Yes, yes. The first time you visit someone, perhaps the first time they’ve been recorded and the idea of recording and so on may be quite new, that person will very often remember things after you’ve gone away that the visit has prompted, has sparked off, so that a return visit very soon after the first one can often bear great fruit. And then of course it is interesting when one is thinking about subjects like memory and transmission, performances and so on, to see whether a singer will perform a song in a similar way regularly and so recording people over time, that goes for storytelling too, is doing those recordings ... And of course in fieldwork one builds up a rapport with people. You know, if one’s returning to their home district one would naturally call and so on. And sometimes of course the people we’ve recorded are making songs and you want to be au fait with what they have done. Or they’re learning songs too or remembering ones they’d forgotten but that are there somewhere in the recesses of memory so those repeated visits tell something about the human nature of what we do and the importance of friendship and ... in these encounters. And also of the value the people we’ve recorded from over these six decades have placed on their tradition and of the importance of ensuring that others learn and get to hear about it and can understand it and so on. You know, it’s a very generous process on the part of those who’ve contributed to the archive over the years. We wouldn’t have these wonderful collections if it wasn’t for that generosity.

  • Margaret Mackay
Thursday 17th June 2010