Sunday, August 14, 2011

music and stories from Scotland: In Our Day

Songs arise from day to day living, from the stories we tell ourselves and each other as we make our way through the day, the seasons, the year.

They might be, at times, wildly abstract, and at other times down to earth and quite concrete. Music, certainly the sort of music we talk about here along the music road, continues the conversations of daily life and, if it is doing its job well, turns a new light on the events, emotions, connections, and memories of the day.

That is something Margaret Bennett and Doris Rougvie know well, and it is an aspect of music and of history that comes through clearly in their book'In Our Day...': Reminiscences and Songs from Rural Perthshire. Bennett is a folklorist and musician; Rougvie is a musician and artist. Both traveled their home ground of rural Perthshire in central Scotland, gathering memories and stories from farmers, shepherds, crofters, trades people, professionals, gardeners, housewives -- all sorts of people, really. The memories they gathered are for the most part those which are beginning to be at the edge of forgotten time: day to day stories of how people lived their lives and made their days in the 1920s, and thirties, and forties, and what they remember now, what stories they’ve told their own children.

in our day perthshire scotland musicIt is clear that Bennett and Rougvie went at the task of seeking out and speaking with these folk with great care and concern, and respect for their stories. They have chosen excerpts of the transcripts of the stories to make up this book, and what is more, the two of them, along with several friends and some students from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, have recorded fifteen songs that come in for mention in the book, and a CD of these is included with it. It is not a song for every story, story for every song sort of thing, but rather a fine interweaving of song and story. There are fifteen tracks on the CD altogether, including the Loch Tay Boat Song, Queen Among the Heather, and The Lass of Glenshee. The book’s text is also enhanced by the occasional engaging illustration drawn by Rougvie.

You do not need to be acquainted with rural Perthshire to appreciate what Bennett and Rougvie offer here. It is a fine tribute to the interconnection of music, memory and day to day life, whatever the location.

You may follow the link to Amazon, above, or alternatively write to gonzalo at gracenotereading dot co dot uk for further information about where to purchase In Our Day

you may also wish to see
Music Road: season of change: music for autumn
Music Road: Music for St Andrew's Day: music of Scotland
Music Road: Julie Fowlis: Live at Perthsire Amber

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posted by Kerry Dexter at


Anonymous Vera Marie Badertscher said...

What a great idea this is. I love combining the stories with the music and having it put together as a package. Just the kind of thing that A Traveler's Library should have on the shelf, particularly for travels to Scotland. Thanks for introducing us to this!

10:58 PM  
Anonymous NoPotCooking said...

I love the concept so much and I fell in love with Perthshire, so I think I might have to buy this!

8:55 AM  
Blogger Ruth said...

I love the idea of past ways of life and forgotten routines living on in the music we hear. Thanks for this lovely, thought-provoking post.

9:51 AM  
Anonymous Alexandra said...

Thanks for writing about this book. It sounds like a perfect present for a friend of mine.

9:03 PM  
Anonymous Jane Boursaw said...

I always think of movies in terms of storytelling (no shock there, right?), but music tells great stories, too. Excellent idea to package the stories and music together.

9:43 PM  
Anonymous Donna Hull said...

I'm one of those who really listens to the words of a song. They mean more to me than the melody.

"Music and stories from Scotland: In Our Day" would be great preparation for a visit to Scotland.

12:32 PM  
Anonymous merr said...

An interconnection of memory and day-to-day life coupled with music sounds wonderfully relatable; poignant.

2:04 AM  
Blogger MyKidsEatSquid said...

What a great way to experience the country and the culture. I'm going to have to look for this. My husband's roots are Scottish.

6:18 PM  

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