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Jessie MacLachlan

The Story of
Jessie Niven MacLachlan
1866 – 1916

Jessie Niven MacLachlan
was a very famous  singer.

She sang in big, beautiful halls all around the world.

Thousands of people came to listen to her.

She sang Scottish songs so beautifully that people called her ‘The Queen of Scottish Song‘.

Whenever Jessie MacLachlan sang, she always included Gaelic songs in her show.

She was very proud of the Gaelic language she learned when she was a little girl in Oban.

Gaels called her ‘Smeòrach nan Gàidheal’ – which means ‘Songbird (thrush) of the Gaels’.

Seònaid NicLachlainn

A young girl growing up in Oban

Jessie was only eight years old when she started singing in the church choir.

Jessie’s family had Gaelic and enjoyed singing, so she started singiong Gaelic songs when she was at an early age.

Her voice was so beautiful that people in the town advised her parents that she should receive professional training.

Vintage picture of Oban
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Jessie went to Glasgow  – the first step on the road to becoming a big star!

She was about seventeen at the time – I wonder how she felt leaving Oban for the big city?


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Jessie MacLachlann
Concert in your own home

In 1899, Jessie MacLachlan’s singing was recorded in Glasgow using newly emerged technology: the Gramophone.

Seònaid sang two Gaelic songs, ‘Ho ro mo nighean donn bhòidheach’ and ‘Mo Dhachaidh’ – the first Gaelic songs ever to be recorded on a gramophone.

These old records allow us today to hear the beautiful voice of Seònaid MacLachlan.

Queen Victoria Gaelic
Jessie MacLachlann Balmoral

Singing in front of the Queen

In 1892, Jessie MacLachlan received an invitation to Balmoral Castle to sing in front of Queen Victoria.

What an honor, and what a commotion it must have been getting ready for it!



watercolour music