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Lament For Colin Roy MacKenzie

 

This tune was composed to honor Colin Roy MacKenzie, the XIIIth Chieftain, who became the first Earl of Seaforth and Viscount Fortrose in 1623. He had succeeded his father Kenneth as Lord Kintail in 1611 when he was 14 years of age.

 

The aggressive expansion of the MacKenzie family was in full flower at the time his father died. Colin Roy's Tutor was his uncle, Sir Roderick MacKenzie of Coigeach. Sir Roderick completed most of the remaining expansion of Clan power and control that had been launched by the VIth Chieftain, Alasdair Ionraich. Colin Roy was more of a builder – the castles of Brahan and of Chanonry were his legacy. Also, he brought stability to the lands within his control and, as a consequence, his tenants prospered.

 

Colin Roy was much admired by the King and was a favorite at Court. At one time the King referred to Colin Roy as the best archer in Britain.

 

He died at the age of 36. Because of the earlier death of his only son, the clan leadership fell to a relative who was weak and vacillating, a man who set the fortunes of the clan into decline.

 

The composer of the tune is unknown. Apparently, only fragments of the original composition survived into the 19th century. In 1840, Angus MacKay, Raasay, reconstructed the tune into the form in which it is played today.

 

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