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Alex MacLean
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Gabarus Lake, Cape Breton County Birth Place
Alex MacLean
Alaisdair mac SheĆ²rais 'ic Iain 'ic Iain
Gabarus Lake, Cape Breton County

A life-long resident of Gabarus Lake, Alex MacLean lives with his wife Annie on the property where his father once operated a busy forge. According to the stories he heard growing-up, MacLean's great-grandfather was a native of North Uist who left for Nova Scotia from the island port of Lochmaddy. One of three children born to George and Effie MacLean, Alex was raised in a tight-knit community characterized by residents of similar cultural and religious backgrounds. Visiting, storytelling and singing were common and Gaelic was the language of daily communication. MacLean's father played the accordion and his brother was a well-known fiddler in the area. In recent years, Alex has begun learning the fiddle and has even built several during his spare time. A former highway worker, MacLean was employed as a carpenter with the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site for many years before his retirement. A proud grandfather, he is pleased to see a new generation taking an interest in his first language. Friendly and hospitable, Alex and Annie insist visitors stay for a home-cooked meal. - Shamus

Interviewed by Jim Watson, Mary Jane Lamond
Camera operated by Shamus MacDonald
October 20, 2008

Total Play Time: 1:15:34

00:10 Alex introduces himself, and his people, where they were from
02:30 family on his mother's side; talking about church
05:30 going to church when he was young, people who used to precent
13:14 his father was a blacksmith; talking about blacksmith work
20:00 names for parts of door
21:50 Jim tells a story
22:47 blacksmith tools
24:20-28:54 going to school View | Listen
30:55 Alex built his own house
35:38-38:30 bathrooms and outhouses; about the man with no outhouse View | Listen
38:32 animals they had
43:18 the Ceist at the Church
45:40 Christmastime
48:30 ghosts
48:55 praying
49:45 his brother Johnny was good to play on the fiddle
50:36 second sight, evil eye; Jim's story
56:40-59:17 Alex's story about the horse who became sick View | Listen
1:01:00-1:07:56 body parts
1:07:59-1:12:10 clothing
1:12:20 weather
1:13:50 Christmastime

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