Dougie MacLean

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Dougie MacLean
MacLean in 2011
MacLean in 2011
Background information
Born (1954-09-27) 27 September 1954 (age 68)
Dunblane, Perthshire, Scotland
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter, composer, musician
Instrument(s)Guitar, Violin, Mandola, Viola, Irish bouzouki, Harmonica, Banjo, Bass

Dougie MacLean, OBE (born 27 September 1954)[1] is a Scottish singer-songwriter, composer, multi-instrumentalist and record producer. Described by AllMusic as "one of Scotland's premier singer-songwriters", MacLean has performed both under his own name, and as part of multiple folk bands, since the mid 1970s. His most famous pieces include "Caledonia", which is often dubbed Scotland's "unofficial national anthem"; and "The Gael", which became the main theme to the 1992 film The Last of the Mohicans.

MacLean's songs have been covered by numerous popular artists. Aside from his career as a touring singer-songwriter, MacLean founded the Dunkeld Records label and recording studio with his wife Jennifer in 1983.

Origins and early work[edit]

MacLean grew up in the Perthshire countryside, where his father was a gardener. His mother played melodeon, and his father played the fiddle.[2] To support himself in the 1970s, MacLean was a driver for Doc Watson and Merle Watson during their tour around Europe.[3] He maintained a friendship afterward and has appeared at Merlefest.[4]

In 1976, MacLean began touring with Scottish folk band The Tannahill Weavers, with whom he also participated in a studio recording. In the late 1970s, he spent six months touring with Scottish band Silly Wizard.[5] "Caledonia", from MacLean's first album with Alan Roberts (1978), is often dubbed Scotland's "unofficial national anthem".[6][7][8]

Solo career[edit]

MacLean is described by AllMusic as "one of Scotland's premier singer-songwriters".[9] His solo career started in 1981 and since then he has recorded numerous albums. He plays multiple instruments, including guitar, violin, mandola, viola, bouzouki, banjo and bass as well as being a singer and composer.[10]

MacLean composed "The Gael" (1990), which became the main theme to the 1992 film The Last of the Mohicans. He also served as music director for TAG Theatre Company's 1993 production of A Scots Quair,[9] releasing his contributions on the Sunset Song LP (1994). MacLean's songs have been recorded by many artists including Dolores Keane,[11] Rich Mullins, Ronan Keating, Paolo Nutini, Amy Macdonald, Kathy Mattea, Frankie Miller, Cara Dillon, and Mary Black,[12] who covered "Turning Away" (1991) for the soundtrack of the 2001 film Angel Eyes.

MacLean was the subject of the 1993 BBC documentary film The Land: The Songs of Dougie MacLean.[9] He has organised and performed in the Perthshire Amber festival, Birnam & Dunkeld, alongside multiple performances at Celtic Connections, Glasgow.

MacLean founded the Dunkeld Records label and recording studio with his wife Jennifer in 1983.[9]

Other pursuits[edit]

MacLean owned the Taybank Hotel in Dunkeld around 2015.[13][14]


In 2011, MacLean was invested as an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE).[15]

In 2013, MacLean was awarded the BBC Radio 2 Folk Award for Lifetime Achievement for Contribution to Songwriting. The award was presented by First Minister Alex Salmond at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.[16][17][18][19]



  • Are Ye Sleeping Maggie (1976) (with The Tannahill Weavers)
  • Caledonia (1978) (as Alan Roberts & Dougie MacLean)
  • CRM (1979) (as Alex Campbell, Alan Roberts & Dougie MacLean)
  • Snaigow (1980)
  • On A Wing and a Prayer (1981)
  • Craigie Dhu (1983)
  • Butterstone (1983)
  • Fiddle (instrumental) (1984)
  • Singing Land (1985)
  • Real Estate (1988)
  • Whitewash (1990)
  • The Search (instrumental) (1990)
  • Indigenous (1991)
  • Sunset Song (instrumental) (1993)
  • Marching Mystery (1994)
  • The Plant Life Years (1995)
  • Tribute (to Robert Burns, Niel Gow and Robert Tannahill) (1995)
  • Riof (1997)
  • Perthshire Amber (2000)
  • Who Am I (2001)
  • Early (2003)
  • With Strings (2003)
  • Inside The Thunder (2005)
  • Muir of Gormack (EP) (2007)
  • Resolution (2010)
  • Till Tomorrow (2014) (with Royal Scottish National Orchestra)
  • Caledonia Cantata (2015)
  • New Tomorrow (2017)
  • A Robert Burns Selection (2018)
  • Flo (2022)


  • Live From The Ends Of The Earth (2000)


  • The Land (1996)
  • Live At Perthshire Amber (2006)
  • Songmaker (2010)


  • The Dougie Maclean Collection (1995)
  • The Plant Life Years (1995)
  • The Essential Dougie MacLean (2007)
  • Essential Too (2013)


  • On The Blooming Queensland Side (1995) (with Robbie Brock)


  1. ^ "Albums by Dougie MacLean". Rate Your Music. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
  2. ^ ""Dougie MacLean: Full Biography". Retrieved 2 September 2018.
  3. ^ "From Doc Watson to lifetime folk award, Dougie MacLean sings on". Reuters. 30 January 2013. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  4. ^ "2013 Merlefest Artist list". Archived from the original on 23 October 2012.
  5. ^ ""Dougie MacLean: Full Biography". Retrieved 2 September 2018.
  6. ^ "Dougie MacLean performs 'This Love Will Carry'". BBC Music. Retrieved 28 March 2021. MacLean... is perhaps best known for his track, 'Caledonia' that is often referred to as Scotland's unofficial national anthem.
  7. ^ Castle, Jill (3 November 2016). "10 things to do in Scotland this weekend". The Herald. Retrieved 28 March 2021. Dougie MacLean, the man who wrote Scotland's unofficial national anthem, Caledonia.
  8. ^ "Review: Dougie MacLean at Bruce Festival". The Courier. 20 August 2010. Retrieved 28 March 2021. Who better then to open a festival steeped in Scottish history than MacLean... unofficial national anthem Caledonia came early in the set.
  9. ^ a b c d Harris, Craig. "Dougie MacLean: Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 8 April 2012.
  10. ^ Emblen, Frank (23 February 1986). New Jersey Guide. "The New York Times". Accessed on 14 August 2007.
  11. ^ Murphy, Sean (15 May 2020). "Scots anthem Caledonia adopted by US soldiers in emotional pandemic performance". Daily Record. Retrieved 28 March 2021.
  12. ^ Ritchie, Gayle (14 February 2018). "Musical treasure Dougie MacLean heads to Fife". The Courier. Retrieved 28 March 2021.
  13. ^ Fodor's Scotland, Fodor's Travel Guides (2016) ISBN 9781101880289
  14. ^ "Dougie MacLean prepares to bring Perthshire Amber festival back to Perthshire"The Courier, 19 October, 2019
  15. ^ "'Caledonia' folk writer receives OBE". BBC. 31 December 2010. Retrieved 4 February 2011.
  16. ^ "BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards recognises Scots legends". Scotsman. 31 January 2013. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  17. ^ "Dougie Maclean celebrates Folk Award with star-studded Caledonia rendition". Daily Record and Sunday Mail. 1 February 2013. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  18. ^ "BBC2 Folk Awards 2013 Winners". Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  19. ^ "BBC2 Folk Awards 2013 Winners". Retrieved 5 February 2013.

External links[edit]