We are currently working with the team at DASG to develop a fully searchable database to house the songs we have catalogued as part of the Language in Lyrics project (read more on that here). In the meantime, we are releasing a spreadsheet of song metadata every week on Google Sheets which we hope will be useful until the full database is ready. These are still works-in-progress and we encourage you to leave feedback through the comments function on Google Sheets.

The fourth index we are sharing is for Fàilte Cheap Breatainn, a collection compiled and edited by Vincent MacLellan of Grand Mira in 1891. (You can view information on all the indices we have released so far here.) It was his first attempt at writing in Gaelic and as we see below he was driven by a desire to pay homage to the poetic legacy of men such as his father, Donald “Gobha” (blacksmith) MacLellan. Donald was a bard and a native of Morar who immigrated to Cape Breton in 1819 and many of his songs are included in the collection.

In 1933 James Hugh MacNeil undertook to make a new edition – a painstakingly typed and hand-bound re-creation of the original 1891 collection. Both editions (pictured below) are housed in the Father Charles David Brewer Celtic Collection at St. Francis Xavier University.

The introduction from the original demonstrates MacLellan’s altruistic intentions in writing out and sharing the songs:

‘The object of the present work is not to make money, but simply to preserve a record of songs, and sentiments, which, otherwise, would fade into fast forgetfulness. In fact, the publication of such a work as this, in this country, is much more of a pecuniary burden than a profit. But, if I save from oblivion, anything of historical interest or poetic merit, and, especially, if I put in permanent form, any tribute to the memory of deserving men, who have gone before us, my aim shall have been accomplished’.

Vincent A. MacLellan

The Language in Lyrics project has created digital text files of the songs in Fàilte Cheap Breatainn, which will be made available in due course. An index of the song metadata from Fàilte Cheap Breatainn is available on Google Sheets.

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