Friday, 9 April 2010

Kenneth McKellar 1927-2010

Kenneth McKellar has died of cancer at the age of 82 in his daughter's home in the US. He was part of my childhood because he was the male singer of Scottish songs in the 50s, 60s and 70s.

His life was singing. Although he studied forestry at university and worked with the Forestry Commission for a while, he then trained as an opera singer. Opera didn't excite him and it was his love of traditional Scottish songs, along with his association with the BBC (both radio and television) which made him a household name in Scotland.

He represented the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1966 when he was placed 9th out of 18 entries - something I didn't know.

I'm not a great lover of tenor voices - I prefer the resounding depth of the bass - but Mr McKellar's diction and tone were, to my young ear, just perfection. I'm sure it was his renditions which subconsciously taught me the words of many a Scottish ballad and for that I give much thanks.



Witterings From Witney said...

As an Englishman SR, I mourn your country's loss.

Or should that be 'one of the outposts of the English Empire's loss"? Forgive my 'humour' on a serious matter - could not resist the 'dig'.

Kenneth McKellar was a fine singer, a gentleman of the 'old order', and a true ambassador for Scotland. He will, in Witterings Mansions, be sadly missed.

scunnert said...

Kenny McKellar and Andy Stewart did more harm to Scottish traditional music and the image of Scotland both home and abroad than anyone else. They were the Harry Lauders of my parents generation - music hall caricatures.

subrosa said...

Auch he was part of the music scene here WFW and of course I forgive you.

Younger generations won't have a clue who he was but that's life.

subrosa said...

Oh dearie me scunnert, you can't compare Andy Stewart with Kenneth McKellar. From a musical point of view there is no comparison.

Kenneth McKellar was a musician, Andy Stewart was a music hall singer. He certainly didn't come in the league of Harry Lauder in my generation. He was a respected musician who sang.

Dramfineday said...

I'll never forgive him for encouraging me to march through heather........after I'd picked myself up half a dozen times I just knew he'd never done it!

subrosa said...

Love it Dram! Aye he was quite convincing with that one. :)

Dark Lochnagar said...

He was a braw singer in his day. But he had become a coffin dodger, Amy MacDonald has taken over. You have to move with the times Rosie!

subrosa said...

Dearie me DL, did you not notice I specifically said 'male' singer. Tut tut. :)

Amy's fine but unfortunately lots of traditionally popular Scottish songs are no longer on TV or radio. Now any content has too much Gaelic for me, but some of the voices are wonderful and worth listening to I admit.

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