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Nationality of songs

DigiTrad:
DARK ISLAND 2
THE DARK ISLAND


Related threads:
Lyr Req: Dark Island (Alan Bell) (18)
(DTStudy) DTStudy: The Dark Island (27)
Dark Island: Too late to have DigiTrad alteration? (7)
Lyr Req: The Dark Island (Alan Bell) (10)
(origins) Origins/Author: Dark Island (43)
Information on The Dark Island (5)
(origins) Tune Req: The Dark Isle (14)
Dark Island (47)
(origins) Origin: The Dark Island (41)
(origins) Lyr/Tune Add: The Dark Isle (16)
Lyr Req: Eilean Dorcha (3)


GUEST,Alan Ross 12 Jul 15 - 09:23 PM
GUEST 12 Jul 15 - 09:47 PM
Rob Naylor 12 Jul 15 - 09:55 PM
GUEST,Alan Ross 12 Jul 15 - 10:05 PM
GUEST,Alan Ross 12 Jul 15 - 10:18 PM
Joe Offer 13 Jul 15 - 02:18 AM
GUEST,Allan Conn 13 Jul 15 - 03:01 AM
Joe Offer 13 Jul 15 - 04:09 AM
Dave the Gnome 13 Jul 15 - 04:55 AM
GUEST,Alan Ross 13 Jul 15 - 05:12 AM
Jack Campin 13 Jul 15 - 05:13 AM
GUEST,Phil 13 Jul 15 - 05:17 AM
GUEST,Alan Ross 13 Jul 15 - 05:22 AM
Dave the Gnome 13 Jul 15 - 05:38 AM
Leadfingers 13 Jul 15 - 06:00 AM
Paul Burke 13 Jul 15 - 06:08 AM
GUEST,Alan Ross 13 Jul 15 - 06:21 AM
GUEST,Alan Ross 13 Jul 15 - 06:34 AM
GUEST 13 Jul 15 - 07:10 AM
GUEST,Alan Ross 13 Jul 15 - 07:28 AM
GUEST,Alan Ross 13 Jul 15 - 07:39 AM
GUEST,Dave 13 Jul 15 - 07:49 AM
GUEST,MartinRyan 13 Jul 15 - 07:53 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 13 Jul 15 - 08:02 AM
GUEST,Alan Ross 13 Jul 15 - 08:07 AM
Rob Naylor 13 Jul 15 - 08:14 AM
Jack Campin 13 Jul 15 - 08:18 AM
GUEST,Alan Ross 13 Jul 15 - 08:20 AM
GUEST,Dave 13 Jul 15 - 08:20 AM
Paul Burke 13 Jul 15 - 08:22 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 13 Jul 15 - 08:26 AM
GUEST,Alan Ross 13 Jul 15 - 08:37 AM
GUEST 13 Jul 15 - 08:40 AM
MartinRyan 13 Jul 15 - 08:47 AM
GUEST,Alan Ross 13 Jul 15 - 08:55 AM
GUEST 13 Jul 15 - 08:55 AM
Paul Burke 13 Jul 15 - 09:04 AM
GUEST,Alan Ross 13 Jul 15 - 09:07 AM
GUEST,alan Ross 13 Jul 15 - 09:15 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 13 Jul 15 - 09:15 AM
GUEST,08:55 13 Jul 15 - 09:19 AM
Dave the Gnome 13 Jul 15 - 09:22 AM
GUEST,Alan Ross 13 Jul 15 - 09:24 AM
GUEST,Alan Ross 13 Jul 15 - 09:27 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Jul 15 - 12:01 PM
GUEST,Alan Ross 13 Jul 15 - 12:59 PM
GUEST 13 Jul 15 - 01:24 PM
Jim Carroll 13 Jul 15 - 01:42 PM
GUEST 13 Jul 15 - 01:49 PM
GUEST,Alan Ross 13 Jul 15 - 02:02 PM
Dave the Gnome 13 Jul 15 - 03:21 PM
GUEST,Alan Ross 13 Jul 15 - 04:17 PM
Steve Gardham 13 Jul 15 - 04:43 PM
GUEST,Alan Ross 13 Jul 15 - 04:57 PM
GUEST,Allan Conn 13 Jul 15 - 07:07 PM
Jim Carroll 13 Jul 15 - 07:50 PM
GUEST 13 Jul 15 - 08:19 PM
GUEST,Allan Conn 14 Jul 15 - 02:36 AM
Megan L 14 Jul 15 - 11:15 AM
GUEST 14 Jul 15 - 11:33 AM
GUEST 14 Jul 15 - 11:43 AM
GUEST,Alan Ross 14 Jul 15 - 12:46 PM
GUEST 14 Jul 15 - 01:30 PM
GUEST,Alan Ross 14 Jul 15 - 01:34 PM
GUEST,Alan Ross 14 Jul 15 - 01:41 PM
GUEST 14 Jul 15 - 01:46 PM
GUEST 14 Jul 15 - 01:46 PM
GUEST,Alan Ross 14 Jul 15 - 01:52 PM
GUEST 14 Jul 15 - 01:54 PM
Jim Carroll 14 Jul 15 - 02:03 PM
GUEST 14 Jul 15 - 02:26 PM
GUEST 14 Jul 15 - 02:31 PM
GUEST,Ed 14 Jul 15 - 03:05 PM
GUEST,Allan Conn 14 Jul 15 - 03:40 PM
Joe Offer 14 Jul 15 - 09:43 PM
Jack Campin 15 Jul 15 - 04:04 AM
Joe Offer 15 Jul 15 - 04:48 AM
GUEST,Dave 15 Jul 15 - 04:48 AM
Tattie Bogle 15 Jul 15 - 04:54 AM
GUEST,Eddie1 - Sans cookie as ever 15 Jul 15 - 05:01 AM
Paul Burke 15 Jul 15 - 05:05 AM
GUEST 15 Jul 15 - 05:11 AM
GUEST 15 Jul 15 - 05:16 AM
henryclem 15 Jul 15 - 05:31 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Jul 15 - 06:10 AM
Jack Campin 15 Jul 15 - 06:14 AM
GUEST 15 Jul 15 - 07:12 AM
GUEST 15 Jul 15 - 07:15 AM
Thompson 16 Jul 15 - 07:08 AM
Jim Carroll 16 Jul 15 - 07:23 AM
GUEST,Dave 16 Jul 15 - 10:55 AM
GUEST 16 Jul 15 - 12:25 PM
GUEST,Jack Campin 16 Jul 15 - 12:35 PM
GUEST,Dave 17 Jul 15 - 04:27 AM
Steve Gardham 17 Jul 15 - 03:04 PM
GUEST,Dave 17 Jul 15 - 03:15 PM
Joe Offer 17 Jul 15 - 10:28 PM
Jim Carroll 18 Jul 15 - 03:04 AM
GUEST,Dave 18 Jul 15 - 04:25 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Jul 15 - 06:59 AM
Wolfgang 18 Jul 15 - 08:39 AM
GUEST,Alan Ross 18 Jul 15 - 10:40 AM
GUEST,Alan Ross 18 Jul 15 - 12:52 PM
GUEST 18 Jul 15 - 03:20 PM
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Subject: Nationality issues of songs
From: GUEST,Alan Ross
Date: 12 Jul 15 - 09:23 PM

I just found that my late father's lyrics and arrangement of the Dark Island has been 'collected' and recorded by the Irish Traditional Music Association and made available over the Internet.

After posting documentation proving authorship etc which they kindly acknowledged, it has left me with the philosophical dilemma of whether it is the singer or the song that creates the nationality of the work.

My father was Scottish, the tune is Scottish, the song was written in Scotland, published in Scotland on sheet music and had national recordings by Scottish artists.   However, later there have been Irish recordings and performances - as my father's words don't mention any location for the Dark Island, so it can be applied for anywhere   

It's fine that they have at least given a courtesy credit and I am grateful for that.   But as cultural historians who are archiving the work and making it available, do they not owe an explanation of where the work originated from?   Am I being pedantic?

   Historians will now think that its an old Irish song, when it previously had nothing to do with it .   The Irish often seem to steal our modern works and claim them as their cultural property which as a Scot annoys the hell out of me. I am talking about a 1963 song, as Traditional as 'She Loves You'.   So should they not have mentioned that it is Scottish.. People will swear oh that's an old Irish folk song - no it isn't! Or is it the fact that it is an Irish singer performing it that should define the work and make it an Irish folk song?


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Jul 15 - 09:47 PM

Another example of this is the Stewart Ross song 'My Bonnie Maureen' recorded by Daniel O' Donnell (and various Scottish and Irish performers). This time my father wrote both the words and music and it is a completely original 1971 song.   Again the author/composer is Scottish, it was first recorded in Scotland - but later Daniel O' Donnell had a version out where it was performed in Irish style (a couple of word changes like Chapel instead of Church).   So, its a purely Scottish love song, but performed by an Irish singer with Irish musicians, and the name Maureen (often associated with Ireland).

Maureen was actually Scottish, an Inverness lass who was the fiancee of my brother. So, does the fact that Daniel O' Donnell recorded it suddenly turn it into an Irish song (when it is Scottish to me!)


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 12 Jul 15 - 09:55 PM

Afraid that's par for the course, Alan. There are dozens, possibly hundreds, of songs that are listed as "Irish" which aren't.

I've corrected people on YouTube who described as "wonderful Celtic music" such songs as:

Tom Paine, performed by Pig's Ear and written by Steve Tilston ....a song about an Englishman, written by an Englishman and performed by an English band.

Who Knows Where The Time Goes, performed by Kate Rusby and written by Sandy Denny.

Dirty Old Town is often described as Irish, as are Shoals Of Herring, Fiddler's Green, Mairi's Wedding and many others whose main connection with Ireland is that they've, at one time or other, appeared in the repertoires of well-known Irish bands such as the Dubliners, Chieftains, Pogues, etc.

It seems as if any decent song or tune which is taken up by Irish performers automatically gets adopted into the "Irish Canon" and then propagates globally as an "Irish" song. Not sure there's anything we can do about it as the momentum is so great. Mostly I don't think it matters, and there are a lot of "Trad" songs that have been collected from various parts of the British Isles over time where it would be difficult to ascribe a country of origin, but in the case of your father's song, I'd say it was unequivocally Scottish.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Alan Ross
Date: 12 Jul 15 - 10:05 PM

Thanks for that.   I know that it may be pedantic. But being alive (unlike my father), I have the chance to set the record straight with his songs before the Chinese whispers syndrome strikes. I guess as well you see, if an organisation is there to archive - then to me they have a duty to pass on historical information when known if they are circulating the work to promote it for cultural reasons and not create a myth.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Alan Ross
Date: 12 Jul 15 - 10:18 PM

Oh a funny example of record company stupidity.. There is an Internet album called 'My Irish Roots', which has many typical Irish songs on it. However, oddly my father's heather and haggis song 'The Highland Road' recorded by a 'kilted' tenor Denis Clancy has been included.   There you have a song written by a Scot, which mentions Inverness etc. and sung by a man from Dundee, who was not Irish at all.   Some eejit has made an assumption that it has some connection to Ireland because it was sung by somebody with the surname Clancy!   Tenuous one there!


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 02:18 AM

I think there's a lot of crossover, and that's healthy. It's probably best to enjoy the song, and not worry too much about nationality and ownership and attribution and all those things. A 1963 song may not seem so old, but that's well over 50 years, if it's a good song, it has taken on a life of its own by 50 years, maybe even after 10 years.

I sand "Old Black Joe" by Stephen Collins Foster this afternoon. It's a song I've sung for almost 60 years, and it's become part of me. Yes, there's author and nationality and history and all those considerations - but for the moments I'm singing it, it's MY song.

I'm not sure how tightly songs should be "owned" by the songwriter. Every good singer makes the song his/her own - is that wrong?

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 03:01 AM

I disagree Joe. Songs are the property of the whole world of course but at the same time there is surely nothing wrong with knowing the origin of a song? And in some cases knowing where a song comes from helps with understanding the song itself. This thread though is about a very common thing where songs are described as being Irish simply because an Irish singer or band have performed it. The net is awash with examples. I've seen youtube threads where people are arguing over whether "Dirty Old Town" is about Dublin or Belfast. Well the song could be about any town but it was actually written about Salford! Why wouldn't people want to know a song's history? Likewise I once saw a thread where again people were arguing over whether Bogle's "No Man's Land" was an Irish Republican song or an Irish Unionist song. Whether it was a song lambasting Britain for the Irish War Dead or whether it was celebrating the Irish sacrifice! What a corruption of the song when it is merely a general anti war song written by a ex-pat Scot in Australia which has nothing specifically to do with Ireland other than the name chosen (presumably because it rhymed with grave side) may or may not have belonged to an Irish member of the British Army. Again people can appropriate songs and read into them what they want but there is nothing wrong with knowing the songs history etc.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 04:09 AM

The lines are not so clearly drawn in the Western Isles, Allan. What's the ancestry of many of the Protestants in Northern Ireland? Where did the monks come from, the ones who settled Iona? And how far is Iona from Ireland - and for that matter, how far from Glasgow and Edinburgh?

Which came first, "Red Is the Rose," or "Loch Lomond"? And the list goes on and on. When I sing "Dirty Old Town," I'm thinking of the town I'm from, Racine Wisconsin - is that wrong?

Good songs have a universality, with different meanings for different people.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 04:55 AM

It is wrong when, as in Allan's example, the origins are used for an invalid political point. I have heard many a complaint, particularly from Irish Americans, about the misappropriation of Irish culture by the English. Yet those complaints are often misplaced or just wrong. Why should other people not make the same point when it does happen to be true?


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Alan Ross
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 05:12 AM

Thanks, I am talking generally as principle. Music and culture is now an academic subject. We have a University of the Highlands, there is Aberdeen University etc. There are people who now do degrees and post-graduate studies in the meaning of songs to their local culture.   Look at how many times someone on this site is trying to find the origins of works.

So, if we know a true origin for a more recent work. Should that be documented before it becomes mixed up. With the Irish Traditional Music Association having recorded the 'Dark Island' song as part of their culture, then is that not cultural theft when it is funded as an academic database?   I only mean that they knew before they put the information out on the Internet that it's Scottish but because its known to them (and the Irish singer makes a lovely acapella job of it). Surely, they should have put two words 'Scots lament' on the text.   

In general terms I'm more concerned with the more recent songs where he wrote the whole song rather than just words only.   You can have a clear cut copyright work and then somebody says that's an old Irish song because of the style - then you get Trad. credits stuck on or snowballing rumours, if somebody sings it with a broad Irish accent.

A great folk group called the Kilkennys performed 'Dirty Old Town in Inverness' but even though they sung it in the usual broad Irish accent they mentioned that it was not Irish song and said where it was about.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 05:13 AM

Agreed. This kind of mislabelling comes out of, and helps promote, a particularly nasty brand of racist cultural xenophobia in the Irish-diaspora culture. You can't hang around the Irish music for long without encountering "we created everything and the English stole it off us" - the evidence cited for that is nearly always a pack of lies.

Which came first, "Red Is the Rose," or "Loch Lomond"?

"Loch Lomond". But "Red is the Rose" is a better song. It is also an Irish pastiche of a Scottish original. And none the worse for that.

Adela Peeva's 2003 documentary Whose Is This Song? is a scary analysis of the same phenomenon in a different part of the world.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Phil
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 05:17 AM

"When I sing "Dirty Old Town," I'm thinking of the town I'm from, Racine Wisconsin - is that wrong?"

No. Informing your listeners it was written in or about Racine would be wrong.

Educators, archivists and curators have a higher responsibility than entertainers. It's part of the mission statement & job description.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Alan Ross
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 05:22 AM

Mistyped 'Dirty Old Town' in Inverness.   Not 'Dirty old town in Inverness' - that is not the title - though Inverness is now getting to be a dirty old city.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 05:38 AM

BTW - Good to see you posting here, Alan, and sorry for mis-spelling your name earlier. Interesting topic for a thread.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: Leadfingers
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 06:00 AM

Crediting ANY song incorrectly is bad practice !


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: Paul Burke
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 06:08 AM

There are a number of different issues involved here:

(1) Copyright. This exists on the song for IIRC 70 years after the death of the composer. You could use this aggressively and get the Youtube performances taken down or attributed, but it may be better to save your energy for when its used by someone with money to pay. I recall a few years ago someone quoting the widow of the author of Bring Us A Barrel as saying that if she had a pound for each time it was sung, she'd have been a millionaire. Unfortunately in all probability the combined total earned by all those singers was (after expenses) rather less than a pound. Composers in the traditional vein who has earned serious money from their music are rare in these islands.

(2) Nationality and cultural appropriation. Irish music has had a far higher public acceptability (I'm talking aboutthe UK) than English or Scottish music, which may be traced to the "Celtic Twilight" meme of the late Victorian era, Yeats, George Herbert, Lady Gregory and that lot (Sean O'Casey was quite amusing about this, as was Myles na Gopaleen in The Poor Mouth). So whereas English tradition is fatally associated in the stereotype with sweater- clad finger- in- ear Morrismen, and Scottish music with military bagpipes, Irish or Celtic is associated with an advertising cliche of a girl clad in an embroidered gown, long red hair blowing free in the breeze against a hilltop sunset... OK don't get carried away, but you get the point. It does mean that "Irish" versions of any given trad song are more likely to get published, viewed or bought than "dull" east-insular versions. And if they've appropriated Wille McB, Aragon Mill, Dirty Old Town, Shores of Erin (rendering it meaningless in the process), Wild Rover, Roads and Miles to Dundee, Black Velvet Band and the rest, who is going to take any notice of a pedant's whinge of protest?

(3) The somewhat separate issue of assimilation into tradition. Songs like Dark Island and Bring Us a Barrel were deliberately composed to sound like songs already accepted as traditional, and the fact that they have become "anonymous" is in fact a tribute to the skill of their composers. Composers have been deliberately trying to do this since at least the 18th century; see the Ossian controversy, the excellent Earl of Totnes (recorded by the Dransfields), and a whole lot of Burns and Walter Scott. In their case it's a bit like the art forger Tom Keating, whose paintings fooled even experts for a long time (and probably still do). Dark Island (the tune) was being played in Irish sessions around Manchester (UK) at least as early as 1972, when we thought of it as traditional Scottish and none the worse for that. The fact that the Irish tradition took up songs and tunes so much more readily is probably a reflection of the vigour and adaptability of that tradition, and that they were not attributed is more due to the fact that everyone assumed they were traditional than that anyone was trying to suppress authorship.

(4) The inverse case of traditional material being (deliberately or unconsciously) appropriated and copyrighted by modern composers. This seems to be most common in the USA, perhaps because of the bigger market making the stakes higher, and the more aggressive litigation culture. But it certainly happened here too with Sharp and others assuming the copyright of material they collected.

(5) The perceived ethnicity of music, though I don't think it really applies in this case. But the Ottoman Empire of the 1900s, the same recording could be issued labelled as Greek and Hebrew, with only the tune and band names changed to appeal to the different market sectors.

(6) Recomposition and relocation has been a constant process in traditional music. Which fair was Young Rambleaway a-going to? Not knowing the words to Dark Island (as I said, we played the tune), I looked around the web, and found half a dozen variants with different authorial attributions, some of which give a definite location. Which returns us to point 1. What is the copyright of a derivative text when the original is still in copyright?


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Alan Ross
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 06:21 AM

Hi Dave the Gnome, I am a gnome myself.   
I didn't want to have this put under 'Dark Island' thread as that goes on..and on. and is not the reason for this.

I mean... even when my father was alive Daniel O' Donnell recorded 'My Bonnie Maureen' reviewers made an assumption that it was an Irish song, as it was Daniel and had the name 'Maureen' in the title oh - and the use of the word chapel (originally church).

So in one country music column he got them to mention that "it was in fact a Scottish song composed by Inverness songwriter Stewart Ross" as it did annoy him. That was not for xenophobic reasons, but you can imagine reading review stuff saying that it was an Irish song because it was sung by Daniel. But then reviewers would not have been aware of where it came from.

One reason for 'My Bonnie Maureen' not being included on as many of Daniel's compilations is that nobody is quite sure what label to give it for compiled themes that record companies like to have. It doesn't fit neatly into the Irish love song category - as its Scottish and not really picked up on in the Scottish market too much, as it's largest selling version is performed by an Irish singer (and chapel used instead of church). His record company have told me they are planning on offering a lease out of the track so I'll be interested to see what label or theme it gets put under if re-used.

In the case of academic organisations, all I was getting at is that if somebody makes recordings to create a cultural archive and database, then surely it owes a care of duty and ethics to put the known origins of the work in a couple of words - not propagate a myth that the song originates from their culture. I am not saying not to include it as a cross-over, but just to include that it was
a Scottish song which is known in Ireland.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Alan Ross
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 06:34 AM

Very academic contribution by Paul Burke.. don't go there with copyright... Dark Island is a very complex subject which goes round and round....   What is not in dispute is that these words were my father's and that he was Scottish, the words are Scottish etc. It is the nationality of the work I am talking about and that it sure as hell is not an Irish song, unless the fact that it is performed by an Irish singer makes it one!


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 07:10 AM

'I just found that my late father's lyrics and arrangement of the Dark Island has been 'collected' and recorded by the Irish Traditional Music Association and made available over the Internet.'


Can you provide a link to this please?

I have never heard of the 'Irish Traditional Music Association' and was tempted to think you misread the 'Irish Traditional Music Archive'. The ITMA catalogue however only gives to entries for Dark Island, both from lp recordings. And neither claiming the song as Irish.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Alan Ross
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 07:28 AM

Thanks for correcting me on the initials. Of course they are calling it Irish by including the song in the Irish Traditional Music Archive.   The archive has two singers (not from LP's) recorded at a session using the song (taped like the School of Scottish studies used to do). Great singing - no problem and it is kindly courtesy credited.

If something is in the Irish Traditional Music Archive - then what culture do you think they are claiming it as belonging to?


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Alan Ross
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 07:39 AM

This database isn't just a catalogue work it is a playable recording database on the Internet and song words as well... So the implication stands that it is a an old Irish song but at least credited to Stewart Ross - but doesn't say what the nationality of Stewart Ross or the song was!


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Dave
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 07:49 AM

ITMA (sure I have seen that acronym before!) announces itself as:

"a national public reference archive and resource centre for
the traditional song, instrumental music and dance of Ireland"

It includes such gems as:

"Lord of the Dance and Other Famous Irish Songs and Dances [sound recording]"

"All through the night [sound recording] / Dublin Welsh Male Voice Choir [Cór Meibion Cynry Dulyn]"

"and The Band Played Waltzing Matilda [sound recording]" (no Willie McBride even in that one)

"The pipes and drums of the Scottish Highlands [sound recording]"

Even the original Waltzing Matilda is in it!


So it seems to include music from anywhere performed by anyone Irish.

This is sort of OK, if it wasn't for the statement at the top, which is from the front page of their website.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,MartinRyan
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 07:53 AM

ITMA holds a vast collection of Irish and Irish-related material and is scrupulous in its work, in my experience. Several of the staff have contributed to Mudcat over the years. If they don't pick up on this thread soon, I'll draw it to their attention.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 08:02 AM

I would suggest the ITMA catalogues are nothing more or less than a description of their holdings.

Any archive of this type will hold material that is relevant to its main area of interest. If any of the examples named above are sung in Ireland, they would be relevant, even if they are not from Ireland. That does not however imply these songs are claimed as Irish.

Entries of the commercial recordings of 'Dark Island' in the ITMA catalogue included recordings of the song from Scotland, England, USA, Italy and indeed Ireland.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Alan Ross
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 08:07 AM

Thanks Dave. Wish I'd never started now... but you get the idea.   Is it the nationality of the performer or the song - and these are archives set up to propagate and promote THEIR culture. So that is great, no problem, But it is Not their culture. if they are saying that the material comes from their country - when it is known that it is not indigenous.   No problem if they just said where the work came from and that its frequently USED in Ireland.

I am not being Xenophobic, but it is their claim that they exist to promote their own culture of which they are rightly proud.   Equally, then my opinion was that I should be justified in pointing out that the song belongs to my cultural heritage before it gets assimilated as being Irish when the historical origins are known.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 08:14 AM

Alan: If something is in the Irish Traditional Music Archive - then what culture do you think they are claiming it as belonging to?

Well, above the credit for Stewart Ross, the "Subject" line says the subject is "Ireland: Singing in English" which I guess *is* inaccurate as the subject isn't Ireland. They should as a courtesy at least correct that, IMO.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 08:18 AM

If something is in the Irish Traditional Music Archive - then what culture do you think they are claiming it as belonging to?

I don't think the British Museum claims the Elgin Marbles are English art just because they've got them.

In fact the ITMA's procedure is a counter to narrow nationalism: it provides documentation of where songs and tunes now considered to be part of the Irish tradition actually came from. Alois Fleischmann's book "Sources of Irish Traditional Music" does the same thing on paper.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Alan Ross
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 08:20 AM

NO THIS IS NOT A CATALOGUE but an on-line song recording and words. I will find a link, but then by doing that I'm promoting this database.   No its not a commercial recording its a taped session song. Grace Toland (?) (I have to check the name and spelling) sang it very nicely, and she gave credit after I contacted her with proof of authorship - fine couldn't have been nicer. However, this is a recording which is in the context of a School of Scottish studies type use and clearly has an implication that it is an Irish folk song. I will look up the page again. THIS IS AN INTERNET RECORDING DATABASE NOT A CATALOGUE.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Dave
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 08:20 AM

Peter Laban, in that case they should change the description at the top of their website to:

"a national public reference archive and resource centre for
the traditional song, instrumental music and dance from, or performed in, Ireland


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: Paul Burke
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 08:22 AM

It is included in the Archive as two recordings made in Inishowen in 1984 and 1990. I believe that is totally legitimate in an archive dedicated to the songs sung by traditional singers. The lyrics are credited to Stewart Ross, perhaps as a result of your contact with them.

If you hold copyright on the song, you can require that those recordings be removed, thereby erasing the fact that the song had currency in Ireland at that period. You can take legal action against them for damages sustained, which will incur legal expenses that you may not recover as the damage would appear to be minimal and the action disproportionate. You may be able to require as a condition for retention in the archive that it be labelled as a song of Scottish origin.

In all this, note that the tune (as distinct from the lyrics) is credited to others, including the accordianist Iain McLachlan, but that that attribution is also not certain.

Note also that anyone is as free as Stewart Ross was to compose other lyrics to this air, as others have done including apparently Mike Oldfield. Provided, of course, that those lyrics are sufficiently different from Ross's to constitute a new composition, and provided they comply with any extant copyright concerning the tune.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 08:26 AM

Not necessarily. Their main focus is Irish Traditional Music and that will be the archive's core collection. It is only natural there will be areas in the collection that, while relevant to the core collection, will not be 'Irish Traditional Music'.

It is also worth considering the long standing influences Irish and Scottish music, and indeed English and American music, have had on eachother. Each sending songs and tunes across and adapting and adopting them into their own national repertoire. It has been going on for centuries and it isn't going to stop any time soon.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Alan Ross
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 08:37 AM

I wish I'd never started... Peter my intention is not that heavy... Grace Toland who performed it was lovely in giving credit and a pleasure to deal with. All I am saying that a couple of words saying that it is a Scots song, often performed in Ireland would have fully set the record straight.   I was however, getting at the principle is it the singer/performer or the song that creates its national identity? Here is the link

http://www.itma.ie/inishowen/song/dark_island_grace_toland


As a stand alone page, by its design you would make the assumption that it is an Irish song! There may be caveats elsewehere but not on the page for the song.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 08:40 AM

It had never occurred to me that a people's culture could not include borrowings and adoptions of things from elsewhere. 'Cultural heritage' might be something different I suppose.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: MartinRyan
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 08:47 AM

Incidentally.....

The aforementioned Grace Toland (beautiful singer, from Donegal) was recently appointed Director of ITMA!

Regards


p.s. Thank you, Peter Laban, for the point re the British Museum - but for the need to make a cup of coffee, I'd have gotten there before you! ;>)>


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Alan Ross
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 08:55 AM

I think Grace is a lovely singer, and handled the crediting with good Grace. I just think they are wrong in not clarifying the song origins as part of a database promoting itself as an Irish cultural resource.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 08:55 AM

Is the linked recording in the ITMA part of Ireland's 'rich oral heritage'


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: Paul Burke
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 09:04 AM

In looking round the web, I see that Alan Ross has been incorrectly claiming that his father also owned copyright on the tune, as the first to record it, for example Copyright in a tune belongs to whoever records it in a fixed form and from that moment it cant be used without permission. This is not justifiable. That copyright either belongs to its composer, or, if the tune is traditional, copyright may exist in a particular trnscription of that tune.

From the PRS website:

Copyright law states that if you write down a traditional song, this transcription becomes a copyright work. The copyright lies in the transcription and not in the traditional song.

This means the transcription is copyright. It may not be copied, reproduced, published, publicly performed or adapted unless permission is obtained from the transcriber. However, this does not prevent people from transcribing from the same source. By doing this they create their own copyright - even if their transcription is note for note the same as an existing transcription.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Alan Ross
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 09:07 AM

Re- Is the linked recording in the ITMA part of Ireland's 'rich oral heritage'. Somebody who gets it...


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,alan Ross
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 09:15 AM

No FIRMLY CAN I STATE NOW THAT IT IS NOT COPYRIGHT IN THE TUNE BUT IN THE LYRICS WHICH WERE COPYRIGHTED SEPARATE TO THE TUNE IN SHEET MUSIC AND RECORDINGS from 1963. Then a dispute arose over the tune... god there are hundreds of entries discussing the dispute.   My father won an out of court settlement with one record company for the use of the lyrics. The tune as far as I'm concerned belongs to Ian Maclachlan.

What has never been in dispute is that the words separate to the tune have their own copyright.   That is all I ever ask that the are credited to stop the drivel over where they originated from. The copyright issue over the tune is irresolvable


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 09:15 AM

Last week at the Willie Clancy Summer School there was a night under the banner of 'Éirinn is Alba'. This has in recent years become an annual event celebrating the links between Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy and Gaelic Scotland. The event goes out live on RTE Raidió na Gaeltachta.

ITMA records this event, and all other events at WCSS. Several musicians and singer from Scotland took part in the concerts at the school. Including Alan McDonald, Alana McInnes, Maighread Stiùbhart, Murdo McMacDonald.

At the singers recital Aodhán Ó Cheallaigh sang Willie O' Winsbury. Because he loved the song when he first heard it (and a lovely job he made of it too).

Including any of these items in the ITMA collection does not amount to cultural appropriation. It merely highlights the close connections and influences (and appreciation) between the different countries.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,08:55
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 09:19 AM

Someone else took the phrase from a Scottish resource

Try putting this Ireland site:http://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk in the Google search box.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 09:22 AM

Always a bit difficult with things like "Irish Traditional Music Archive". Is it an archive of traditional music held in Ireland or is it an archive of traditional Irish music. Makes the point that people need to be careful how they say something as, if something can be misinterpreted, it will!

What is this thing called love?
What IS this thing called, love?
What! Is this thing called love?

:D tG


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Alan Ross
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 09:24 AM

I get you Peter.   In Inverness in the 1980's we had a regular country scene, and a lot of cross-over influences.   Daniel O' Donnell was up here liked my father's song 'My Bonnie Maureen' - as: "See I keep saying that Scottish songs and Irish songs are very much alike, and they are - and this is just a song that is very very nice" Daniel O' Donnell 1988.

If we hadn't had that the cultural exchange he wouldn't have recorded it.   And at least Stewart Ross wrote the whole of that one!


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Alan Ross
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 09:27 AM

I love Dave the Gnome's comment - a Gnome after my own heart...


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 12:01 PM

"Is it an archive of traditional music held in Ireland"
Yes.
As far as traditional song is concerned, while there are many songs where the origins are identifiable, many more are of unknown origin and could be from anywhere.
Collector, Tom Munnelly identified 50 Child ballads which had survived among field singers up to the 1990s here, though some had disappeared from the repertoires elsewhere; unlettered Travellers were particularly important in keeping the older songs alive.
They hadn't been 'claimed' by they Irish - they had become Irish -
Twenty years ago, you couldn't throw a stone around here without hitting an elderly singer who didn't know Lord Lovel, or The Suffolk Miracle.
We are getting songs from a 95 year old singer who has given us Lord Lovel, Lord Bateman, Katherine Jaffaray, The Keach in the Creel, The Girl with a Box on her Head.
Other songs we have recorded include Captain Wedderburn, The Cruel Mother, The Blind Beggar ('s Daughter), Lord Randall, Edward, Lamkin, Famous Flower of Serving Men........ all Irish versions of standard traditional songs.
Among the rarest found over here were The Maid and the Palmer, The Demon Lover, Prince Robert, Johnny Scoot and Young Hunting, probably the finest piece of ballad singing I have ever heard from a field singer (an elderly Traveller, accompanied by the sound of his son cutting up firewood to sell, in the background)
In the 1980s, we recorded a story from an elderly Clare man living in London, it included 2 verses from a song I have never heard sung, 'The Mercahnt and the Fiddler's Wife' - I was eventually able to trace it in Thomas D'urfey's Pills to Purge Melancholy (published between 1698 and 1720)
There are many examples of songs regarded as 'English' or 'Scots' which have taken root over here and have become 'Irish', or might even have originated here - as nobody has managed to confirm the origin of most of our folksongs, it is somewhat 'premature' to designate them as having come from anywhere in particular, and any archive worth its salt must include as wide a selection as possible if our song tradition is going to make sense.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Alan Ross
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 12:59 PM

I understand that, but there is a vast difference in old trad. style folk songs and more modern works already recorded, whose nationality is already known in databases..

I am talking in general terms. 'Field recordings' of the 50's and 60's were being archived by the likes of the School of Scottish studies, that was fine for that era.   But surely we are in an age where you don't just take a recorder out and archive everything without looking into where stuff came from - and then claim it is from your culture because its sung by a local? Being a collected tape field recording gives a kudos and a mystique that it is somehow a hidden gem.

If there are copyright disputes (I am not referring to an individual song), caused by the interpretation of a song's inclusion as being an Old Irish song, even if it isn't Irish or completely old - who is responsible?

Also as I said before, there are cultural courses at high levels, with people studying 'Trad. music' - so it sets potential traps in their research.   Academic ethics should surely mean that if you know a song has a definite point of origin, you shouldn't really create confusion by muddying the waters.

I certainly am more than happy with the singing of 'Dark Island', I just think that it could have been helpful to put in 'this song is Scottish, but well known in Ireland'.   Or as I said before is it because of the singer that you are (effectively) making it Irish?


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 01:24 PM

so it sets potential traps in their research.

I don't think so. Even a casually interested wanderer on the internet (me) has no problem finding information about songs and tunes if it is out there. Being still in copyright gives a mechanism for getting the information out there.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 01:42 PM

"but there is a vast difference in old trad. style folk songs and more modern works already recorded"
I agree entirely.
" But surely we are in an age where you don't just take a recorder out and archive everything without looking into where stuff came from"
Again, I'm with you, though I'm not sure how those who believe all songs are folk songs if they are sung in a pub, or at a folk club handle that one
Many of the singers I know are not computerised (certainly the old crowd weren't) and would tell you that songs like The "Dargle" (Derby) ram were as Irish as Shamrocks.
Professor Horace Beck's study, 'Folklore and the Sea' documents 'Bonnie Shoals of Herrin' as being "collected in Dingle, County Kerry in 1969, and says, "this is typical of songs popular among fishing flleets, up to this day (ten years after the song was written.
We have recorded Freeborn Man , Dirty Old Town, Come Me Little Son... and other songs from Travellers who swore they were Travellers songs - one Traveller family sings 'The Springhill Mine Disaster' on the streets of our market town every Saturday.
"who is responsible?"
Personally, I find people who write and copyright songs and claim them to be folk as wanting to have their cake and eat it.
One of the strangest things I learned recently was from a Mudcatter (Don Firth?) who drew our attention to a college course on folksong which advertised as "starting from (some pop group whose name escapes me) - bloody insane!
MacColl used to dream of a time when newly written songs would be taken up and absorbed into a revived oral tradition, but he never claimed it as having happened to his own songs, and he never lived to see it happen - nor, I believe, shall any of us.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 01:49 PM

Yeah, I kind of understand but ..like Chinese whispers if a song is in an Irish Traditional Music database, has a field recording with the mystique of "it was recorded in this area"...label by an organisation whose aims are to promote Irish music. Doesn't that eventually filter down?

Anyway, I guess Youtube may be the new field resource, when you look at it it - creates a whole new way of gathering music 'of the people'.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Alan Ross
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 02:02 PM

The ironic thing is that when my father was alive, the major classic style Scottish folk artists wouldn't touch many of his songs.   They were too simple (not wordy enough), or too corny, heather and haggis...

But there you go.   I want my father to be remembered for the ones he did write the whole of - but there are two ones where he only wrote the lyrics (Dark Island and My Mother) that keep coming back..
So I always say if you like that one why don't you listen to this one where he did write both music and lyrics.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 03:21 PM

I will certainly look some up, Alan. I have always been very partial to Scottish music and look forward to hearing more. Thanks again.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Alan Ross
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 04:17 PM

Thanks Mr. Gnome - my father was a purveyor of cheese - but it's horses for courses. Stewart Ross wrote a few of songs about being far from home - and lived all his life in Inverness. Never went further than singing in England and National Service, which is why it's funny when you read wonky stories on the Internet that this song or that song must have been written by an emigrant and taken over to this place... Just used to think himself into the role.. He wrote a well known tartan song 'Here's To Scottish whisky' and didn't drink the stuff.

Really there aren't that many that are any good, but a few Country and Scottish ones still stand up in their genres. But the heyday of Tartan Music has gone!


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 04:43 PM

Alan,
Of course educational institutions and archives have an obligation to present the sources of their holdings wherever possible. This is not possible in every case, however, and in my opinion anyone who feels strongly about a wrong or missing source has an obligation to contact that institution and give them the opportunity to make amends, especially in today's world where this can be done by clicking a few buttons.

As for folk performers at grassroots level, we tend to take what we like and use it without too much thought about its ultimate source, and that was ever the case.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Alan Ross
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 04:57 PM

Fully understand, I am very grateful that the lovely Grace Toland altered the credit to have my father's name on - so it looks like I'm pushing too far if I ask them to just put in that it is Scottish. It's done.

Initially, this was just a discussion in general about what makes a song belong to a national culture and how we classify them and identify with them. Plus the academic aspects of modern collecting... and putting archives on the Internet.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 07:07 PM

Joe come on and read what I said. I never suggested there was anything wrong with anyone singing "Dirty Old Town" and relating to that said song and it having resonance for them and their locality. In fact I said that songs are the property of the whole world. I simply suggested that there is nothing wrong with knowing the origins of a song and for me I like to know the origins. It is wrong though to attribute a song incorrectly.

And yes there are connections between Scotland and Ireland just as there are connections between Scotland and England and connections between all of us. The songs I mentioned though were not Irish songs in any way. One was written by a guy who was born and brought up not far from where I live here in the Scottish Borders and had moved to Australia. He wrote it shortly after visiting British World War I graves whilst touring Europe. The second was written by an Englishman of Scottish parentage who was born and brought up in Salford and the song was written specifically as a musical interlude for his play set in the said place.

Of course there is nothing wrong with anyone relating to these songs but it is simply incorrect to claim them as Irish songs! Which is what happens a lot of the net. "No Man's Land" is no more an Irish song than "I Would Walk 500 Miles" by The Proclaimers is an English song. Scotland is closer to England than it is to Ireland and is culturally shares lots with England too. There is probably more that connects us culturally than what separates us. That doesn't make Scottish songs English though!


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 07:50 PM

2we tend to take what we like and use it without too much thought about its ultimate source"
Which is basically why the folk traditions are the least understood of all the art forms
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 08:19 PM

Try this one.. 'My Mother' recorded by the Fortune Bays sons. I originally found this version on YouTube. It was destined to become a Newfoundland song and they were trying to add it to their canon... they had credited Stewart Ross as originator of the lyric (but gave it the wrong title Mike's Mom). There are a few words wrong which spoils the poetry of my father's words, and also its performed at a much faster pace than usual.

The guy who did the video has amended the text to acknowledge the Scottish roots of both the modern words and the music.

The version being sung isn't quite correct, and I have posted the full correct lyrics for the song on the current 'mother' song link.

The lyrics were written in 1975, and some Scottish Gaels may feel its a 'bastardization' of their culture. However, at the time he wrote the lyric he was unaware of there being any other lyrics, as 'My Mother' or 'Mo Mhathair' was in many Scottish dance band recordings as a 'Trad. instrumental' and registered as such.   98% of his works are wholly original words and music - but 'My Mother' and 'Dark Island' are just lyrics only.   You can however, see my father's penchant for writing lyrics about being far from home...

www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cl1mRv7gL20


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 14 Jul 15 - 02:36 AM

My experience is that folk singers mostly do know where the song comes from or at least where they think it comes from. Here in the Borders at least tune players tend to be of the two kinds. Some knowing lots about the tunes - others not even remembering what some of the tunes are called never mind where they originated.

I'm talking though not necessarily about folk performers and enthusiasts but about people in general - especially on the likes of youtube etc. And I'v seen also what one poster up the thread describes where it is pointed out that a certain song isn't actually Irish (for instance Dirty Old Town) and the other poster suggests it is just "the English" trying to steal Irish culture. There are clips where, for instance, Luke Kelly introduces the song as being about Salford - but even if you guide people towards that they still won't have it. For some reason some people need these songs to be Irish and get quite agitated when it is suggested that they aren't. It is very strange. As I said there is nothing wrong with knowing where songs come from and in many cases that enhances the song's meaning. And of course it is not just an Irish thing it just seems to more common with them. However I've seen people here convinced that certain songs are definitely Scottish with that being based seemingly solely on them first hearing the song being sung by the Corries or the fact that pipe bands have taken to playing the tune!


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: Megan L
Date: 14 Jul 15 - 11:15 AM

OOOH Allan how could you everyone knows Highland Cathedral was written by a Scotsman, he couldn't help it if his birth certificate says h'es German :)


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Jul 15 - 11:33 AM

That of course opens the question 'when is a song a ... song (take your favourite or not nationality or ethnic background)?'.


Falls a song written by a scots/Irish/English/German/Italian or Dutch-person automatically to that nationality or is there something more needed?


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Jul 15 - 11:43 AM

Ahh! Highland Cathedral - that well known modern German work, which many a Scots piper has claimed as Trad. 'old Scots' That is the subject matter theme that makes it Scottish, not the nationality of the writer. Deliberate faux nationality.

Probably thousands of examples of that... Johnny Cash - 'Forty Shades of Green' etc.   - song subject matter makes it Irish.

More confusing is the likes of 'Wild Mountain Thyme' adapted in modern times, by the Irish and then re-acquired by the Scots.   

As I said before on the crazy example here an album called 'My Irish Roots' - song 'Highland Road' performer Dundee's 'Denis Clancy'. Scottish song, Scottish writer, Scottish Performer - Irish record company eejit (not intended as any slur on the Irish themselves). How Irish is this?
"
"...Then I'll march along to a Scottish song on the road that's wild and free, though the lonely glens by the Highland Bens - it's the Highland Road for me" author/composer Stewart Ross


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Alan Ross
Date: 14 Jul 15 - 12:46 PM

To balance things up, as I just wrote. with Highland Cathedral - which is Scottish themed modern and written by Korb/Ulrich
There should have been no excuse for some (not all) careless pipers claiming trad. - as that work is so modern and easy to trace.   I think that's another matter.

However, it also is related to a Culture being proud of a tune and making it completely Scottish by removing 'its history' - totally absorbing it. At least the writers intended it as Scottish.

With the tune 'Dark Island' - (NOT my father's lyric), I think there seems to be a need for some Irish performers/cultural parties to claim it for their culture - to be proud and propagate the idea that only their culture can create such a beautiful tune. Assimilate the work so totally, that you wipe out its past. And if you point that out I'm sure they'll say "well its Celtic". There's this Celtic/Gaelic pride thing that comes into it.   Celtic Pride overrides historical truth

I'm guilty of Highland pride sometimes!


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Jul 15 - 01:30 PM

But what is the scottish theme in "I Would Walk 500 Miles" by The Proclaimers then? Other than the Proclaimers being scottish it would seem pretty universal, thematically.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Alan Ross
Date: 14 Jul 15 - 01:34 PM

Ahh isn't that the fact the performers are Scottish, through and through - and Proclaim it through their accents identity and politics.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Alan Ross
Date: 14 Jul 15 - 01:41 PM

I should have said that 500 miles is not purely a Scottish folk song. A pop song, that happens to cross-over markets. But the original very broad accent - makes it instantly identifiable. When covered its just a pop song, but as its getting taken on by the public as an anthem then it would seem also to be a song that Disney have made a folk song for the world. So its both..


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Jul 15 - 01:46 PM

Oh and don't forget the word 'Haver' in the song. They taught the world about 'havering'.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Jul 15 - 01:46 PM

So Ronnie Drew singing, say, The Wild Rover or The Black Velvet Band in a broad Dublin accent WOULD give the song a claim to irishness after all?


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Alan Ross
Date: 14 Jul 15 - 01:52 PM

I meant to say about the Proclaimers, it wasn't just the performers being Scottish - but the fact that they wrote it. That's the big point I meant to say. And they use at least one Scottish word in the song as well, that gives it a cultural stamp.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Jul 15 - 01:54 PM

It looks to me you really want your cake and eat it.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Jul 15 - 02:03 PM

"WOULD give the song a claim to irishness after all?"
Doesn't need Ronnie Drew for either of them.
Both have been part of the Irish song tradition for at least a century.
One of the finest versions of 'Rover'IMO was recorded from Pat Usher of County Louth, brother of Mary Anne Carolan, one of Ireland's finest traditional singers - far superior to the one belted out at rugby clubs or in the pub at last orders.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Jul 15 - 02:26 PM

Have we mentioned Danny Boy yet ?

I am English but were it not for a career change I would have been living in Scotland and eligible to vote for Scottish independance. If I had stayed in Scotland and I wrote a song what nationality would it be ?

Is it like competing in the Olympics ?

Being English and slightly left-wing I don't really do 'national pride' but I can understand and respect it. However, it can be the thin end of the wedge of chauvinism. Back in the 1980's I experienced what Jack Campin reports early on in this thread. And some English pals of mine watched Braveheart in Perth; they didn't dare open their mouths until they were well outside the cinema.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Jul 15 - 02:31 PM

I used those two examples because earlier in this thread they were described as 'appropriated' by the Irish.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 14 Jul 15 - 03:05 PM

Do you know someting?

Whilst I generally conform to "Little Willow", how do you live with that?

It's just far too lovely for words.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 14 Jul 15 - 03:40 PM

We were beaten up in Great Yarmouth and my mate had a bottle in his face just because we had Scottish accents! Unfortunately that happens all over the place. Don't see what that had got to do with this thread though. Simply knowing and recognising where a song derives from is not chauvinism!

And as to "500 Miles" the facts are that it is a Scottish song. Written, recorded and performed by Scots. Why would it have to be specifically Scottish themed to be a Scottish song? Desperado and Lying Eyes by the Eagles aren't particularly American themed. Other nationalities can relate to them - but they are still American songs. I honestly can't see why some people seem to have an issue with recognising where songs originate!


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Subject: 'Nationality' of Songs
From: Joe Offer
Date: 14 Jul 15 - 09:43 PM

I have to way that I agree with Willie-o's comments in the DT Study thread:
    Thread #48865   Message #1060676
    Posted By: Willie-O
    25-Nov-03 - 01:22 PM
    Thread Name: DTStudy: The Dark Island
    Subject: RE: DTStudy: The Dark Island

    Oh man, this has totally given me a headache, more so every time someone tries to explain that "my father" wrote the "correct" or "official" version, without clarifying which version they mean. Sorry mates, I still don't get what you're after legally--royalties or just corrected credit, or suppressing certain versions which you consider inferior or a copyright infringement?   

    But what I've really just been trying to figure out: is South Uist the Dark Island? Or is it a real place at all? Or....?

    W-O



We who sing, just want to sing the songs. We don't want to get bogged down in legal battling over who has rights to what. We just want to sing the frickin' song. Lots of people won't touch "Dark Island" because there's too much squabbling over it, and too much uncertainty over who owns what rights. "Mingulay Boat Song" is another one - It was written by Hugh Roberton, but who owns it now? And what about the blues songs of the 1920s and 1930s, or the songs claimed to be "Carter Family" songs?

I'm all for paying songwriters for what they wrote - within limits.

Seems to me that "Dark Island" is a very engaging tune, and several people wrote lyrics to it of varying value. The version I prefer is "Isle of my childhood..." - but who owns it? And for this song, the lyrics are mostly forgettable, and it's the melody what people like. And who owns the melody? Isn't it traditional?

I just finished editing a songbook with 1200 songs, and I'm the one who got copyright permissions on the songs that were difficult to license. Most of the copyright holders were gracious and cooperative, there were a few "old gits" who made it difficult or impossible for us to print the lyrics and chords to their songs. At times, it could be aggravating. And it really possed me off when we had to pay royalties that were 100 years old, but some corporation had finagled a way to squeeze royalties out it anyhow. I can track Little Moses to 1840, but don't try to record the song without paying royalties to the Peer/Carter Family organization.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 15 Jul 15 - 04:04 AM

Seems to me that "Dark Island" is a very engaging tune, and several people wrote lyrics to it of varying value. The version I prefer is "Isle of my childhood..." - but who owns it? And for this song, the lyrics are mostly forgettable, and it's the melody what people like. And who owns the melody? Isn't it traditional?

No. It was a new composition.


I can track Little Moses to 1840, but don't try to record the song without paying royalties to the Peer/Carter Family organization.

If you reprint the version from the 1840s, exactly and with no changes to the arrangement, you don't owe them a cent.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: Joe Offer
Date: 15 Jul 15 - 04:48 AM

Who composed "Dark Island," Jack? Was it Mr. Ross's father? Did Ross Sr. pay royalties to that composer?

As for "Little Moses," the Ralph Peer organization has so vehemently protected Carter Family copyrights, that it's not worth the hassle to defy their claims. So, they get royalties for songs written a hundred years before the Carters were born.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Dave
Date: 15 Jul 15 - 04:48 AM

Its confusing also that different songs have the same title. When I heard that they were singing "500 miles" at the Commonwealth Games, I was wondering why it didn't sound like Hedy West's version. Of course its a completely different song. But I suppose that you cannot copyright a title. Probably there wouldn't then be enough titles to go round.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 15 Jul 15 - 04:54 AM

I agree about correct attribution. I may be picky, but how often do you see YouTubes that say "song by xyz" - might be SUNG by xyz, but not written by xyz. I can think of other examples: Adam McNaughtan songs credited to Matt McGinn, Matt McGinn songs credited to Alistair McDonald, in both cases, the singer being wrongly credited with authorship of the song, perhaps because these recordings are best known. And Thomas Walsh's lovely tune Inisheer being described as Trad on at least 2 CDs that I know of.

And as for Dirty Old Town, oft mentioned above:
"We are now going to sing an Irish song" -
Heckles from audience, "Oh no it's not" and "SALFORD".
After the band came off stage, had a quiet word with the lead singer:
"Oh, but everyone thinks of it as Irish" says he.
"Oh but it's not" says me. Just wonder if he'll change his introduction: probably not!


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Eddie1 - Sans cookie as ever
Date: 15 Jul 15 - 05:01 AM

Then of course, there is the time Si Kahn sang "Aragon Mill" in Ireland and was told that it was originally written about Belfast and he had "stolen" it!
We who know better realise it was written as a tribute to a character in "Lord of The Rings"!

Eddie


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: Paul Burke
Date: 15 Jul 15 - 05:05 AM

The fact is that every song or tune is based on some previous song or tune. Dark Island itself was apparently consciously written to conform with a style in which hundreds of similar songs were written, and the composer (in my opinion correctly) didn't feel that he needed to acknowledge that tradition, simply because it was obvious. Indeed, it being written for a TV programme, an atonal, rhythmically complex exploration of the fringes of meaning wouldn't have filled the bill quite as well.

As for the tune, has anyone noticed the similarities between this tune and another song of exile by a composer who never left the area, Cliffs of Dooneen?


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Jul 15 - 05:11 AM

Unfortunately that happens all over the place. Don't see what that had got to do with this thread though. Simply knowing and recognising where a song derives from is not chauvinism!

It has to do with the subject of the thread (not knowing where a song derived from) when you come across a couple of drunken Liverpool Irish who won't believe anything sung by the Clancy Brothers or Dubliners is not Irish. Hint - don't try to enlighten them.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Jul 15 - 05:16 AM

Though I might defer to Tattie Bogle's experience with tactful correction.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: henryclem
Date: 15 Jul 15 - 05:31 AM

Sometimes mis-attribution is down to laziness, or lack of research - I remember years ago the BBC did a programme on connections between Irish and American music;   it featured Emmylou Harris, Mary Black and Dolores Keane singing "Grey Funnel Line" without commenting at all as to its source or subject (the unmistakeably English Cyril Tawney and the Royal Navy).   

From my own point of view I am proud that one of my songs is included in the Yorkshire Garland's Industrial and Mining Songs - and it is entirely appropriate that it locates to Yorkshire, sung by a true Yorkshireman (and mudcatter - Ray Padgett) rather than my own West Country.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Jul 15 - 06:10 AM

"a couple of drunken Liverpool Irish"
Bit of racial stereotyping her, methinks.
Must be a Brit!!
(I'm from Liverpool of Irish descent b.t.w. but please don't feel you have to apologise)
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 15 Jul 15 - 06:14 AM

when you come across a couple of drunken Liverpool Irish who won't believe anything sung by the Clancy Brothers or Dubliners is not Irish. Hint - don't try to enlighten them.

That is more or less what Adela Peeva's film is about, transplanted to the Balkans and backed up with guns. Really, check it out, you won't regret it.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Jul 15 - 07:12 AM

Bit of racial stereotyping here, methinks.

No, a reference to an actual incident. I would be surprised if anyone who plays Irish-sounding tunes in England has not come across the people at the bar, with Irish connections of some sort, asking for Irish songs that are not actually Irish.

Nowadays it can be laughed off. In the 1980's (I don't know about the 1970's) it could get nasty, as the same voices often asked for, or started, 'rebel songs'. Especially since the musicians often included people from both traditions in the north.   But you must know that Jim.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Jul 15 - 07:15 AM

Must be a Brit!! Bit of racial stereotyping here, methinks. Oh, sorry I now see it was a joke.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: Thompson
Date: 16 Jul 15 - 07:08 AM

The Republic of Ireland and Her Dominions Across the Seas…

Would it be possible to ask the ITMA either a) to wall off foreign music as "non-Irish music performed by Irish musicians", or b) to remove foreign music from its site altogether?


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Jul 15 - 07:23 AM

"to remove foreign music from its site altogether?"
Please no
No serious archive worth its salt omits music from elsewhere - putting folk music into international context is an essential part of its being understood.
"No, a reference to an actual incident."
Your remark was a general one, wherever that incident might have been.
"Hint - don't try to enlighten them."
I was once beaten up by three very drunken Chelsea supporters - does that mean I should have given a wide berth to Stamford Bridge (I do anyway, but that's beside the point!!)
"I now see it was a joke."
It was
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Dave
Date: 16 Jul 15 - 10:55 AM

Thompson, all that I think ITMA should do is to remove from the front page of its website the statement that it is "a national public reference archive and resource centre for the traditional song, instrumental music and dance of Ireland", and replace it with something more general and more accurate.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Jul 15 - 12:25 PM

"for traditional song, instrumental music and dance in Ireland" perhaps ?


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 16 Jul 15 - 12:35 PM

You might notice ITMA's choice of "for" rather than "of" in that quoted description. They are making no claim to have exclusively Irish material.

There is nothing at all wrong with it.

The US Library of Congress would be a pretty small collection if it only had books written by Congressmen.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Dave
Date: 17 Jul 15 - 04:27 AM

But if the US library of congress described itself as "a public library and reference centre for the literature and traditions of the United States", and it had books in it by non-US authors, it would be wrong, wouldn't it? It doesn't describe itself that way as far as I can see.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Jul 15 - 03:04 PM

There's a lot of pedantry going on here. Any institution/library etc. is not bound to have material exclusive to its title. Titles are short and snappy for a good reason. If they were to include in their title all of the genres they covered it would take us a year to read the title.

Personally I am quite happy if I can go to an institution and find what it says on the label, regardless of what else is in there. As long as the bulk of its holdings are covered by the title most of us would be happy.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Dave
Date: 17 Jul 15 - 03:15 PM

Not at all Steve, as evidenced by the fact that the US library of Congress does indeed describe itself accurately in a few words as:

"The Library's mission is to support the Congress in fulfilling its constitutional duties and to further the progress of knowledge and creativity for the benefit of the American people."

Nothing at all wrong with that. It does not claim nor even infer that all, or even that majority of its holdings are American or part of American tradition.

The problem I have with ITMA is that it does describe itself as:

"a national public reference archive and resource centre for
the traditional song, instrumental music and dance of Ireland"

when quite a lot of the material it holds is not part of Irish tradition at all. This clearly offends when material it holds is the intellectual property of people who are not part of Irish tradition. Not in all cases, but clearly some.

This could quite easily be solved by ITMA being a bit more careful about how it describes itself and its holdings.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: Joe Offer
Date: 17 Jul 15 - 10:28 PM

But Dave, what is "Irish tradition"? Ireland has a large Polish community, especially in the Dublin area. Isn't their dance and music part of "Irish tradition." When I've attended instrumental sessions in Ireland, I've seen many young Asians - isn't their music part of "Irish tradition"?

And what about the Irish emigrants who live in England, the US, and other parts of the world - is their music part of "Irish tradition"?

I think Ireland is more of a melting pot than people might think, and the true Irish tradition is far broader than you seem to think it is.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Jul 15 - 03:04 AM

This is a remarkable example of a good archive of traditional music should work, and an extremely generous offer.
Bi-centinery series
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Dave
Date: 18 Jul 15 - 04:25 AM

Joe,

Sure, people are much more mobile than they used to be, and all of the nations of the UK, and also the Republic of Ireland, have many more people from other cultures than was the case even a decade ago. Some people don't like this fact, as I am sure you are aware, I am not one of them. But they bring their cultures with them. So if a musical group of Polish immigrants in Dublin, London or Glasgow are singing Polish folk songs, or dancing Polish dances in Polish national costume, then this is part of Polish tradition, not Irish, English or Scottish tradition. If a group of Irish immigrants to the UK are singing Raglan Road, it is part of Irish tradition. If they are singing Dirty Old Town, it is not.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Jul 15 - 06:59 AM

"So if a musical group of Polish immigrants in Dublin, London or Glasgow are singing Polish folk songs, or dancing Polish dances in Polish national costume,"
They become part of those places' street traditions and are worthy of being archived as such - as were |London street musicians (German musicianers) in the 19th century) immigrants have always brought their songs with them and, if they settle anywhere, those songs become part of that tradition (if there is a living tradition to absorbe them).
Bit of an upside down argument anyway
Raglan Road is a poem by Patrick Cavanagh and Dirty Old Town is a modern song written by Ewan MacColl - neither are traditional songs from anywhere.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: Wolfgang
Date: 18 Jul 15 - 08:39 AM

I can get even more compliacted on the continent where not only people and songs move but borders as well.
Is an Alsatian folksong (in Alsatian, a German dialect) a French or a German folksong? Here, the solution is easy, for both counties involved would call it Alsatian, but Alsace never was a nation, so such a song would have no "nationality".
Annie of Tharaw (title of Longfellow's English transalation): The song was originally written in a local dialect (Low German with some Slavian words), translated centuries ago into High German. The monument for Annie stands in Lithuania, Tharaw is now in Russia.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Alan Ross
Date: 18 Jul 15 - 10:40 AM

Hi! Thread readers- I should never have started!   I have been trying to get on with real life... So anyway, my original (stupid moan) that a song was on a cultural database, very prominently headed as a source of Irish song. Either with words, or just the music, which was previously well documented as a Scottish work.   This creates a myth surrounding the song, or other works that they hold. And if people turn to that resource, then they'll make an assumption based on the context of where it's been placed.   

I am talking about modernish folk songs - and I'm sure it works all ways with the Scots and the Irish and all nationalities being just as guilty of this.   

In copyright terms - don't trust all registrations.   A registration is just that.   You can have many works under the same title.   Many works become wrongly credited as Trad. depending on who is a member of the copyright society and who isn't, and whether their publishers notice and remove the false registration. Also there are just many printers errors, human errors (at the societies giving out licensing information) etc.

'Dark Island' as a tune has wrongly been listed as trad. due to the publishers being unable to deal with every case and remove all the worldwide breaching registrations and claims and the licensing societies accepting the registration. Who has the money or time to remove every false credit with a worldwide viral tune, that is so well known, but bogged down in rumour?   They would be there forever.

I don't want to go in to the history of the tune, which is well documented in other threads. Also, Ian Maclachlan has family so you have to always bear in mind that when circulating rumours. You can hurt living people, even though he himself is now deceased. I can't understand though, why the publishers did not fight off Mike Oldfield's Trad. registration... but it's not my business....   

The Irish tag is now frequently applied to the tune - which is clearly wrong - but we are part of this Celtic diaspora exchange. I never usually see the tune listed as being 'Welsh' origin though!

My own pedantic attitude was probably formed by my having worked on archaeological archives and research, objectively transferring historical information. My apologies for that!

There are loads of historical, cross-cultural songs 'Wild Mountain Thyme' (bit half n' half with McPeake modern re-arrangement) etc. But my 'beef' was in fairly modern songs' origins being 'fudged' for a certain purpose.

Dave's comment of today 18th is pretty much what I meant.. and far cleverer and relevant than I could have written about the Tags we give to songs, and cultures by style, nationality and performer - and in MODERN terms who classifies it and why its part of their 'tradition'. The responsibility of whoever is creating an academic database is to have some historical regard for that.

In the original example I set out all I said was that there should have been a note that it is a Scottish song, often sung in Ireland. If it had been a Polish. American. Chinese song - my point would have been the same. The fact that they put in the location where it was recorded 'in the field' creates an implication that it originated from their nation.

Somebody previously mentioned Football terrace songs. That's an area where many cultural distinctions or copyright norms can go by the board - a no man's land - it's what takes off among the supporters. True folk music?


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Alan Ross
Date: 18 Jul 15 - 12:52 PM

Oh, nothing to do mix ups of origin. But getting the political national and cultural significance of a song wrong can cause problems. A member of my family (MOR singer) once naively sang Y'Viva Espania to Spanish tourists at a gig - unfortunately they were from the Catalonia region (many want independence). They weren't happy. That's getting the cultural identity of the audience wrong!


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Jul 15 - 03:20 PM

The labeling of songs, nationality and mytholigising. comes into this one.   In 1974, my father Stewart Ross wrote a wholly original (words and music) song called 'Here's To Scottish Whisky' for a TV program ceilidh sing-a-long. The song wasn't recorded or used, but was instead recorded in full on 'heather and haggis' style by the Tartan Lads. It was a title track of an EMI LP and then included on many compilations as a song representing Scotland and it's 'national drink'.

Not sung live that much though, as it's most famous recording had an orchestration.

Years later I find that a music writer has come out with a book 'Taboo Tunes' - a history of banned music. He's talking about the Irish having 'Whiskey in the Jar' and the Scots having 'Here's to Scottish Whisky' as being sung in American drinking dens, despite the subject matter being politically incorrect.   

The song didn't exist until 1974! Also, it was about as authentic as a plastic Nessie. My father didn't drink and wrote it to order.

The trad. music style idiom label given by record companies created a myth. An assumption was made that a stereotype heather and haggis song must be of a certain vintage. So that's why getting a song's chronology and documented story as well as its nationality is important, if not you propagate a myth.

I wrote to the author sent him documentation, interviews and press stuff - and he admitted a cock up.


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