presents the DVD


"Face of the Bard"


“Tradition is not the worship of ashes
but the preservation of fire”

Gustav Mahler

The bardic tradition of the Islands and Highlands of Scotland is probably the oldest and richest, still living, folk literature of Europe. It is a song tradition - shaped by the sea, the mountains, and the fireside. The bards themselves have often been wanderers and travellers: they have carried ancient lore, stood up for the Gaelic language, the pride and millennial courtesy of their people.

Sorley MacLean was to write, ‘Chan eil a’ mhiorbhail
ach an gaol dhuinn, / soillse cruinne an lasadh t’ aodainn.’ - ‘to us there is no miracle but in love, / lighting of a universe in the kindling of your face.’ Here are the faces of bards; here is the song that binds a people, here is the breath of life and a message of Peace.

Praise for Face of the Bard


Seductive, beautiful and challenging. It somehow manages to be both eternal and fleeting.

Alan Rickman. Actor, director


Only the truly inspired can be so inspiring. In his gloriously imaginative Bardic Voyage, Andrew Ward captures the spirit of each bard. In his animated
production Face of the Bard he sets each one free!

Dr Margaret Bennett. Folklorist, bard


'This is a splendid video - many-layered, educational, artistically spell-binding and historically important. Three thousand years ago Homer imagined 'the face that launched a thousand ships':
Andrew Ward has now painted the faces of twelve twentieth century bards - imagine.
Look - Scotland is young again. Listen - hear at hundred miles - the sea!'

Tim Neat. Author, film director





Working in conjunction with Caledonian Macbraynes
Andrew J Ward started the “Bardic Voyage Project in 2005.
By June 2007 the 12 oil paintings depicting historic Highland bards were installed on three main Ferryboats, The Clansman, the Hebrides and the Isle of Lewis.

This was a project of the people for the people. Creating paintings that would resonate with the voices of the bards.

It was only with the generous assistance from Caledonian Macbrayne, who not only provided a studio for Andrew but also travel for research purposes, that made this project possible.
Together with the support of Caledonian Macbrayne and Bord Na Gaelic, a book Bardic Voyage”, depicting the 12 portraits, each with a short history was printed.

Taking the work a step further art-intervention with the collaboration of a host of great talent has created the video “Face of the Bard”









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Original Paintings: Andrew J Ward. Video Production: Andrew J Ward and John McGeoch

Words: Jon Miller. Vocals: Lesley Strachan.

Gaelic Voice: Donald Ferguson.

Gaelic translation: Ailean Boyd.

Sound Mix: Keith Whitham.

Extracts from “Precipitation within Sight”: Robert Dow


The bards in order of appearance:

PEGGY MACKENZIE 1907 – 1993, SORLEY MACLEAN 1911 – 1996, MARTYN BENNETT 1971 – 2005, MAIRI MHOR NAN ORAN 1821 – 1897, AILIDH DALL STEWART 1882 – 1968, HAMISH HENDERSON 1919 – 2002, DONALD MACASKILL 1872 – 1943, MURDO MACASKILL 1909 – 1983, DONALD JOHN MACDONALD 1916 – 1986, ANGUS MACFEE 1916 – 1997, MARY MACLEAN 1921 – 2004, GEORGE MACKAY BROWN 1921 – 1996.


İAWard 2015


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