Biography:Duncan McKercher

Find traditional instrumental music

Duncan McKercher

 Given name:     Duncan
 Middle name:     
 Family name:     McKercher
 Place of birth:     Kenmore, Perthshire
 Place of death:     Inver, Perthshire
 Year of birth:     1796
 Year of death:     1873
 Profile:     Collector, Composer, Editor, Musician
 Source of information:

Biographical notes

Duncan McKercher [1] was the so-called "Dunkeld Paganini" (sometimes 'Athole' or 'Perthshire Paganini'), whose family history has it that he once danced on a table to the playing of Niel Gow. Gow died in 1807, so McKercher must have been quite young to have done so. McKercher was born at Kenmore and lived in Inver by Birnam, Perthshire, Scotland, and lived in Niel Gow’s cottage in that village from about 1865 until his death. He played at balls, taught the fiddle and published three volumes of dance music, including A Collection of Original Strathspeys and Reel (Edinburgh, 1824), a volume dedicated to Lady Menzies of Castle Menzies. McKercher taught fiddle to James Stewart Robertson (1823-1896), first president of the Edinburgh Highland Reel and Strathspey Society and author of The Athole Collection, in which a number of McKercher's tunes were preserved.

McKercher's collections are full of tunes dedicated to members of a number of interrelated north Perthshire landed Highland families, including the Irvines, Robertsons, Menzies and branches of the Stewarts.