Sung by: Norman Kennedy of Aberdeen, Scotland
Recorded on 4/17/66

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Mr. Kennedy: “Well, now, these songs are songs to accompany dancing in the Gaelic language, the old language of Scotland. Now this first song is for the dance called ‘The Scottisch,’ and then I’ll go into, for a reel, you see. This is when they had no pipers and no fiddlers, or maybe they’d just give the musicians a rest, you see, and they’d get somebody up to sing, or maybe two or three people to sing at one time.”

Untitled song or songs (Sung in Gaelic)

Dr. Wolf: “If you were singing that again, would you sing the same sounds?”
Mr. Kennedy: “Oh, maybe no. Oh, the same sounds. Oh, they’re actually words, you see. They’re actually words. Oh, yes, they’re definitely words.”
Dr. Wolf: “Oh, I thought this was sort of nonsense.”
Mr. Kennedy: “No, no. That’s definitely words. No, no, they mean something. Oh, they don’t mean much, you know, they’re just . . . about maybe boys singing with their girlfriends or girls singing with their boyfriends or things like that, you know. And the first one is . . . ‘a lame lad up in the glen, bring down the sheep to me,’ you see. ‘Even though you’re blind in one eye, your other eye’ll do you good. You can still . . .’ Just peculiar things. But they mean something. Oh, yes.”
Dr. Wolf: “I see. Well, I didn't know that. You don’t know any part of that weaving song, or one like it--you know, that you [someone else] played the other night?”
??: “Oh, the milling song.”
Dr. Wolf: “Do you know some of that?”
Mr. Kennedy: “Oh, yes, I know plenty of them.”
Dr. Wolf: “How about giving me one of those?”
Mr. Kennedy: “I’ll sing you one now, in praise of the McNeills of the Island of Barre. It’s in praise of their war galley, used to be big war galleys that they rowed out at the time of Elizabeth of Warbuck . . . How long ago was that? Four hundred years, I suppose. Used to row them out. They were like Viking galleys, you know, and they used to row them out and raid all . . . and that was the boat coming back. And this is a woman up herding sheep, and she sees the boat coming ‘round, and she says, ‘Oh, there’ll be feasting tonight and harps playing, and they’ll be drinking wine from night ‘til morning.’ And they bring that into the song, you see.”
Dr. Wolf: “Oh, yeah.”
Mr. Kennedy: “You’d really have one singer, and then the chorus bring it up . . . and then the singer go on again. In that style, they get quicker toward the end.”
Dr. Wolf: “This is where, from whereabouts?”
Mr. Kennedy: “This is from the Island of Barre.”
Dr. Wolf: “Island of Barra?”
Mr. Kennedy: “Barre. B-a-r-r-e, in the Outer Hebrides. I learned it there.”
Dr. Wolf: “New Hebrides?”
Mr. Kennedy: “The Outer Hebrides. Yes, I learned it there from people. The woman is standing on the hill, looking out, you see. Well, I learned it from people who . . . I was living in a house just at the bottom of that hill, you see.”

Untitled song or songs (Sung in Gaelic)

Dr. Wolf: “Good, good. That’s a very good . . .”
Mr. Kennedy: “Getting indoctrinated, but you see, in the Outer Hebrides, . . . only about 150 or 200 miles between the top and the bottom, there’s an awful lot of different singing styles in there, you see. And the people in the north don’t like the singing in the south. They say the people sing too low in the south. And the people in the south say that the folk in the north -- oh, no, they’ve got no style at all, you know. And in fact their language is just poor, pathetic, you know.”
Dr. Wolf: “Same thing you get in sacred harpers down here . . .”
Mr. Kennedy: “And they’re very close together, you know. But they, oh, they’re just wee differences . . .”
Dr. Wolf: “Yeah. The smaller the difference, the greater the . . .”
Mr. Kennedy: “Um hm. . . . You see, there’s a lot of denominations there, and . . . right, right, right.”

All Songs Recorded by John Quincy Wolf, Jr., unless otherwise noted

The John Quincy Wolf Folklore Collection
Lyon College, Batesville, Arkansas
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