For over thirty years Alan Bruford devoted himself to his work as archivist, collector, lecturer and editor. The range of his scholarship brought him an international reputation. His articles, publications, and radio and TV appearances created a wider interest and awareness of folklore and folklife studies. Alan was also a performer himself - a singer, storyteller and musician. What mattered to him was the source material and he always retained an enthusiasm for passing this on to students, colleagues, scholars and researchers. His ability to inspire interest in oral tradition is best illustrated by his editing of the first fifty issues of Tocher, published by the School of Scottish Studies. Reproducing archive materials, tales, songs, instrumental music, customs and beliefs, place-names and traditional practices of all kinds, transcribed, translated where appropriate, and annotated, Tocher has brought the unique holdings of the School into homes, libraries and classrooms throughout Scotland and around the world. Tocher 52 is devoted to a full appreciation of Alan's life and work.
"I was a Cambridge undergraduate, as much taken up with archaeology, mediaeval history and Baroque music as with my Scottish roots. My father (Professor Walter Bruford) had had a hand in setting up the School of Scottish Studies as Dean of the Faculty of Arts before leaving Edinburgh in 1951 and I was interested to see how the place had turned out. I had no right to expect Calum MacLean, hearing that I was interested in Scots fiddle music, to take me off to the studio and play me some of the recordings he and Frank Collinson had recently made of the great Hector MacAndrew, but he did and I was bowled over by music so different from the dance band playing I had heard before. Then we went up to his room on the top floor and he talked about his work. He made it sound so worthwhile and so enjoyable that, after a visit of probably less than two hours, I left the building convinced that if ever I could get the chance of it, I could do no better than devote my life to the work of the School." Alan Bruford in 'The Carrying Stream' (the newsletter of the School of Scottish Studies), Issue 4 1996.