Saturday, September 15, 2012

Hearing Scotland's Past: Tobar an Dualchais Kist o Riches

There is nothing that quite compares to being present for a live performance of music, or a session, or holding in your hands books and music and instruments from the past that others' hands have held.

Stories from the past and modern technology: sometimes these things intersect, though, and sometimes the intersections are good. One of the places where such meetings are very good is Tobar an Dualchais Kist of Riches. The riches in this case are stories, songs, and tales from Scotland’s history, tales of traditions, poetry, folklore, stories of how places got their names, songs that might be at the edge of memory, songs with different stories passed down....
 scotland western higlands copyright kerry dexter

All this is to be explored through the work of those who are organizing and cataloguing recordings from the School of Scottish Studies at the University of Edinburgh, the National Trust for Scotland’s Canna Collection, and other sources. The project itself is headquartered in Skye. You can listen to the fruits of their research and labor without traveling to Skye, however, or even to Scotland. Much of the work of Tobar an Dualchais is available to be heard online. There's material in English, Scots, and Scottish Gaelic, from all parts of the country.

But, you say, I’d not even know what to look for or where to begin? No worries, they have a good search program and the material is well catalogued, Even better, there’s a tab on the home page that is called Lucky Dip. It’s just what it sounds like: you'll have no idea what you’re getting as you press this, but in my experience I’d say it’s bound to be interesting. Up will come a short description of song or story, information about who recorded it, where and when, and a button to push to play the selection if you’d like. Voices from the past, indeed.


photograph made in the Western Highlands of Scotland by Kerry Dexter. it is copyrighted. thank you for respecting that

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music, history, and Heisgeir
Music for St Andrew's Day: music of Scotland

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