Yes, that’s absolutely right and I would say that in being so that was quite a principle of the School of Scottish Studies in any case. That’s not to say that someone who’s a trained singer can’t be a finer exponent of traditional song but ... And we have examples in our own series. JCM Campbell, for example, in our Scottish Tradition series, a trained singer but with a wonderful repertoire of traditional music. But what you find with the kind of texture and depth and breadth of fieldwork is that there are singing styles that are distinctive from one community to another, perhaps from one island to another, tremendous forms of ornamentation, for example, in singing from Lewis, different kinds of characteristics perhaps in other areas and, of course, individual approaches to song and it’s transmission, and this is where building up a rapport with someone who is a tradition bearer and really collaborating with them in work of mutual interest bears fruit in a remarkable way and a very long lasting way.

  • Margaret Mackay
Thursday 17th June 2010