English Gàidhlig

About Am Bàrd Bochd

Tormod MacLeod, or Tormod Chontair, was born in Portvoller, Point on the Isle of Lewis on the 15th of June 1904. He was know as Am Bàrd Bochd, and was a bard and a writer, a teacher, a collector of songs and a Gaelic tradition-bearer. He taught in many schools in many districts of Lewis: Lochs, Uig, Ness and in Point itself. He was known as ‘Am Bodach’ (the old man) by his pupils in Lionel School, where he was deputy-head and head of the Gaelic department, and it’s apparent that his pupils were very fond of him. He was well-liked by all: a very able man, yet so humble in his nature.

He married Mòr in 1932 and they had four chidlren: Dolina, Murdo John, Tormod and Seòras. Tormod passed away on the 14th of September 1968, before he had a chance to retire, but he was always loyal and hard-working when it came to the Gaelic language. Much of his work can be found in Gairm, the Gaelic magazine, under his moniker ‘Am Bàrd Bochd’.

In August 2018, when Cluas ri Claisneachd was launched, we were very fortunate that Am Bàrd Bochd’s collection was bequeathed to the University of Glasgow, his own alma mater. We are very grateful to Tormod’s family, and special thanks to George and Dolina for allowing us to share Tormod’s legacy with the world through the recordings he made.

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