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SMO Musician in Residence’s family history wins Book of the Year at the Royal National Mod

The recently published book on the history and song tradition of the renowned Gaelic musical family, the Campbells of Greepe, has been named the Gaelic Book of the Year at the Royal National Mod in Paisley. ‘Fonn: The Campbells of Greepe’ is an account of the history and Gaelic song tradition of the family of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig’s Musician in Residence, Mary Ann Kennedy.

The book tells the story of the Campbells who belong to Greepe on Skye, and how they have, for generations, helped to preserve the Gaelic traditions and songs of Scotland and numbered among the very finest of Gaeldom’s singers. The family, past and present, boasts no fewer than seven Mod gold medallists, and three of those have achieved the coveted ‘Mod double’, by claiming the Gold Medal and the Traditional Gold.

The book is based on interviews with family members conducted by broadcaster and SMO lecturer Morag Stewart, and includes pictures from the family albums, family trees, maps of the area of Skye they came from, press cuttings and record cards. ‘Fonn’ is bi-lingual and contains a CD featuring rare recordings of older family members, including some from the archives at the School of Scottish Studies dating back to the 50s.

Speaking of the award, Mary Ann Kennedy said: “This is not only a great honour for the family and our music, but also a fitting recognition of the community of Roag in north-west Skye who we wanted to represent through the book – without them there would be no songs. And the songs continue: work on the second album from the Campbells, which will be released in the New Year, began at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig as part of my residency, and the music reflects the opportunity we were given at the college. We are delighted to have this connection with SMO.”

Donnie Munro, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig’s Director of Development, Fundraising and the Arts, commented: “The Directors and staff of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, are absolutely delighted to note the richly deserved honour which this award confers upon Mary Anne and the whole Kennedy/Campbell family, for producing an immensely important body of work and a such wonderful, rich, cultural heritage resource. It is particularly pleasing that Mary Anne, during a highly productive period as Musician in Residence at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, has been able to continue her own personal development and research as a musician, producer and collector and that this in turn will result in the release of further recorded material featuring the Campbells of Greepe, a family which occupies a quite remarkable place in the history of Gaelic song.”

The award was part of the Mod’s Literature Day and the book is published by Acair Ltd. For more information on the book visit

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