October Scottish Events

Laura MacKenzie CD Launch Concerts
“From Uig to Duluth”
Scots Gaelic Music and Song

Friday October 17     7 pm  – Northfield Arts Guild, 304 Division St, Northfield
Friday October 24     7:30 pm  – Duluth Friends Meeting House, 1802 East 1st St, Duluth
Sunday October 26   7:30 (doors open at 6:30)  – The River Room, Aster Cafe, 125 Main St. SE, Minneapolis.

$10/$15 includes CD

For more information:

Multi-instrumentalist/singer Laura MacKenzie will perform a selection of Scots Gaelic music and song, accompanied by Dáithí Sproule (guitar and vocals) and Andrea Stern (harp), with Laura herself adding wooden flutes, whistles, concertina and Scottish smallpipes to the arrangements.

These songs and melodies were sourced primarily from field recordings made in Duluth in 1937 of Gaelic singer John Matheson, who immigrated to Duluth from Uig, Isle of Lewis, in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland in 1905. In both Scotland and North America, Matheson was held in the highest regard as a traditional singer, and his music gladdened the heart of many an immigrant Scot in Duluth and beyond. This is a gorgeous collection of music, ranging in theme from great longings to humorous delights, with a special connection to Scottish heritage in Minnesota.

The North Star Gaelic Singers
Saturday October 4th, 7:30 pm

The North Star Gaelic Singers
$10 at the door

Presented by the Traditional Singers Club, The North Star Gaelic singers will perform a delightful variety of solo and ensemble songs in Scots Gaelic. The trio is a new collaboration of three singers deeply interested in traditional music, sharing a great love for Scots Gaelic song. Members are Laura MacKenzie, Scott Bartell and Katharine Grant. The evening will include floor singer spots at the beginning of the night, in true singers club form. Refreshments will be served.  Open to all!


For more information, contact: laura@lauramackenzie.com

The Celtic Junction | 836 Prior Ave | St. Paul, MN

 Graeme Mackenzie: Scottish Historian
Hello Scottish Interest Group, and fellow Scot enthusiasts!
Yes, we’ve done it again.  We’ve brought back Mr. Graeme Mackenzie from Scotland.

To our great fortune, he will be back for another talk on Friday, October 10th on a related topic. Those of you who were able to come last July know the depth of his knowledge on the history and genealogy of Scotland. Please attend his presentation at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, October 10th.  Come to the 1st floor Auditorium at 1185 Concord Street North, in South St. Paul, MN 55075.  Come in the front door of the building and turn right.  Go straight ahead to enter the auditorium.

Graeme Mackenzie lives in Inverness, Scotland.  He is coming to the Twin Cities for just a few days, before heading off to other engagements in the States.  The subject of his talk will be “Researching ancestors in the Highlands of Scotland”. Graeme Mackenzie has devoted his career to studying the history of the Scottish Highlands and researching genealogy for those of Scottish descent. Graeme will be bringing new copies of a book that he has just published on the same subject.

Please plan to come, on Friday, at 7:00 p.m. on October 10th, 2014, to the address shown above.

He will speak for an hour +, and then we’ll have an informal reception afterward at Joseph’s Grill, located at 140 Wabasha St. S., located just south of the river.  The reception will be right after the talk, at around 8:45 to 9:00 pm.

We had terrific attendance at the first talk, and expect this to be even better!  If you can come, it would be good if you could send me a quick reply, just to let me know that you are available to come.  We’d like to get a rough idea of how many folks will be there.  No need for reservations, so come regardless.

For updated information on the event you can go to:  http://www.mcmillen-design.com/mackenzie2014

Above are Graeme Mackenzie (left) and Clan MacMillan’s Chief George MacMillan of MacMillan and Knap.
Graeme M. Mackenzie, MA is a historian and genealogist living in Inverness, Scotland.
– Holds a Masters degree in medieval history from the University of Cambridge.
– Historian for both Clan MacKenzie and Clan MacMillan.
– Founding chairman of Association of Highland Clans and Societies
– Former chairman of the Highland Family History Society.

If you have any questions, send me back an e-mail, or call.

Hope you can all come!
John McKeen
(651) 228-0022 (Please leave a msg. if not at home.)

Minnesota Genealogical Society | 1185 Concord St. N., Suite 218 | South St. Paul

Free Public Workshop – “A Scots Gaelic Music Legacy in Minnesota”
Thursday October 17, 7 – 8 pm, The Celtic Junction, 836 Prior Ave N, St. Paul.
Laura MacKenzie will talk about her research, and teach a couple of easy, short Gaelic songs – lyrics and phonetics provided! Free and open to all.

Celtic Junction | 836 Prior Ave N | St. Paul.

St. Andrew’s Day event
The St. Andrew’s Society is planning our St. Andrew’s Day event and hope that you will be able to join us on Sunday, December 7for the fun. The event will be a blast from the past:  an afternoon at the Minnesota History Center, including their current exhibit, Toys from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s.  We will meet for lunch at noon that day, at a location yet to be determined in St. Paul and then move on to the History Center for a great afternoon.  Watch future SNIMs and your email for further details as they become known.

Minnesota History Center | 345 W Kellogg Blvd | St Paul, MN 55102

Minnesota Scottish Fair & Highland Games 2015 date
Mark your calendars! The Minnesota Scottish Fair & Highland Games has announced the 2015 date of July 18, 2015. The fair will once again be held on the grounds of the Faithful Shepherd Catholic School in Eagan, MN.
The SNIM is sponsored by the Scottish American Center. We welcome news from all variety of Celts. Please send news, announcements, questions and concerns to scottishamericancenter@yahoo.com. Please note, editorial pieces may be subject to approval by the Scottish American Center board before posting.

Sign up to receive the SNIM via e-mail on the Scottish American Center website: http://scottishamericancentermn.org/SNIM.php

Thank you!
Tiffany Esau-McCracken
Scottish American Center


Scottish Harvest Customs

I often bring more material than I am able to use on my tours- since this is the last day of September I will post the research I did earlier this month on Scottish harvest customs. It is mainly Scottish because in Ireland the harvest happens earlier at Lughnasadh- August 1st or 2nd.

First I will note that the 8th of September is the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, and on that week’s tour we did indeed see a statue of Mary had been placed near the high altar at the Cathedral.

On the 14th or the 21st- the Autumnal Equinox- Nutting Day is observed- the day “the Devil goes a-nutting” Young people gather nuts, some avoid doing so lest the Devil abduct them! Nuts are associated with fertility so some girls avoid gathering them so as not to get pregnant.  It is also the end of the blackberry picking season- it’s believed that when the archangel Michael kicked the Devil out of heaven, he landed in bramble bush. Mold found on blackberries is his spit.

The main September harvest celebration is on the 28th- Michaelmas Eve- bonfires are lit, roast lamb is eaten. In Scotland Michael is the patron of fishermen and horsemen. Struan Micheil is traditionally made and eaten- a cake made of sheep’s milk, eggs, butter and grain, decorated with a cross. A piece is thrown on the fire to placate the Devil.

the 29th- Michaelmas Day

Irish customs for Michaelmas come from the English- giving geese as gifts, even to the poor, plucking their down for pillows, apple picking, cider-making and hunting season begins and fishing ends.

In Scotland, wild carrots are dug up and given as gifts. Another tradition is to visit the graves of relatives on horseback- this is called circuiting. Horse-racing and other athletic events take place.


Chronicle of Celtic Folk Customs by Brian Day