In his ‘Carmina Gadelica’, Alexander Carmichael writes regarding the origin of three particular poems:
Dr Morrison heard them from an old man known as ‘Coinneach Saor’ – Kenneth the Carpenter – and his wife, at Obbe, Harris.
These aged people were habitually practising quaint religious ceremonies and singing curious religious poems to peculiar music, evidently ancient.
In childhood Dr Morrison lived much with this couple, and in manhood recorded much of their old lore and music.
These however he noted in characters and notations of his own invention which he did not live to render intelligible to others. This is extremely regrettable, as Dr Morrison’s wonderfully wide, accurate, and scientific attainments, deep knowledge of Gaelic, of music, and of acoustics, were only surpassed by his native modesty of mind and tender benevolence of heart. He was a distinguished medallist in several subjects at the University of Edinburgh… Dr Morrison was descended from the famous hereditary brehons of the Isles.
I am hoping to learn more about Dr Morrison and of the couple who he spent time with on Harris but, alas, have not been able to identify any of them in the censuses or elsewhere.
If anyone has any information regarding the Dr, or his hosts, please do contact me – the phrase ‘and in manhood recorded much of their lore and music‘ suggests a rich seam worthy of exploration!