The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #9264   Message #137837
Posted By: Bat Goddess
18-Nov-99 - 07:42 AM
Thread Name: Origins: Mairi's Wedding
Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Help: Marle's Wedding
From the Glasgow Daily Record, date unknown:

Exclusive: Step we gaily on we go, this IS Mairi's wedding Now it's All for Mairi's birthday! She'll still be singing at 90

by Stephen Houston

Millions of Scots have sung Mairi's Wedding. And now, thanks to the Record, they can meet the bride herself.

For one of our best-loved tunes was written for Mary McNiven.

And the OAP is still stepping gaily, even though she'll be NINETY tomorrow.

Scots schoolkids have been learning the song for generations, and it's a firm favourite all over the world.

At her cottage on Islay yesterday, Mary said: "I can't believe it became so popular. But when it was first played to me I found it very catchy -- and I still do."

The song was originally written Gaelic -- that's why she was "Mairi" instead of "Mary" -- for the Mod of 1935.

Her pal Johnny Bannerman composed it and it was first played to her at the Old Highlanders Institute in Glasgow's Elmbank Street


"I still have a clear recollection of that day," said Mary. "Johnny just said the song was for me."

It was translated into English a year later, by Sir Hugh Robertson.

Although Mary herself was real, the wedding wasn't. For she didn't get hitched to Skye-born sea captain John Campbell until six years later. John died 17 years ago.

Mum of two, Mary, who won a Mod gold medal for singing in 1934, will enjoy a family birthday party in Glasgow this weekend. And it won't be complete without the famous song.

Her daughter Christine, a teacher from Hyndland, Glasgow, said: "Mum still sometimes sings it in Gaelic and people are always asking her to. I suspect she'll sing it to celebrate her birthday."

(The article is accompanied by a photograph of Mary by William Thornton and a copy of her wedding picture.)

(Respectfully submitted by Bat Goddess who has a photocopy of the article.)