We are often asked where
the passion for this music has come from.
The Singers have a
long history in Australia, but that history pales next to the choral
tradition that we have sprung from.
The music of the Highlands
and Western Islands springs from an ancient oral tradition; for the elder
Gaels it was a way of shared knowledge, a repository of common history and
a storehouse of learning about people, about ways of life, and about the
Gaelic way of seeing the world.
The Mod in Scotland helps
keep alive the song tradition among our own people. Just think of the
thrill that sends the spine tingling with the massed voices at Murrayfield
or other games and sporting events, something primal and evident in all
cultures. Our group is far from numerous but there is a certain age old
joy at singing together. Something we in Australia tend to be losing in
our culture but is from our roots and distinctive.
The Singers are
aware of the connection music has to the history and of the need for an
endangered art form to be protected and regenerated with regard; but those
of us who have become exposed to it are captivated by the joy it can still
generate today. We don't tire of it; it remains fresh and vital.
Over the years, the way our
group has interacted with this history has changed. It means different
things to all of us and each one of the Singers has their own
reason for being involved. Among our group we have direct links with
accents intact and we have tenuous connections that stretch back over time
but connect deep inside at the inexplicable level. We have singers with no
apparent Gaelic connection at all -- they just love the sounds and
rhythms. We have some who love the challenge of singing in a language so
ancient and others that just love the stimulation of making words out of
apparently impossible groups of letters.
There are as many reasons
for enjoying this material as there are people singing and listening to
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