Margaret Bennett

Margaret Bennett was brought up in a family of tradition bearers, Gaelic on her mother’s side (from Skye) and Lowland Scots on her father’s. As a student in the sixties, she met the legendary Hamish Henderson, singer, poet, folklorist, and political activist whose work influenced her career. She went on to study folklore and folksong at Memorial University of Newfoundland and in 1976 returned to Scotland with her 5 year-old son, Martyn, who became a multi-instrumental musician and composer, with ground-breaking fusions of classical, folk and jazz.

From 1983 to 96, Margaret lectured at the University of Edinburgh’s School of Scottish Studies. Said to ‘wear her scholarship lightly’, she attributes her expertise in Scottish folklore and traditional song to her family background. Her field-recordings include the 1985 Orkney Folk Festival, and many rare recordings of tradition-bearers at home and abroad, whose repertoire may otherwise have vanished.

Since 1996 she has lectured part-time at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (formerly RSAMD), and has performed at world-wide festivals including Mariposa Festival (Toronto), Celtic Connections (Glasgow), Celtic Colours (Cape Breton), Glistening Waters (NZ), and the Library of Congress’s ‘Burns 250’. She has taught at summer schools on both sides of the Atlantic and is widely regarded as ‘Scotland’s foremost folklorist’.

Recipient of the Master Music Maker Award(USA), the Celtic Women International award (Canada) for ‘lifelong service to Scottish Culture’, the Scotch Malt Whisky Society ‘Spirit of Scotland Award’, two Saltire Society awards, honorary doctorates and several literary prizes, she is the author of 15 books and has contributed to radio, television, theatre and film. Her CDs include ‘In the Sunny Long Ago’ and ‘Glen Lyon’ in collaboration with her late son, Martyn.