Scottish Slant 16
#1
Scottish Slant 16
On the last Tuesday in January the Shetland Islander’s mid-winter Up Helly Aa fire festival reaches a peak when the main parade climaxes in the ceremonial setting fire of a replica viking longship. This heralds the first of many long nights of music, dance and ‘guising’. Two of the songs most associated with the occasion are the Up Helly Aa song and the Galley Song and having played them recently I’ve tried to reproduce them here in the quiet of a home studio.  

https://www.dropbox.com/s/esqwbhitfnwsie...1.mp3?dl=0
Reply
#2
Hi BP,

I've seen TV footage of the festival but never realised there was any music associated with it. 

Well played again.

My cousin from the US was over recently and thought that Orkney and Shetland would have been full of tall blond Scandinavian types. I had to break it to her that they had been burning them all in their longships every year for centuries, and there are now none left. 

Never been to Shetland, but I felt like a giant in Orkney and I'm only 5'11".
Reply
#3
absolutely great- what box were you using

george

absolutely great- what box were you using

george
Reply
#4
George.
Thanks for that. The accordion is a Hohner Morino  c1953. (Converted from LMMH to LMMM).  Since my recent posts two things have changed; I gave the accordion tuning a going over  to freshen it up and I had a recent update of my Apple computer version/platform and I notice a pronounced difference in recording quality. It's all an encouragement to do more and better.

Maugwein96
I first got exposed to Shetland music in the early 60s when I met players who were on whaling vessels in the dying days of that industry.  I still remember being impressed with the drive and energy of the playing. Shetland stills punches above its weight musically not only in Scottish/Scandinavian styles but in many genres. Sadly Shetland music, along with other Scottish styles such as North East, Aberdeenshire, Fife and Tayside, Lothians and our own Borderland area are largely ignored at the moment by the major broadcasters.
Reply
#5
(09-02-2019, 01:49 PM)boxplayer4000 Wrote: George.
Thanks for that. The accordion is a Hohner Morino  c1953. (Converted from LMMH to LMMM).  Since my recent posts two things have changed; I gave the accordion tuning a going over  to freshen it up and I had a recent update of my Apple computer version/platform and I notice a pronounced difference in recording quality. It's all an encouragement to do more and better.

Maugwein96
I first got exposed to Shetland music in the early 60s when I met players who were on whaling vessels in the dying days of that industry.  I still remember being impressed with the drive and energy of the playing. Shetland stills punches above its weight musically not only in Scottish/Scandinavian styles but in many genres. Sadly Shetland music, along with other Scottish styles such as North East, Aberdeenshire, Fife and Tayside, Lothians and our own Borderland area are largely ignored at the moment by the major broadcasters.
Reply
#6
Hi,

I would imagine some of the music you mention relates to folk styles from the respective areas of Scotland, and I must confess that I never even knew they existed. I was aware of different accordion styles between the west and east of Scotland but again I wouldn't be able to tell the difference.

Any connection between Shetland and Scandinavian music is understandable, but not exactly obvious to somebody like myself.

I cannot remember Scottish accordion getting much air time at all. White Heather Club on TV once a week, and maybe the odd radio slot? In fact, since Robbie Shepherd retired I don't think I've ever heard it on air at all.

I've absolutely no idea what the current situation is with the Scottish accordion scene, but hopefully some youngsters will keep it going for a while yet. When I was growing up in the 50s and 60s the Scottish youth, in keeping with their peers elsewhere, began another accordion "tradition", and that was that the instrument had become rather unfashionable. It would appear that tradition has become stronger in subsequent generations. At least we grew up listening to it frequently, but that cannot be said for today's youngsters.

I realise that the situation in a lot of other places where the instrument has been adapted to play "traditional" music will be the same. Nobody really wants to break with tradition, but considering the instrument was only really popular in most parts of the world for about 2 or 3 generations (50 or 60 years), what "tradition" are we actually talking about? Is it the tunes?
Reply
#7
have a look at the numerous youtube vids of Brandon Mcphee who is doing great things to bring Scottish accordion music to a wide audience . And on a Shand MOrino BCC# box

? is 'take the floor' no longer put out on Scottish radio

george
Reply
#8
(09-02-2019, 05:46 PM)george garside Wrote: have a look at the numerous youtube vids of Brandon Mcphee  who is doing  great things to bring Scottish accordion music  to a wide audience  .  And on a Shand MOrino BCC# box

? is 'take the floor' no longer put out on Scottish radio

george
Hi George,

I believe the last broadcast of "Take the floor" was in September 2016, and as far as I know it hasn't been replaced. 

I've seen Brandon, and no doubt there are others in a similar vein. A truly gifted young man indeed. Great to see youngsters playing anywhere these days, and in better days there would have been more pro players about that same age. It is interesting to read that he has branched out as a singer into the Country music scene with his own band, with not an accordion in sight. I couldn't really see Jimmy Shand doing that, but if times had have been different when Jimmy was a youngster, you never know. 

