Darrel Edwin Neil MacLeod is the son of RD and Clara MacLeod. His musical ability includes playing the fiddle, mandolin, banjo, tin whistle and the bodhrán and singing. His mother came home from Saskatchewan with a fiddle and a mandolin given to her by her father and Darrel’s grandfather. Darrel asked his mother, “Shouldn’t somebody be playing that violin?” This got Clara to find a violin teacher for him – Malcolm Dewar.
His mother discovered that Darrel had an ear for music; she always practised the tunes with him. She learned the tune which Darrel learned from her by ear; therefore, he really never mastered the notes. When Darrel was nine years old, he learned “Leaving Lismore”; Rae MacCulloch found out about this. From then on, when the MacCullochs performed near home, Rae had him playing on stage. This connection continued until her death in 2009. Darrel played for the MacCullochs at the NAC.
The MacLeod farm home became a very musical home, what with fiddlers coming in and Clara chording for them all. Wilf Gillis was a regular guest and taught Darrel a lot. Soon after, Brian MacDonald came with his guitar and wonderful voice and a new group, the Cobblers, was soon formed; they played at the National Arts Centre. About that time when Darrel was 14, the Clansmen were making a record and Darrel was asked to be on it. Darrel competed in a fiddling contest at the Bonnie Glen and won it, but he really didn’t like contests so shied away from them.
Darrel continued to play for the MacCulloch dancers and travelled to many countries with them. Darrel was on the violin, Denis Carr sang and played the bodhrán . Later they were joined by Dave McCormick, his brother-in-law, Jim McRae and Martin Gaudet. Darrel has played in Mexico, the USA, Bulgaria, Hungary, Holland, Russia and Belgium, to name a few places. The crowds were always large. He also continued with groups: the Seanachies, Celtica, Six Mile Cross, McCormick & MacLeod. Darrel also played in a Bluegrass Band with Iain MacLeod; he played mandolin or banjo and enjoyed it very much.
Darrel also plays whenever asked; he performs at concerts and church. He has played with his son, daughter and nephew.
Darrel is a quiet, well respected man; he is married to Judy McRae and they have two children, a son Rory and a daughter, Anna. He drives a transport and usually brings his violin along for company. He resides in Laggan on the farm in the old family home which still resounds with music.