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thoughts on singing

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  • Rowen G
    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,
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 1, 2000
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      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
      it
      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?

      Rowen Brithwallt
      (preparing to duck and cover)
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