Cullerlie 2023

Cullerlie 2023

2123 July 2023

A Festival to celebrate the singing traditions of Scotland, England, and Ireland in memory of Tom and Anne Reid

Tom Reid pictured above in the early 1960s

Guest Singers Programme | Booking | h-Hm | Organisers and Sponsors

The festival is a unique celebration, bringing together outstanding traditional singers from Scotland, England, and Ireland. The event is especially for those who like to hear, enjoy, and join in unaccompanied traditional singing. Essentially informal, friendly and non-competitive, it will be just the place to encourage the young and less experienced as well as the old hands. The weekend includes informal concerts featuring the guest singers, singarounds for everyone who wants to join in, workshops, craft demonstrations and a talk.

Cullerlie Farm Park and Heritage Centre was set up by Tom (Tam’) and Anne Reid in 1993 and is now run by Anne’s daughter Tracey Walker and her husband Eric, as well as other members of the family. Tom moved to the Cullerlie Estate with his parents in 1935, and worked with his father in the traditional way of farming. He kept the traditions alive by turning the old original steading into a farm museum with one of the largest privately owned collections of farming and domestic memorabilia in Scotland. Anne, who was from nearby Peterculter, joined Tom when they married in 1975.

Tom (born 1929) was a legendary singer, having been crowned, in 1977, the Bothy Ballad King before a crowd of 10,000 at the Haughs in Turriff, a title that remained his until his death in January 2003. Anne (1939–2006) was also a fine singer and promoted the traditions of the North-East through singing and speaking workshops with schoolchildren and adults at local schools and at the museum, as well as hosting regular Saturday-night ceilidhs. It is the family’s express wish that the festival should continue to run in memory of Tom and Anne.

Cullerlie Farm Park nestles at the foot of the Hill of Fare where the battles of Corrichie and Cullerlie Moor were fought. It is 6 miles north-east of Banchory and 12 miles west of Aberdeen. From Aberdeen follow the A944 to the Westhill traffic lights, then turn left on to the B9119 to Garlogie, then fork left again on the B9125 for 3 miles. The Park is on the right behind Birchmoss Depot.

Guest Singers

Mossy Christian is an award-winning singer, musician, and dancer, who specialises in the traditions of Lincolnshire and Yorkshire. Drawing on a rich and diverse repertoire of songs, he charts the lives of everyday people, in their work and recreation, from the 1700s to the present day. He draws his inspiration from classic traditional singers, such as Joseph Taylor and Harry Cox, alongside more recent luminaries, including Mike Waterson and Peter Bellamy.


Shona Donaldson is one of Scotland’s leading tradition bearers. She grew up in Huntly, Aberdeenshire, and was surrounded by music and song from a young age. She studied at RSAMD and has performed and taught worldwide. Shona is a former winner of the Scots Singer of the Year and is the only woman thus far to win the Bothy Ballad Championship at Elgin. She particularly enjoys singing and teaching local songs in Doric whether it be in a school or concert hall.


Len Graham is a renowned traditional singer, storyteller, author, and song collector from County Antrim. His work includes seminal recordings of Ulster song, collaborations, notably with Joe Holmes and with John Campbell, and storytelling and singing performances around the world. He is a leading authority on the folk music of Ireland, has featured in over twenty CD albums, and lectured on Irish song tradition, most notably for the Library of Congress.


Photo by Stephanie Joy

Di Henderson living in Teesside, but originally from Tyneside, sings with passion and commitment. Her voice is rich and varied, as are her songs which are taken from traditional sources and the best of newer writers. They cover a range of subjects including pathos, humour, drinking, love, feminism, and not to mention the occasional bawdiness. She has sung at clubs and festivals throughout England and Scotland and has a much lauded CD.


Sandra Joyce is a traditional singer and bodhrán player, who has performed all over the world, most recently in Boston at Harvard University and at the Milwaukee IrishFest. She also performed in recent live-streamed and pre-recorded events notably the North Atlantic Fiddle Convention 2021. Her interests include Irish traditional song, harp music, and environmental issues. She has a senior post at the University of Limerick and was formerly Director of the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance.


Amy Lord was born in Dunblane where she first learned songs from her mum before being taught by notable singers Gordeanna McCulloch, Anne Neilson, and Alison McMorland at university. She has been a host of the House of Song at Celtic Connections, a nominee for Scots Singer of the Year, and is a former BBC Radio Scotland Young Trad finalist. She teaches Scots Song and Language and is a much sought-after tutor with singing groups and choirs all over Scotland.



Dougie Mackenzie from Inverness sang mostly Gaelic songs in his youth but was introduced to folk song at the famed Inverness Folk Club run by Duncan MacLennan, who mentored Dougie and gave him numerous songs. He is drawn to the Scots ballad tradition and the stories it carries to us from the past. Dougie is well-known from appearances at many Scottish and English festivals and has won many traditional singing competitions in the North East.


