gu bràth a dìochuimhn’.

Murchadh MacLeòid (Craoladair)