MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada

Hector Campbell

Known locally as "Eachann Nill Thearlaich" (Hector son of Neil son of Charles), Hector Campbell was born in Boisdale, Cape Breton in 1888. His father's family emigrated from the islands of Eigg and Muck in the 1820s, while his mother's family, O'Handleys, like many others in the Boisdale region, came from the island of South Uist. The family moved to Hillsdale, Inverness County, when Hector was still a young child.

The Campbell household in Hillsdale was always full of music, song and story. As a youth, Hector received training in fiddling, as well as piping, from esteemed local musicians and his father, who was himself a piper. In later years, his own household in Hillsdale came to be known as a "ceilidh" or gathering house and Hector became well-known as a local storyteller. In addition to his work with MacEdward Leach, Hector had been recorded in 1946 by the Head of Celtic Studies at Harvard, Kenneth H. Jackson, and again by Dr. John Shaw in the 1960s. Shaw's recordings, along with those from the MacEdward Leach collection provided by Kenneth Goldstein, were eventually transcribed and published in the book, Luirgean Eachann Nill: Folktales from Cape Breton.