Monday, May 21, 2012

history into song: capercaillie: glenfinnan

Putting history into song is a long tradition. It makes sense that they should intertwine: both hold the capability for vivid storytelling, and of connecting people across time, space, and country.

The Scotland based band Capercaillie is known for connecting the music of Scotland with that of other countries and continents. For the film Glenfinnan, though, they focused on the stories surrounding a major event in the history of Scotland: the raising of the standard by Highlanders who would follow Charles Edward Stuart -- Bonnie Prince Charlie -- into battle in attempt to restore the house of Stuart to the monarchy. The first raising of the standard took place at Glenfinnan, in 1745. The program, from which this video was taken, was shot there.

It’s also instructive in the making of visual statements with music. Sure, it took some production values to get the fire and the flames and the night lighting and the stage on the water, but compared to many music videos common today, this one is quite straightforward, and lets the visual aspect enhance the music rather than compete with it. It was made in 1995, and still holds impact.

capercaillie glenfinnan scotlandI was fortunate to see the whole film during a Gaelic Film Festival which was part of Celtic Connections several years back, and the whole thing is equally powerful. As far as I can tell, the film isn’t available. The music Capercaillie made for it is, though, and it is certainly powerful enough for you to create your own images while listening.

Glenfinnan (Songs of the '45)

you may also wish to see
Capercaillie: Roses & Tears
Scott-Land at Celtic Connections
Celtic Connections 2012: the music begins

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posted by Kerry Dexter at


Anonymous Alexandra said...

I think of oral history as being musical some how, so it all ties in, doesn't it?

5:21 PM  
Anonymous Jane Boursaw said...

I love the idea of putting history into song, because it seems more relatable and easier for people to remember. It's like storytelling as an art form. People will remember stories and songs and be able to pass those on to the next generation.

9:36 AM  
Anonymous The Writer's [Inner] Journey said...

Alexandra's comment made me think of oral, aural and the passing down of story via song. It is all tied together.

11:17 AM  
Anonymous wandering educators said...

This is lovely - and I want to see that movie!!

12:42 PM  
Blogger MyKidsEatSquid said...

I want to see the movie too. I shared the music with my husband--who has Scottish ancestors we both enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing this.

2:39 PM  

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