The Croft was very sorry to hear about the passing of Lewisman and Lochs village bard, Murdo Kennedy, best known as Murdani Mast this week.

Enormously vital and witty, Murdani commented on anything that moved in his local townships. Whether cursing a dodgy loom or praising poaching or fishing trips his words are known to Gaels as if they were their own. While his laments for his wife and other dear friends are as poignant as they’re permanent.

I will leave it to fellow Gael and singer Margaret Stewart to say a few words.

He was born and brought up in the village of Marvig on the Isle-of-Lewis, and composed many Gaelic songs during his lifetime; many of them were very witty and humorous contemporary comments on life in the village and the island, such as ‘Oran a’ Bheart’ and ‘Oran a’ Bhradan’ , ‘Slimming Club Chromore’, ‘Oran an Anchor Bar’, the macaronic ‘The Girl from Cromore’ etc. Some of his songs were made famous by the group ‘The Lochies’ many years back. Murdani was one of the poets included in Timothy Neat’s book ‘The Voice of the Bard’ and he was featured in a television series ‘Bard nan Oran’, recently re-broadcast on BBC Alba.

He was also a wonderful precentor of Gaelic psalms and can be heard on the first Salm CD, recorded at Back Free Church.

There is so much that can be said about this lovely and gentle man, who during his life had been a fisherman, crofter, deep-sea mariner, whaler and, at one time, a reluctant weaver (he took up weaving in order to be able to stay at home with his wife and young family, but being a seaman at heart, he didn’t take to it and was constantly frustrated by its peculiarities, and composed this most humorous song).

My sympathy is extended to his family and friends at this difficult time. He will be sadly missed.