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Lost Songs of St Kilda

michaelr 14 Jan 17 - 03:30 PM
Felipa 14 Jan 17 - 04:48 PM
Felipa 14 Jan 17 - 04:51 PM
michaelr 14 Jan 17 - 05:15 PM
The Sandman 14 Jan 17 - 05:35 PM
Gallus Moll 14 Jan 17 - 07:56 PM
Harry Rivers 15 Jan 17 - 03:50 AM
Felipa 15 Jan 17 - 11:21 AM
leeneia 15 Jan 17 - 11:26 AM
leeneia 15 Jan 17 - 12:24 PM
Jim Carroll 15 Jan 17 - 01:01 PM
Dave Hanson 16 Jan 17 - 02:30 AM
GUEST 16 Jan 17 - 09:09 AM
Steve Gardham 16 Jan 17 - 10:10 AM
FreddyHeadey 16 Jan 17 - 11:48 AM
leeneia 16 Jan 17 - 12:04 PM
meself 16 Jan 17 - 12:11 PM
Gutcher 11 Feb 17 - 03:45 PM
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Subject: Lost Songs of St Kilda
From: michaelr
Date: 14 Jan 17 - 03:30 PM

I just came across an ad for a 2016 CD by this title. It's an incredible story, very touching, and the music samples sound wonderful.

Has anyone here heard this CD, or know much about St Kilda?


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Subject: RE: Lost Songs of St Kilda
From: Felipa
Date: 14 Jan 17 - 04:48 PM

Thanks for that. I'm familiar with the story of St Kilda. I read Life and Death of St. Kilda: The Moving Story of a Vanished Island Community years ago. (I didnt remember author's name but have just looked that up - Tom Steele). And a bit more recently I went to a slide show/lecture by someone who had been on a National Trust work party at St. Kilda. But this is the first time I've heard about the "Lost Songs of St Kilda"; it's fascinating that the tunes were recorded off a man in a care home who had learned piano from a former resident of St Kilda.

One thing I always remember from the book was that the islanders had very high infant mortality until a nurse convinced them not to use bird dung to seal up newborn's umbilical cords. The infants had been contracting infections. And when I think of St Kildan's I think of them nimbly scaling cliffs to plunder sea bird's nest. There's also a story I don't think was in the book but which I heard at that talk in the Isle of Skye; about the aristocratic lady whose estranged husband exiled her to St Kilda. You can get further info. on line re Rachel Chiesley aka Lady Grange - on Wikipedia, at http://www.secretscotland.org.uk/index.php/Secrets/LadyOfStKilda ,
http://www.transceltic.com/scottish/remarkable-story-of-imprisoned-lady-of-st-kilda, etc and I see there is a book by Margaret Macaulay
The Prisoner of St Kilda; The True Story of the Unfortunate Lady Grange Luath Press, 2016


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Subject: RE: The Prisoner of St Kilda (poem)
From: Felipa
Date: 14 Jan 17 - 04:51 PM

"Scottish poet and translator Edwin George Morgan (27 April 1920 – 17 August 2010) wrote this poem 'Lady Grange on St Kilda', from Sonnets from Scotland (1984):

They say I'm mad, but who would not be mad
on Hirta, when the winter raves along
the bay and howls through my stone hut, so strong
they thought I was and so I am, so bad
they thought I was and beat me black and blue
and banished me, my mouth of bloody teeth
and banished me to live and cry beneath
the shriek of sea-birds, and eight children too
we had, my lord, though I know what you are,
sleekit Jacobite, showed you up, you bitch,
and screamed outside your close at Niddry's Wynd,
until you set your men on me, and far
I went from every friend and solace, which
was cruel, out of mind, out of my mind. "

http://www.transceltic.com/scottish/remarkable-story-of-imprisoned-lady-of-st-kilda


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Subject: RE: Lost Songs of St Kilda
From: michaelr
Date: 14 Jan 17 - 05:15 PM

Wow. That is one howl of a sonnet!

It is incredible to me how people of the past survived on those wind-battered outposts, such as Skelligs and Outer Hebrides. A tougher breed than we. Thanks, Felipa!


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Subject: RE: Lost Songs of St Kilda
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Jan 17 - 05:35 PM

st kilda was evacuated becvause of presbyterian religous maniacs, weho forbade them tro fish on a sinday, these sort of religous zealots are very strong on not enjoying anything but stopping any kind of enjoyment.


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Subject: RE: Lost Songs of St Kilda
From: Gallus Moll
Date: 14 Jan 17 - 07:56 PM

where did you get that from GSS?
My understanding (tho it's a while since I read the books / saw the documentaries) was that the population had dwindled, that a woman had (appendicitis?) but the only way of getting help was to send a mini boat with a note on it, hope it reached Harris, and by the time they sent help and took her away to hospital I think she died.... she was the mother of a young boy who was one of the last survivors of those who were relocated, having asked the government to evacuate them.
Now I have to go and read the books again -- -
Think the population survived more on seabirds than fish?
I have visited St Kilda, just for a short time- - it is amazing to be on an island whose picture you have seen so many times- - but I would not like to live there for any length of time!
(The NTS work parties are an interesting way of experiencing the island for three weeks while contributing to renovation and maintenance of the cottages)


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Subject: RE: Lost Songs of St Kilda
From: Harry Rivers
Date: 15 Jan 17 - 03:50 AM

The album is on Spotify for those that have access.

The simple piano of Tony Morrison makes for interesting listening.

However, God save us from the pillocks who think the tunes need the full orchestra treatment.

Harry


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Subject: RE: Lost Songs of St Kilda
From: Felipa
Date: 15 Jan 17 - 11:21 AM

yes, the people of Hiort/Hirta/St Kilda depended mainly on seabirds, not fish for nutrition. I read that the religious people who came to the island made life harder in a different way - banning past-times such as music which would have relieved some of the hardship of life on a remote island and making people spend long hours at dreary services. If the government wanted to encourage people to stay, they could have invested in services such as a regular mail boat and an air ambulance; but of course the authorities preferred to resettle islanders to less inaccessible places. Then the population dwindled to an untenable size and even people who wished to stay couldnt.

oh look at this from Wikipedia article "History of St. Kilda":

"One factor in the decline was the influence of religion. A missionary called Alexander Buchan came to St Kilda in 1705, but despite a lengthy stay there the idea of organised religion did not seem to take hold. This changed when Rev John MacDonald, the 'Apostle of the North' arrived in 1822. He set about his mission with zeal, preaching thirteen lengthy sermons during his first eleven days there. He returned regularly and fund-raised on behalf of the St Kildans, although privately he was appalled by their lack of religious knowledge. The islanders took to him with enthusiasm and wept when he left for the last time eight years later.

"His successor, who arrived on 3 July 1830 was Rev Neil Mackenzie, a resident Church of Scotland minister who greatly improved the conditions of the inhabitants. He re-organised island agriculture, was instrumental in the rebuilding of the village (see below) and supervised the building of a new church and manse. With help from the Gaelic School Society, MacKenzie and his wife introduced formal education to Hirta, beginning a daily school to teach reading, writing and arithmetic and a Sunday school for religious education.[9]

"Mackenzie left in 1844 and although he had clearly achieved a great deal, the weakness of the St Kildan's dependence on an external authority was exposed in 1865 with the arrival of Rev John Mackay, a minister in the new Free Church of Scotland. Mackay was a religious zealot who may have done more than any single individual to destroy the St Kildan way of life. He introduced a routine of three two to three-hour services on Sunday at which attendance was effectively compulsory. One visitor noted in 1875 that:

"   The Sabbath was a day of intolerable gloom. At the clink of the bell the whole flock hurry to Church with sorrowful looks and eyes bent upon the ground. It is considered sinful to look to the right or to the left.[10]

"The excessive time spent in religious gatherings began to interfere seriously with the practical routines of running the island. Old ladies and children who made a noise in church were lectured at length and warned of the dire punishments they could expect in the afterworld. During a period of food shortages on the island a relief vessel arrived on a Saturday only to be informed by the minister that the islanders had to spend the day preparing for church on the Sabbath and it was Monday before any supplies were landed. Children were forbidden to play games and required to carry a bible wherever they went. The St Kildans endured Mackay for twenty four years."
-----
regarding fish, the seabirds of today are having a hard time due to shortage of fish (which they need more than us humans do!):https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/dec/04/climate-change-threatening-puffins-kittiwakes-seabirds-st-kilda-scotland


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Subject: RE: Lost Songs of St Kilda
From: leeneia
Date: 15 Jan 17 - 11:26 AM

YouTube has some of the songs. Nice to listen to.


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Subject: RE: Lost Songs of St Kilda
From: leeneia
Date: 15 Jan 17 - 12:24 PM

Re St Kildan's leaving the island: Scotland needed them. They were the last people who knew how to pronounce Laphroaig.


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Subject: RE: Lost Songs of St Kilda
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Jan 17 - 01:01 PM

If you missed it, there is an excellent feature film called 'Ill Fares the Land' made some time in the 1970s I think, about the evacuation of St Kilda
The music production was done excellently by John Tams (??) who used recordings made by the BBC in the Hebrides in the early 1950s - none from St Kilda, unfortunately.
We have a poor copy made from T.V., we tried to acquire another but were told by the BFI that there was only one copy available and it was not their policy to make it available.
For further information, PM me.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Lost Songs of St Kilda
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 16 Jan 17 - 02:30 AM

I'm sure the people of Islay know how to pronounce Laphroaig, being the island where it comes from, and malt whisky lovers too.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Lost Songs of St Kilda
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Jan 17 - 09:09 AM

Following on from Jim Carroll's post:

re: "Ill Fares The Land" - Channel 4 1983 / Film 4 2008

This was a definitive and evocative film about the evacuation of St. Kilda in the 1930s

Does anyone have a copy of this, maybe taped during its airing in 1983 / 2008?

http://www.film4.com/reviews/1983/ill-fares-the-land

http://www.bfi.org.uk/films-tv-people/4ce2b72bb3286

Its was never released commercially. And there is no torrent available.

Many thanks.

ChrisJBrady


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Subject: RE: Lost Songs of St Kilda
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 Jan 17 - 10:10 AM

I imagine a good start for interested parties here would be a list of song titles if anyone has such.


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Subject: RE: Lost Songs of St Kilda
From: FreddyHeadey
Date: 16 Jan 17 - 11:48 AM

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Harry Rivers mentioned Spotify :

The Lost Songs Of St Kilda
By Traditional, Trevor Morrison, Scottish Festival Orchestra, James MacMillan
2016 • 14 SONGS

1. - Hirta - Trevor Morrison 2:08
2. - Soay - Trevor Morrison 2:04
3. - Boreray - Trevor Morrison 2:52
4. - Dùn - Trevor Morrison 3:33
5. - Stac an Armin - Trevor Morrison 3:37
6. - Stac Lee - Trevor Morrison 3:00
7. - Levenish - Trevor Morrison 4:11
8. - Stac Dona - Trevor Morrison 3:09
9. - Soay - arr. Rebecca Dale - Scottish Festival Orchestra, James MacMillan 3:49
10.- Stac Lee - Dawn / arr. Craig Armstrong - Scottish Festival Orchestra, James MacMillan 5:15
11.- Stac Lee - Dusk / arr. Craig Armstrong - Scottish Festival Orchestra, James MacMillan 4:06
12.- Stac Dona - arr. Christopher Duncan - Scottish Festival Orchestra, James MacMillan 4:04
13.- Dùn - arr. Francis Macdonald - Scottish Festival Orchestra, James MacMillan 4:33
14.- Hirta - arr. James MacMillan - Trevor Morrison, Scottish Festival Orchestra, James MacMillan 2:21

© 2016 Decca, a division of Universal Music Operations Limited
℗ 2016 Ace It Scotland under exclusive licence to Decca, a division of Universal Music Operations Ltd

https://open.spotify.com/album/0JXG4xmnrjtMznj4OrWUul


~~~~~
google, videos link
https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=lost+songs+of+st+kilda&tbm=vid



~~~~~
I've been listening to a few minutes of it so far.
Dreamy piano music. Feels well suited to background music at the chapel of rest.
I'd been expecting something more stormy & folky.


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Subject: RE: Lost Songs of St Kilda
From: leeneia
Date: 16 Jan 17 - 12:04 PM

Listen to this one, Freddie.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7qL9wcFr2dg

Slow it down, add deep bass, a little bodhran - it could sound threatening.


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Subject: RE: Lost Songs of St Kilda
From: meself
Date: 16 Jan 17 - 12:11 PM

Stac lee? Isn't he the guy who did in Billy DeLyons? Now we know where he hid out .....

*********************

FWIW: Some info. and reviews of a novel set in St. Kilda: https://ottawa.bibliocommons.com/item/show/618561026_island_of_wings .


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Subject: RE: Lost Songs of St Kilda
From: Gutcher
Date: 11 Feb 17 - 03:45 PM

Do the following two verses appear in any of the lost songs mentioned above?

From a St.Kilda song--to the tune The St.Kilda Wedding.

"Is truach nach robh mis"s giullachan
Air mullach Cleit Gadaig
Acuim air a sunnaradh
Us mise bhi gu h-aird oirr"



Song, words and music by Marion Gillies, St. Kilda.

"Gu rubh Ian MacGilliosa
Uair us usirigin a liobh rium
Ach o"n thain an t-iarl a Isl
Sguiridh e dha bhriodal beoil"

Both songs pre mid 19th. C.

The third line of the second song, with my complete lack of gaelic,
would appear to me to be referring to a Thane or Earl of Islay. Isl being that given for Islay in old charters.


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