Kennedy was born in the Isle of Lewis, and won a gold medal at the Mod (Scotland), singing in Scottish Gaelic. His first major success outside Scotland was his winning the World Ballad Championship in Moscow in 1957.
He had his own television programme, and was voted "Grampian TV Personality of the Year". He was married to another Mod gold medallist, Anne Gillies, who died in 1974. He wore tartan on his LP covers.
Certainly his finest recording was Islands of Scotland recorded for the Decca Ace of Clubs label in the early 1960s. This contains a version of "Land o' Heart's Desire" among other fine songs in English.
The BBC produced a programme in the early 1980s called Calum Kennedy's Commando Course, which documented (in hilarious fashion, although this was originally unintentional) a disastrous tour around the Scottish Highlands in an old bus. As more and more of his cast left the tour, a red marker pen was shown erasing them from a promotional poster. Kennedy was not happy about this programme being shown, as he felt it ridiculed him, but it has since gone down as a piece of classic television. He died, aged 77, in Aberdeen.
Kennedy's daughter Fiona is also a singer and was for a time co-host of the long running BBC children's series Record Breakers with Roy Castle, and his granddaughter is the model and actress Sophie Kennedy Clark.
- obituary by Brian Wilson
- Beltona Record Company (A Scottish website featuring Calum's recordings)
- - Biography, Photos and Obituary at About Aberdeen
- - Calum Kennedy CDs
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