Allan Taylor is a singer from Aberdeenshire and was brought up listening to and singing the songs in his native tongue. He sings the ballads and bothy ballads of the North East and is a passionate promoter of its culture and traditions. He has taken part in many concerts and festivals as a singer/MC, including Celtic Connections, and released his first CD in February 2021. He is Chair of the Aberdeen Branch of the TMSA.













weekenders & guests







Workshop A1



Watts Knit and Crochet’, Susan Watts


Workshop A2



‘Macramé and Zentangle’, Jane & Natalie Chalmers


Workshop B



Womens Songs from Ireland and Scotland, Sandra & Shona


Workshop  C



World Meat Roll Final, Shirley Foulkes vs Roy Lingard


Workshop D1 



Sheep Dog Demonstration, Gary Bruce





Its of My Rambles: Len Grahams Journey in Ulster Song










Remembering the Bothy Ballad King, A Tribute to Tom Reid, with Scott Gardiner & Friends


Singaround A



Dougie Mackenzie


Singaround B



Mossy Christian


Singaround C

    Allan Taylor


Tea Break





Grand Concert



In the Marquee
All Guests – Hosted by Ian Russell and Scott Gardiner


10.00–11.30 Workshop A1     Watts Knit and Crochet, Susan Watts
  Workshop A2     ‘Macramé and Zentangle’, Jane & Natalie Chalmers
  Workshop B     ‘Songs of Work and Hardship’, Amy & Di
  Workshop D     ‘Sheep Shearing by Hand’, David McCracken
11.45–1.30 Lunchtime Singarounds      
  Singaround A     Shona & Dougie
  Singaround B     Sandra & Allan
  Informal Music     in the tea room
2.00–5.00 Farewell Concert     in the Marquee
        All Guests – hosted by Ian Russell and Scott Gardiner

A = Marquee    B = Bothy/Wash Hoose     C = Tea Room     D = Outside


Booking Form

General Information 

  • Food will be available over the weekend in the tea-room.
  • You can buy an all-day meal ticket at a discount. 
  • There will be no bar – BYOB
  • Camping and caravanning can be booked. There is a charge of £15.00 per pitch.
  • There are several B&Bs in the area – for a list contact: Tourist Information: 01224 269180 (Banchory Library 01330 700441)
  • Bursaries are available for singers under 25 yrs in full-time education

Cullerlie Farm Park, Echt, Skene, Aberdeenshire AB32 6XL (01330 860549)


This was one of Tom’s favourite songs. The original words,‘M-Hm’, are attributed to James Nicholson in John Greig’s Scots Minstrelsie (1893), VI, 302-04.

Hiv ye heard o the deil as he wauchled through life
With a wife in ilk oxter an een in his teeth
Till some-een bawled out will ye tak mine the morn
He waggit his tail an he cockit his horn
But he only said ‘im-hm’, that daft-like word ‘im-hm’
That auld-farrant ‘im-hm’, that stands for an ‘aye’.

Now fin I wis a callant lang syne at the skweel
Oh the maister aye caed me a dunce an a feel
For aa that he said I cuid ne’er unnerstan
Except when he cried, ‘Jimmy, will ye haud oot yer han?’
Then I gloomed an said ‘im-hm’, I glowered an said ‘im-hm’
I wis nae that prood bit ower dour tae say, ‘aye’.

Syne ae day a queer wird like aul-nibbet’s himsel
He vowed he wid thrash me if I widnae spell
Says I, ‘Mr Quill’ wi a kind of a swither
I’ll spell ye the wird if ye’ll spell me anither
Lat’s hear ye spell ‘im-hm’, that daft-like wird ‘im-hm’
That auld-farrant ‘im-hm’, ye ken it means ‘aye’

Syne he steid an he glowered an he scratched his aul pate
An he shouted, Ye villain get oot o ma gate
Get aff tae yer seat, ye’re a plague o the skweel
The deil gin I ken if ye’re maist rogue or feel
Bit I only said ‘im-hm’, that daft-like wird ‘im-hm’
That auld-farrant ‘im-hm’, ye ken it means ‘aye’.

Oh and when a braw wooer I coorted my Jean
O aa the braw lassies the pride an the queen
When in my great plaidie wi hairt beatin’s pain
O I speired in a whisper, Oh! if she’d be my ain
She smiled an said ‘im-hm’, she blushed an said ‘im-hm’
A thoosan times sweeter an dearer than ‘aye’.

Well bit noo I’m a dad wi a hoose o my ain
A dainty-bit wife aye an mair than ae wean
Bit the warst o’t is this when I question I speir
They pit on a luik sae auld-farrant an queer
An they only say ‘im-hm’, that daft-like wird ‘im-hm’
That auld-farrant ‘im-hm’ that stans for an ‘aye’.

Noo ye’ve heard o this ‘im-hm’, it’s no a nice wird
When printit on paper it’s perfect absurd
So if you’re ower lazy tae open yer maw
Jist haud o yer tongue an say nothing ava
But niver say ‘im-hm’, that daft-like wird ‘im-hm’
That auld-farrant ‘im-hm’, ye ken it means ‘aye’.

Festival Organisers

The festival is organised jointly by: Tracey Walker (Anne’s daughter) and Eric Walker, and Scott Gardiner on behalf of Cullerlie Farm Park, Echt, Skene, Aberdeenshire AB32 6XL Tel: 01330 860549, and Ian and Norma Russell on behalf of The Elphinstone Institute, University of Aberdeen, MacRobert Building, King’s College, Aberdeen AB24 5UA Tel: 01224 272996 Email:

A big Thank You’ to our Sponsors
Breedon Aggregates
Coupers (Fish Procesors) of Aberdeen
Joyce and Geordie Murison
The Friends of the Elphinstone Institute
And to other much appreciated donors