MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
Hector Carmichael c. 1975. Photo  by Ronald Caplan.

Hector Carmichael c. 1975. Photo by Ronald Caplan. Used by permission.

Hector Carmichael

Hector (born 1888) was a well-known Gaelic poet and local historian from Munroe's Point on the North Shore of Cape Breton. His songs, many of which were humorous, were sung mostly at parties and milling frolics. Hector said of his song composition,

"The songs I make is making fun of people you know. Just to make people laugh. I don't write it down, no, I make it. I can't write Gaelic, you know. I remember them when I compose them". (Down North: The Book of Cape Breton's Magazine).

Hector's songs mainly report on community events and feature local characters. One of his best known is "An t-Each Ruadh aig Roland Steel" or "Roland Steel's Red Horse", which is about an old horse in the community that was not well treated, but was better respected (for his hardworking nature) than his owner. The song was recorded recently by the Rankin Family.