left border


Peter Jack MacLean
Switch to Gaelic
Speakers List
 Rear Christmas Island, Cape Breton County Birth Place
Peter Jack MacLean
Peadar Jack Pheadair mac Caluim Ghobha
Rear Christmas Island, Cape Breton County

The traditional music of Gaelic Cape Breton has been the soundtrack of Peter MacLean's life. Raised in Rear Christmas Island, an area characterized by settlement from Barra, MacLean is a tall, self-assured man who lives on the rural property where he was born nearly a hundred years ago. His life-long interest in songs was fostered by his mother, a noted Gaelic singer in her own time. Late-night song-sessions and discussions about the poetry used by the great Gaelic bards formed impressionable parts of his youth. A fiddler in his younger days, Peter was raised in a nearly exclusively Gaelic speaking environment. Like many of his generation, he later moved to Boston where he and his wife lived for many years. There, days as a carpenter were punctuated by nights of fiddle music and singing at the Cape Breton Gaelic Club. Eventually, this led to an invitation to sing with the North Shore Gaelic Singers at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival - alongside the likes of Bob Dylan and Joan Baez. On his return to Cape Breton several years later, Peter Jack became a fixture at the summer milling frolics and concerts he continues to frequent today. An independent thinker and member of the Iona Gaelic Singers, he has encouraged and entertained a generation of Gaelic learners and remains ready to share a song whenever company arrives. - Shamus

Interviewed by Hector MacNeil
Camera operated by Shamus Y. MacDonald
January 25, 2006

Total Play Time: 01:20:07

00:02 Peter introduces himself
00:50 where his people came from
01:13 where he was born
01:39 his mother
02:00 sister and brother
02:20-07:17 his father; livestock; his wife and how they met; working in Boston View | Listen | Transcript
07:28 building houses
10:04-13:00 differences between now and then View | Listen
13:02 tools
18:51-27:00 wood; trees; working in the woods View | Listen
18:51-27:00 wood; trees; working in the woods View | Listen
28:08 names of trees
31:09 Mickey Shandaidh
33:40 names for things
42:52-46:13 cutting board Listen
46:03 names for things
53:08 making laces and eyes in boots
56:22 names for things
59:16 building chimneys; stonemason (English conversation)
1:02:10 wooden shingles; insurance policy with wood stoves

Peter Jack MacLean and Murdock MacNeil
Interviewed by Jim Watson
Camera operated by Shamus Y. MacDonald
September 26, 2006

Total Play Time: 1:37:51

03:22 talking about the well, the water is going dry; greeting and saying hello
06:27-08:50 Peter Jack's story View | Listen
08:54-09:57 talking about the Càinnt mo Mhathar project View | Listen
16:29-17:56 Peter Jack's story about Mickey Ceataidh View | Listen
21:10 they introduce themselves and say where they're from
34:37-37:14 how they made a living on the land View | Listen
37:15 where they went to school
40:52 priests who spoke Gàidhlig
42:20-47:16 Murdock's story about the pipe and the priest View | Listen
47:18 religion in the home
49:00 who were they married to
51:42 Peter Jack went working in Boston
53:08 Murdock lived in Christmas Island his whole life
55:31-57:34 differences between then and now View | Listen
57:41 work the first people faced when they immigrated
01:03:06-01:07:32 animals in the woods, insects, fish View | Listen
1:07:33 question about children's games
1:20:38 names for things

right border
Speakers | About the Project | Project Team | Gaelic Nova Scotia | Relevant Links | Contact

© Comhairle na Gaidhlig | All Rights Reserved
For more information please call 1-902-725-2272 or email us at: