The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #67594 Message #1136920
Posted By: Sandy Mc Lean
15-Mar-04 - 09:02 AM
Thread Name: oral tradition - 'celtic' singing in usa
Subject: RE: oral tradition - 'celtic' singing in usa
The following is taken from Highland Settler (pub.1953) by Dr. Charles
W. Dunn. Professor of Celtic Languages, Harvard University.
The most celebrated case in Cape Breton of non-Gaelic speaking persons adopting the language is that of John and George Maxwell, Negro twins. The father of these twins was adopted when a child by a Gaelic-speaking sea-captain whose home was in Cape Breton. Here the boy quickly and inevitably learned Gaelic—the language of the household and of the neighbourhood. When he married he continued to use Gaelic in his own home, and thus his twin sons learned the language. John settled in Malagawatch and died some twenty years ago. His twin brother, George, settled in Whycocomagh and died in 1936 when in his seventies. According to report he always enjoyed speaking Gaelic and sang the Gaelic songs enthusiastically. Since Negroes are much more rare in Cape Breton than in North Carolina, the Maxwell twins are remembered as a sort of monument to the language.