Thursday, November 08, 2007

Duncan Williamson 1928-2007

I've just learned that one of the world's greatest storytellers has died. Duncan had a stroke a few days ago and had been paralyzed and unable to speak. And i've just received word that he passed away last night. Condolences to all, friends and family alike. Duncan will be missed. Though his stories will live on. In 1998 he visited Toronto along with David Campbell and they performed at the annual Toronto Festival of Storytelling. I was lucky to have been his chauffeur while here and got to spend many hours chatting and listening while we drive around Toronto and the region. My friend Nicole Bauberger and i did an interview with him as well as recorded numerous stories and songs which Duncan was pleased to share with us. I'll see if i can find that interview and add it to this blog. Here's Duncan profile page on the Scottish Storytelling Centre's website. My heart is saddened this day.

Here's a piece written in the Scottish daily Newspaper The Herald:


Unknown said...

We are still deeply saddened here. Myself (Paraig MacNeil), Lindsay porteous and my wife Alison paid a visit to him yesterday in Kirkcaldy but he was very much unconsious but looked peaceful.

He will be sorely missed here. It was Duncan who brought Alison and myself together at a storytelling ceilidh in his house in the winter of 1989. He match-made us both and adopted us as children.

What a man he was with a heart which was as enourmous and more than his unparallelled repertoire.

His stories, songs, riddles, proverbs and rhymes will go on for as long as the waves lap upon the shore line o' Loch Fyne.

One of the last of the real old tradition bearers has gone

Goodby faither, Paraig & Ally.

Chris cavanagh said...

so kind of you, Pariag & Ally, to add this comment. Thank-you.

I remember so vividly the week i was privileged to spend with Duncan not quite ten years ago. And he has forever changed my relationship with stories. How lucky for those of us to have been touched by him and by the millenia of tradition of telling that he represented and that we must now carry on. I'll never forget his spirit of whimsy, rowdiness, delight (and even a touch of bawdiness). And those stories... oh, those stories. To think of them gladdens my heart even as i am touched by sadness.

Lilian'nAlba said...

Dear Friends and Family of Duncan, my sympathies are with you. I met him years ago at a party in David Campbell's house, where he was having a ball. Please give David a hug from me. I know he will be deeply saddened by the loss of his great friend and companion whose stories inspired so many tellers to engage in the art of Story and Song. I am currently with Fifeshed Theatre Company at the Adam Smith in Kirkcaldy.Love to all Lilian Kennedy Brzoska(Modern Troubadour)

Anonymous said...

I greatly regret not travelling back across to Scotland a while back to hear Duncan Williamson at the Storytelling Festival. In the tales he told, the harsh cruelties that can be apparent in the world, both our own and that of Fairy Tale, were tempered by an underlying tenderness and grace. Deepest sympathies to his friends and family.