“A Song for Every Cow She Milked..." Sharing the Work and Sharing the Voices in Gaeldom
Events (such as weddings, births, feuds, battles, emigration, death) and memorable individuals were celebrated (or mourned) in song. Almost every kind of work had its songs, especially daily or seasonal labour done to a particular rhythm, including milking, churning, spinning, waulking (fulling) hand-woven cloth, reaping, or rowing. At the end of the day’s toil, songs in the taigh céilidh were the expectation and right of everyone, along with an opportunity to learn the tradition from established singers and custodians of centuries of knowledge.
This presentation discusses the range of songs and their function, from the most ancient “lay” through to modern compositions. Example of Gaelic songs from Scotland and Newfoundland (both recorded and sung by the presenter) will demonstrate points made through the paper.
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