thoughts on singing
- Tossing out a topic for discussion....
I am preparing for the folk music competitions at the Longs Peak
Highland Games next weekend. This is not an SCA event, but has a
large Society presence. The two songs I will be singing this year
are both usually considered "traditional." One is a reaping song
from Islay (Buain a' Coirce), the other a blessing song collected in
Barra (Craobh nan Ubhall, which may actually have been written by
Mairi Nighean Alasdair Ruaidh.)
Naturally enough, the Games competitions have different regulations
and parameters than would a Society A&S competition. This led me to
musing on performance practices.
Since SCA-period documentation of traditional Gaelic vocal music can
be difficult (minor understatement :) I don't tend to enter much of
in strict competition. I do, however, perform at feasts, bardic
circles, and the like. Some of the songs I know are about period
events, or contain internal evidence that would indicate an
SCA-period origin, or are fairly universal in theme (blessings,
battles, reaping, rowing, etc.) There are some pieces which I feel
are quite likely to be pre-1600 (or just post.) In most cases,
however, hard evidence is lacking.
I would be delighted to sing (harp, etc.) documentably period music
from the Western Isles if I could locate it. I do have other things
in my repertoire which are thoroughly documentable: virelai, hymns,
pilgrim songs, etc. But... they are not Gaelic, and at this time it
is Gaelic music that I prefer to work with.
I confess I'm not really asking for advice here - I've come to my own
conclusions about what sorts of things I will (or won't) perform for
different kinds of occasions. <g> It's a compromise situation.
What I am wondering, though, is how other folk, particularly
performers, handle this dilemma, or to what degree they consider it
to be one?
(preparing to duck and cover)