Brandon's accordion playing is already legendary, and all he needs to do now is teach Daniel O'Donnell to sing!  The reference to the "mature" band members in his biography indicates an interesting state of affairs. A young very talented man in an old man's world. Hats off to him for being able to age about 50 years in the space of only 10. I could only manage to age 30 years in the 14 that I was married to my first wife! 

My point is, it's not every youngster who is as talented as he is to concentrate all of his efforts at pleasing the older generations, and I know he is not alone in that respect. 

I'm not saying his talent is wasted, and I admire him for being loyal to what he obviously believes in.
Reply
#9
On the age of tradition:
Peter Wyper (1861 – 1920) was a player of the diatonic button accordion believed to have been the first person to ever be recorded playing the accordion, which he did on wax cylinder in 1903. Peter and his brother Daniel Wyper (b. 1872) recorded together as the "Wyper Brothers", performing Scottish and Irish music.
(see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Wyper )
I forgot to say how much I enjoyed the two tunes - Thanks.
Richard
Reply
#10
(09-02-2019, 06:53 PM)dunlustin Wrote: On the age of tradition:
Peter Wyper (1861 – 1920) was a player of the diatonic button accordion  believed to have been the first person to ever be recorded playing the accordion, which he did on wax cylinder in 1903. Peter and his brother Daniel Wyper (b. 1872) recorded together as the "Wyper Brothers", performing Scottish and Irish music.
(see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Wyper )
I forgot to say how much I enjoyed the two tunes - Thanks.

Richard,

You certainly got the wee wheels going in my head. The names rang a bell, and you are going to like this one (I think). 

The Wypers lived about 10 miles away from where I was brought up and they were from a coalmining family, same as mine. I believe they were of Irish descent, the same as me. My own family had come to Scotland from Ireland just after the Famine, and the Wypers became folk heroes in the North Lanarkshire area, maybe about the turn of the 20th century. I'm not going to pretend that I know much about them, as I don't. 

An Irish coalminer in our village, whose name was Dogherty, and a relation of ours, fancied he could play the melodeon as well as the Wypers, but habitually got drunk on a Saturday night, and it wasn't unknown for him to throw his current melodeon in the fire, when he couldn't manage a particularly difficult tune. On the Sunday afternoon when he had sobered up he would take the tramcar to The Barras market in Glasgow and hope to buy another one. Don't know how many times he did it in total, but I think he held the "record" for his wife bashing him on the head with a cooking pan! 

I maybe never put the tradition bit over too well. It is well enough documented that most accordion genres worldwide became popular about 1900, but began to decline about the 1950s, or early 60s. No they never completely died out then, but have gradually petered out to the point where they usually have only niche followings in their respective countries. Whether such a time scale qualifies as "tradition" seems to be the issue I have with others. Traditional tunes may have existed for centuries, but the accordion hasn't. The fragments of genres which are still extant today are being kept alive by enthusiasts like us, but the general public who once bought the records in considerable numbers, gave the accordion "the bodyswerve" a long time ago. 

If I put it another way, how many professional accordionists are there today worldwide compared with in 1960?
Reply
#11
The Scottish dance music programme 'Take the Floor', so long associated with Robbie Shepherd continues.  It's on tonight at 19.05, on BBC Radio Scotland and is hosted by a very personable young man from Lochaber called Gary Innes. 

Scottish music, genres, styles, or whatever they might be called were certainly very distinctive to local areas.  Like speech accents different styles of playing could pin down the player. However in recent times, due to all the reasons which are well known, the boundaries of individuality are coming down.
Reply
#12
Sorry BP,

My world is so full of negatives I should have been a photographer. I just assumed the programme had been given the heave-ho, and I've never heard of Gary Innes. I might have a listen in next week. 

I suppose I shouldn't compare one genre with another, as a guy from Nice usually just sounds like a player from Lille these days, but at one time there may well have been a local identity. At one time you could sometimes tell if a French musette player was actually Italian, but to most people it probably never mattered much. To the ordinary person in the street it was just an accordion tune, and that was it. 

You have obviously seen a lot of changes over the years and I take my hat off to you for persevering with something you are passionate about. The loss of all those regional identities would be a major issue for me. I often used to wonder whether the Scottish accordion scene would have benefited from outside influences in the name of perhaps offering it to a potential  wider audience, but I think you have convinced me that would probably never happen.  

I've just been watching some Portuguese players and the music they were playing probably bears no resemblance at all to what the previous generations played. Yet their roots are Portuguese, and you can sometimes hear it in the playing. I can tell a Portuguese paso from a Spanish one, but couldn't tell you one jig or reel from another, or whereabouts in Scotland it came from.

If I've inherited anything from the few "Scottish" ancestors I have, it must be their tendency towards mutiny. They had to flee sharpish to Ireland to avoid execution in the Killing Times, when all they had to do was change religion and go with the flow. If they had just done that and remained in Scotland my house might be full of Jimmy Shand records (I said "might"). The history books indicate they were probably descended from a contingent of Cromwell's soldiers who had settled in Ayrshire. That being the case I was thinking of composing a tune called "An Irish Englishman in Edinburgh", but I couldn't find a Scottish publisher without windows in their premises.
Reply


Forum Jump: