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Euphemism & Eroticism in Scottish Gaelic

FreddyHeadey 10 Nov 16 - 08:08 AM
GUEST,JeffB 10 Nov 16 - 02:58 PM
GUEST,JeffB 10 Nov 16 - 03:43 PM
Thompson 10 Nov 16 - 05:21 PM
michaelr 11 Nov 16 - 12:57 AM
GUEST,Mike Yates 11 Nov 16 - 04:06 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Nov 16 - 05:58 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Nov 16 - 06:03 AM
FreddyHeadey 13 Nov 16 - 05:31 PM
Thompson 13 Nov 16 - 08:03 PM
Felipa 14 Nov 16 - 01:19 PM
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Subject: Euphemism & Eroticism in Scottish Gaelic Songs
From: FreddyHeadey
Date: 10 Nov 16 - 08:08 AM

Euphemism and Eroticism in Scottish Gaelic Songs


BBC r4 Woman's Hour Thursday 10th Nov 2016

"Scottish Gaellic folk songs, the women who wrote and performed them and the bawdy references that have been lost over time. With folksinger Anne Martin and Dr Peter Mackay."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b081l87k  skip to ~26:25


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

BBC r3 Sunday 13th November 2016 18.45
Sunday Feature
New Generation Thinkers
" Euphemism and Eroticism in Scottish Gaelic Songs

Dr Peter Mackay takes us on a romp through the titillating, bawdy and sometimes downright filthy Scottish Gaelic songs. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, there was a tendency to clean up Gaelic poetry and censor the undesirable elements, often with religious motivation. But even the most celebrated Gaelic poets wrote verse that was exuberantly and excessively rude and there is an oral tradition of obscene and euphemistic songs. Peter teases out the suggestive references taking us from the Isle of Skye through the rabble-rousing ceilidh house to the work of Scotland's most famous poet, Robert Burns."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b082k9db 


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Subject: RE: Euphemism & Eroticism in Scottish Gaelic
From: GUEST,JeffB
Date: 10 Nov 16 - 02:58 PM

Thanks Freddy, that was delightful.


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Subject: RE: Euphemism & Eroticism in Scottish Gaelic
From: GUEST,JeffB
Date: 10 Nov 16 - 03:43 PM

Anne says that the women concealed their waulking songs from English collectors, but in fact they must have been very much their own affair. I remember that many years ago the BBC featured some recordings of Gaelic waulking songs (probably in "As I Walked Out") and they had a furious letter of complaint from a highland gentleman saying how dare they pretend that nice Scottish lasses would sing such filthy lyrics.


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Subject: RE: Euphemism & Eroticism in Scottish Gaelic
From: Thompson
Date: 10 Nov 16 - 05:21 PM

I have been told that Peig, a book that has put generations off speaking Irish, being a prolonged moan about the horrors of 19th-century life on the Blaskets, was originally a collection of rather racy material, but a puritan and alcoholic transcriber swabbed its decks and turned it into the masterpiece of beautifully-expressed whinging that it now is.


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Subject: RE: Euphemism & Eroticism in Scottish Gaelic
From: michaelr
Date: 11 Nov 16 - 12:57 AM

That's interesting, Thompson. Who told you, and is there corroboration?


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Subject: RE: Euphemism & Eroticism in Scottish Gaelic
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 11 Nov 16 - 04:06 AM

I seem to recall being told that when Alan Lomax was recording waulking songs in the Western Isles in the 1950's the singers made up several verses about Alan, many bawdy, which Alan did not understand at the time. It was only later, in Edinburgh, when the songs were being translated into English that Alan realised what had been going on!


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Subject: RE: Euphemism & Eroticism in Scottish Gaelic
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Nov 16 - 05:58 AM

"I seem to recall being told that when Alan Lomax was recording waulking songs in the Western Isles"
This story is still current in Ireland
The women improvised the song about the handsome American's masculine attributes, starting with his hair and making their way down his body.
I believe Seamus Ennis, who had mastered Scots Gaelic, accompanied him and, as was his wont, allowed it to go on without letting Lomax know what was happening.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Euphemism & Eroticism in Scottish Gaelic
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Nov 16 - 06:03 AM

There is also the story of Lomax taking Ewan MacColl on a recording trip to Italy.
They were recording an old fisherman singing an extremely bawdy song and Ewan tried to get the singer to explain what it was about.
After several stumbling attempts, the very frustrated old man took out his penis and pointed to it.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Euphemism & Eroticism in Scottish Gaelic
From: FreddyHeadey
Date: 13 Nov 16 - 05:31 PM

re:OP
The Nov 13 programme is now available -
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b082k9db 

"The black mill is bustling and everybody wants to dance..."

Downloadable if you get it from
BBC iPlayer Radio on
https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=bbc+media+player 
...search for 'New Generation Thinkers' -


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Subject: RE: Euphemism & Eroticism in Scottish Gaelic
From: Thompson
Date: 13 Nov 16 - 08:03 PM

michaelr, it's a story that's been going around the Irish-speaking community for years. Here's an example of it: "?as I have been told by a younger personal friend of
Peig's, also a native Irish speaker, who visited her often at the Dingle hospital in her old age, in her latter years at least Peig had a rich fund of bawdy and earthy humor. She was not unwilling to discuss (maybe partly within the framework of quasi-humorous vocabulary discussion, a familiar genre in Gaeltacht conversation) the words in Irish for officially taboo topics involving sexual and physiological functions."
Here's a book with new material by Peig Sayers.


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Subject: RE: Euphemism & Eroticism in Scottish Gaelic
From: Felipa
Date: 14 Nov 16 - 01:19 PM

The story about the women gossiping in song about Alan Lomax reminds me of the time I was at a session of Sean Nós Cois Life in Hughes pub in Dublin. There was a young Australian woman who had been spending time in the Gaeltacht, I think in the Aran islands, and had learned to sing some songs in Irish very well indeed though she didnt speak the language well. She was singing some light song with a chorus along with an older native speaker and he was making up verses. I don't know how bawdy it was, but I did understand him singing that the woman was pretty and he would like to kiss her and he would marry her, that sort of thing. When I made a comment later to the Australian woman, she was surprised; she said she didnt know he was singing about her and she hadnt a clue what he was singing about.

For me it is difficult to remember and sing verses if I don't understand most of the words, so I was impressed at the singer's memory and pronunciation but there was something maybe tragicomical about native speakers having fun at her expense. Of course, her singing partner may have made up the same sort of verses in the company of a woman who really did "have the Irish" language.


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