Item T-163 - Cape Breton Music Workshop

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Cape Breton Music Workshop

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  • Sound recording

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CA BI T-163

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  • 1981 (Creation)
    Beaton, Elizabeth Dr.
    Sydney (NS)

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1 audio reel

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Biographical history

Elizabeth Beaton grew up on a farm in Antigonish County. She was educated at St. Martha’s Hospital, St. F. X. University (BA Celtic Studies), Memorial University of Newfoundland (MA Folklore) and University of Manitoba (Ph.D. Interdisciplinary Studies). She served as a CUSO volunteer in Guyana from 1967-1969, and stayed on in Guyana until 1973. She taught courses in Folklore, Geography, and Community Studies. She spent 33 years at Cape Breton University, including as a Senior Researcher at the Beaton Institute. Her primary interests have always been the culture and traditions – and relevant societal milieus -- of Cape Breton Island. This has led her to study and write about immigration and ethnic relations; the steel industry; housing as a reflection of culture and status, agriculture and the livelihood of farmers especially in Inverness County. As a Senior Research Fellow with the Centre for Cape Breton Studies, her current area of study and writing is on the material culture of the gaspereau fishery as a farm income supplement. She is also active on a committee dedicated to bringing farmer immigrants to Cape Breton Island. Elizabeth now spends a great deal of her time gardening, and cheering on the excellent young scholars who are involved in bringing a deeper and wider understanding of Cape Breton peoples and their respective cultures.

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Scope and content

College of Cape Breton, October 24-26, 1981
Part I

See notes in Transcription file

Sheldon MacInnis:

Norman MacDonald:
Presentation on Gaelic music
Characteristics of the music of the Celtic peoples, especially Scottish
"Highland" music
Tenacity of the Gaelic culture...
Notable geographical areas of Gaelic music
Celtic musical instruments & their effect on the vocal music
Different types of Celtic music: choral, church, mouth...
Description of milling songs, their function, quality, and structure
Milling song performed by member of the audience
"Luinneagan" - thought to be origins of milling songs
Structure of milling songs: leader, followers, chorus etc.
History of Collecting milling songs in Cape Breton
Song about interaction between early Scots & Mi'kmaq at Esakasoni
Role of the bard...
Historical discrepancies in bardic writings
Certain songs and poems become synonymous with Celtic settlement in Nova Scotia
Songs give converse views of the life of the early settlers
Gaelic song by Mae Cameron
The elegy - solemn, sometimes sorrowful, always serious
Mae Cameron: Gaelic song written by her father on the death of his wife
Norman MacDonald:
Gaelic song being composed in C.B.
A taped song by Archie MacKenzie
Comparison of a song sung by a twelve-year old girl in Scotland, then sung by Malcolm Smith

"'S e Cheap Breatuinn tir mo ghraidh" by Debbie & Susan MacNeil

Norman MacDonald:
The role of the chorus in the song
The "puirt-a-beul" or mouth music which came out of the proscription of the bagpipes
Oral transmission of music in Cape Breton as well as in Scotland

"Canntaireachd" (Sheldon MacInnis)

Development of rock bands in Celtic music (Norman MacDonald)
"Rock" Gaelic song by Malcolm Smith

Norman MacDonald:
Singing: a way of keeping communities close together
Musicians should become aware of the historical & cultural origins of the music
Gaelic singing tradition in C.B. is unique in North America
Gaelic language statistics - music is an extention of the language
Recognize the real Celtic music as opposed to popular trends

Debbie Meeks:
"Darling Maggie" Ballad
Explanation of the song & its traditional transmission
Her own experience collecting songs in Cape Breton
Important of life in the community while collecting
Her informants are found...
Allan Gwynn of Cape North - his life history
She sings a song learned from Jenny Joe Wilkie
"Blooming Johnnie"
Stanley Collins from Scotsville - composer and singer
Songs & stories about the "Judique Flyer"

College of Cape Breton, October 24-26, 1981
Part II
(CBI Tape)
See notes in Transcription file

Deborah Meeks, Halifax:
Songs & stories of the "Judique Flyer"
Cape Breton composers...
Contemporary style vs. traditional style

Kenzie MacNeil, Sydney:
Relationship between musicians and the Island
Metamorphosis of the culture from Scotland to C.B.
Clan system n the Highlands - new system in the New World
Modernization effected change...
Changes in rural Cape Breton...
Explanations of the "Dachaidh Miners"
Influence of radio on folk traditions
John Allan Cameron - how he helped the culture
Influence of scottish roots on song-writing
Singers & songwriters who use the traditional music...

Rita MacNeil, Big Pond:
"The Lupins" - reason for writing the song
Her problems in relation to "academic" music
"The Black Rocks" composed by Rita MacNeil
"The Old Man" - feeling about her father
Songwriting just happens...
"Broken Heart String" composed by Rita MacNeil

Buddy MacDonald:
"Retreat from Ross Ferry" composed by Buddy MacDonald
Comments on songwriting
"The Last Call for Summer" composed by Buddy MacDonald
Song composed on going to the "tar sands of Alberta to make my fortune"
"Home" composed by Buddy MacDonald
"To the Tar Sands and Back" composed by Buddy MacDonald

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