The Traditional Singing Weekend at Cullerlie

27–29 July 2018

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

The Guests          Programme          Booking          Ih-Hm          Organisers and Sponsors

Download the festival programme

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 ceilidhs 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.

At the Park there is a tearoom where members of staff serve soup, sandwiches, and lots of home cooking. They cater for all needs with a baby changing area plus disabled facilities. The 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 the B9119 to Garlogie, then fork left again on the B9125 for 3 miles. The Park is on the right.

The Guests

Natalie Chalmers is a traditional singer, born and brought up in Fraserburgh, who regularly performs and competes in concerts and festivals around Scotland. She studied at the National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music at Plockton, before attending University in Aberdeen. Having been steeped in the strong heritage of North-East ballads and bothy ballads, Natalie is now enjoying the equally strong, traditional music scene whilst living in Glasgow and is a director of the Traditional Music and Song Association.

Luke Cheevers was born and reared in the great metropolis of Dublin where he still resides. From an early age he had an interest in ballads. Influenced by Dublin singers, Frank Harte and Liam Weldon, he has travelled the length and breadth of Ireland listening to great singers. He has been a guest at festivals in Girvan, Whitby, Sidmouth, London, and in Ireland, and looks forward to joining us in Cullerlie.

Lucy Donaghey grew up at the foot of the Sperrins in County Derry. She now lives in Inishowen. Her love for traditional singing stems from her father and grandfather. She is a member of both the Inishowen and Derry Traditional Singing Circles. More recently she has co-founded the South Derry singing circle with her father to promote and preserve the tradition around her home place. She lists among her influences her fellow singers in Derry and Inishowen, and singers such as Bess Cronin, Sarah, Rita and Dolores Keane and Rita Gallagher.

Scott Gardiner from Forfar, now biding in Edinburgh, has never missed a Cullerlie Singing Weekend since being a guest in its first year. Usually to be seen ferrying performers, moving chairs or duck-taping his way round the marquee, he is also a great exponent of the songs of East and North-East Scotland, and helps run the Kirriemuir Festival in Angus.

Jimmy Hutchison lives in Fife where he works as a joiner and handloom weaver. He sings mainly traditional Scottish songs and ballads learned directly from source singers such as Jeannie Robertson, Belle Stewart, Jimmy McBeath and Davy Stewart, to name but a few. He also has a good few Irish songs collected during visits in the 1960s. He is often described as ‘a singer’s singer’ demonstrating a craftsmanship and intensity that make the senses tingle.

Viv Legg of Bodmin in Cornwall is from a Romany background and learned her songs from her mother, Sophie, and other members of the Orchard family. During the last few years of her life, Sophie greatly encouraged Viv to continue the family song tradition, and as a result during the past fifteen years, Viv has appeared at a number of festivals and clubs, and has launched two CDs, the latest, Jauling the Green Tober, with Thomas McCarthy.

Saro Lynch-Thomason is a ballad singer and folklorist from Asheville, North Carolina. For the last decade she has studied and taught Appalachian ballads, sacred songs, and labour songs. She has a passion for exploring American Southern and Appalachian social history through the songs written by women and men in coal camps, textile mills, meetings houses, and homesteads. Often combining music, narratives and multimedia into her performances and workshops, Saro loves to bring people’s history to life.

Ellen Mitchell has a lifelong connection with singing from family, school, youth hostels, and through attending clubs and festivals to hear singers such as Lizzie Higgins, Davy Stewart, Jimmy McBeath and Belle, Sheila and Cathy Stewart. She has won TMSA cups at Keith and Auchtermuchty and has been a guest at clubs and festivals at home and abroad. It has been time well spent hearing great songs and music and meeting wonderful people who have helped add to her repertoire.

Jess Smith is a Scottish Traveller who has published six books about her culture. Campfire ceilidhs at berrytime hold her favourite memories where her love o' the auld sangs inspired her to keep them alive. She is a member of TMSA and in the past has won the women's singing in Kirriemuir, and was second in Keith. She is also a member of the Scottish Storytelling Centre and has travelled the world sharing her passion for the Travelling culture.

Ken Wilson has been singing at clubs and festivals for some forty years as a member of the Wilson Family, but he is also admired as a solo performer, singing unaccompanied traditional and contemporary songs. With his brothers, he has performed at the Royal Albert Hall Proms, and alongside Sting in New York. Ken released a solo album Not Before Time in 2008, and more recently Here's a Health to the Company! with his good friend and fellow singer Jim MacFarland. Last October the family were awarded the EFDSS Gold Badge Award for their work within folk music.











‘Come-All-Ye’ – weekenders & guests







Workshop A





Workshop B



‘My Culture – Traveller Traditions’, Viv Legg & Jess Smith


Workshop C1



Sheepdog Demonstration’


Workshop C2



‘Granite Dressing’, Dave Bullock


Workshop C3



'Farmhouse Cooking', Shirley Foulkes


      The Cullerlie Hour – Marquee



with Saro Lynch-Thomason 'Appalachian Women's Songs of Love and Labour'

This presentation will explore over 200 years of Appalachian women's experiences, from farmsteads to the church house and the picket line. Drawing on Appalachian ballads, Protestant and Shaker hymnody, work songs, and labour anthems, Saro will explore the music women have used in America's mountain south to express their sorrows, joys and ambitions. Along the way, Saro will highlight the lives of women singers in Appalachian religious movements, Civil Rights movements, textile strikes, and coal mine wars. Some recordings will be used, but come expecting to sing your way through this presentation!







Singaround A



Elln Mitchell


Singaround B



Lucy Donaghey


Singaround C



Ken Wilson


Long Tea Break





Grand Concert



In the Marquee
All Guests – hosted by Jim Taylor and Ian Russell







Workshop A





Workshop B



Songs of the Wilson Family’, Ken Wilson


Workshop C1



Sheepdog Demonstration


Workshop C2



‘Granite Dressing’, Dave Bullock


Lunchtime Singarounds







Natalie Chalmers and Scott Gardiner





Luke Cheevers and Saro Lynch-Thomason





Informal music


Farewell Concert



In the Marquee. All Guests – hosted by Jim Taylor and Ian Russell





= Marquee





= Bothy/Wash Hoose





= Tea Room or Outside


General Information about the Weekend

  • Food will be available over the weekend in the tea room
  • You can buy an all-weekend meal ticket at a discount
  • There will be no bar - BYOB
  • Camping and caravanning can be booked. There is a charge of £10.00 per pitch
  • There are several B&Bs in the area - for a list, contact Tourist Information at Banchory: 01330 822000 or Aberdeen: 01224 269180
  • Bursaries are available for singers under 25 yrs in full-time education

Download the booking form

Bookings to:

The Traditional Singing Weekend, Cullerlie Farm Park, Echt, Skene, Aberdeenshire AB32 6XL

Booking Enquiries - Tel: 01224 645486

Please Note: Because of the limited number of places available, priority will be given to those who are coming for the whole weekend. Please book early to avoid disappointment. Bookings close 25 July 2018.


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

Tracey Walker (Anne’s daughter) and Eric Walker, Jim Taylor (Tom’s nephew), and Scott Gardiner on behalf of Cullerlie Farm Park and Ian and Norma Russell on behalf of The Elphinstone Institute

Thank you to our Sponsors

Breedon Aggregates
Coupers (Fish Processors) of Aberdeen
Davidson & Murison Ltd
The Elgin Rotary Club
The Friends of the Elphinstone Institute
Grampian Marquee Hire