left border


Hector B. MacIsaac
Switch to Gaelic
Speakers List
 Port Hawkesbury, Inverness County  Birth Place
Hector B. MacIsaac
Eachann Aonghais Eachainn 'ic Dhunnchaidh
Port Hawkesbury, Inverness County

Hector B. MacIsaac is a man who likes visitors, a good laugh and occasional dileag with friends. Born in St. Ninian, Inverness County, he was the youngest in a family of nine children raised on a farm their father bought with money earned in a Montana mine. MacIsaac's early life was centred on the family and community-life typical of rural Cape Breton in the first half of the twentieth century. The backland community of St. Ninian, removed from the shore by several miles, was home to a tight-knit group of residents who shared common cultural and religious backgrounds. MacIsaac's own paternal grandfather emigrated from the isle of Eigg in 1828. It was through these people that he inherited his interest in music: "It was in them" he explains. MacIsaac's father was a fiddler who passed on a love of violin music to others in the family; fiddler Ashley MacIsaac is a modern-day result. After working for several years in the woods, and serving in the war, Hector married and had a family in Port Hawkesbury where he was employed with Customs Canada. Today, in his modern apartment building in the centre of town, he continues to speak Gaelic and swap stories with his neighbour across the hall - a contemporary raised only miles away in Little Judique.
- Shamus

Interviewed by Jim Watson
Camera operated by Shamus Y. MacDonald
November 24, 2006

Total Play Time: 58:03

00:00 discussing the Càinnt mo Mhathar project
04:06 Hector introduces himself
04:56 where Hector grew up; his father livelihood
08:46 who lives on that land today
09:15 his people came from Isle of Eigg; his grandfather came over in 1828
10:25 they came to Glencoe
10:35 they moved to St. Ninian
12:38 his father married in 1898
12:56 he got asthma from working in the mines
14:00 Hector moved to Antigonish, to work in the woods
14:50 cutting pulp
15:29 crosscut saws
17:17 joining the army
18:01 he moved back home in 1946; married in 1948
18:25 story about John Alec MacMillan
19:54 Bard from Chestico; a little story
22:50-27:00 they spoke Gaidhlig at home, English in school; his mother had Gaidhlig; his father played the fiddle and sang; chatting about pipers View | Listen
27:01 fiddle music; Hector's brother is Ashley MacIssac's grandfather
27:51 Dave MacIsaac and John Allen Cameron
29:48 Margaret Beaton
30:50 Mairi Alistair Raonall
32:08 Dougie MacPhee, May Belle, Alec Francis, Dan R., Willie Kennedy
38:02 Hector didn't play the fiddle
38:14 going to dances in St. Ninian's
38:43 musicians at the dances
39:18 'High tuning'; Buddy MacMaster
40:17 his brother, his father, they stepdanced
41:51 polkas in Antigonish
42:24 Collie Angie
43:28 Judique mountain
44:05 song and proverb
46:26 slainte/cheers!
48:20 Cameron Chisholm
48:56-55:53 Dòmhnaill Ailein Duinn's horse; Niall Ailein Duinn; stories about these two View | Listen
56:15 Glencoe's MacDonalds
56:47-58:02 moonshine made in the woods View | Listen

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: