Scottish traditional music has been through a successful revival in the mid-twentieth century and has now entered a professionalised and public space. Devolution in the UK and the surge of political debate surrounding the independence referendum in Scotland in 2014 led to a greater scrutiny of regional and national identities within the UK, set within the wider context of cultural globalisation. This volume brings together a range of authors that sets out to explore the increasingly plural and complex notions of Scotland, as performed in and through traditional music. Traditional music has played an increasingly prominent role in the public life of Scotland, mirrored in other Anglo-American traditions. This collection principally explores this movement from historically text-bound musical authenticity towards more transient sonic identities that are blurring established musical genres and the meaning of what constitutes ‘traditional’ music today. The volume therefore provides a cohesive set of perspectives on how traditional music performs Scottishness at this crucial moment in the public life of an increasingly (dis)United Kingdom.
Table of Contents
1. Understanding Scotland Musically Simon McKerrell & Gary West Policy & Practice 2. Traditional music and cultural sustainability in Scotland Simon McKerrell 3. Traditional music, community organisations and public funding: the case of Glasgow Fiddle Workshop Jo Miller 4. The emergence of the ‘traditional arts’ in Scottish cultural policy David Francis 5. Where the Gaelic Arts and Non-Traditional Theatre Meet, A Song Discussion Fiona J. Mackenzie 6. Referendum Reflections: Traditional music and the performance of politics in the campaign for Scottish independence Mairi McFadyen Porosity, Genres, Hybridity 7. Traditional Music, Tertiary Education and an Argument for Post-Revivalism Josh Dickson 8. Slaying the Tartan Monster: Identity, Revivalism, and Radicalism in Recent Scottish Music Meghan McAvoy 9. ‘It Happens in Ballads’: Ballad, Identity and Community in The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart Stephe Harrop 10. The problem with ‘traditional’ David McGuinness 11. Salsa Celtica’s Great Scottish Latin Adventure Phil Alexander Home and Host 12. Distant voices, Scottish lives: On song and migration Morag Grant 13. The Globalization of Highland Dancing Pat Ballantyne The past in the present 14. Locating Identity in the Aural Aspects of Thomas Percy's Reliques of Ancient English Poetry (1765): a bibliographic perspective Danni Glover 15. Whirlpools, eddies and countercurrents in the carrying stream Stuart Eydmann 16. Performing Scottish fiddle music, or, the historicity of tradition Ronnie Gibson 17. Wynds, Vennels and Dual Carriageways: the changing nature of Scottish music Karen McAulay 18. Understanding Scotland Musically: Reflections on Place, War and Nation Gary West 19. Afterword Simon Frith
Simon McKerrell has interdisciplinary research interests focused upon the social impact of music and how this relates to policy. He is the author of Focus: Scottish Traditional Music (2015), and the co-editor of Music as Multimodal Discourse: Media, Power and Protest (2017). He is currently Associate Dean for Research & Innovation in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Newcastle University. He has previously held positions at the Universities of Sheffield, Glasgow and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and at the National Piping Centre in Glasgow.
Gary West holds a personal chair in Scottish Ethnology at the University of Edinburgh, where he also serves as Director of the European Ethnological Research Centre. His key teaching and research interests examine the ways in which we relate to the past from within the present, and he has published widely in the fields of folklore, tradition, heritage and traditional music. He is chair of Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland, a past board member of Creative Scotland, and he presents Pipeline, a weekly specialist music programme on BBC Radio Scotland. He is also an active musician, having toured widely in the UK, Europe and North America, and has performed on around 30 CDs.
“This is a highly valuable collection of essays on the subject of how we understand Scotland through its music…the book is a must-read for anyone interested in the practice of and changes to Scottish music in recent years and how these have reflected and reinforced wider Scottish society.” Frances Wilkins, Elphinstone Institute, University of Aberdeen.