Rosie Lindsay talks to Robert McQuistan about traditional music


Rosie Lindsay, 21 years of age, interviewed by Robert McQuistan about her research into traditional music in Dumfries and Galloway.

  • Interviewed: 8 August 2012.
  • Ref: DG2/4/1/2.
  • © European Ethnological Research Centre, 2013.

Robert began by asking Rosie about her recently completed research into traditional music in Dumfries and Galloway.

RL: My dissertation title wis ‘An Exploration of Traditional Music in Dumfries and Galloway’.

RMcQ: Wow, and that would have been a deep study was it?

RL: It was, it wis diffciult tae find anythin, any written sources about it because … Well, to be quite honest, the traditional music in Dumfries and Galloway’s quite under-appreciated, under-valued as opposed to like, maybe, the traditional music up in the Highlands or in Aberdeenshire or somethin like that. Nobody thinks of like tunes or songs from Dumfries and Galloway very easily. But there are like, a lot of song collectors an people ah know, like through, sort-of folk festivals and that, like, have their archives an lots of books full of songs from, like, from all over – particularly in Wigtownshire and also, sort of Sanquhar sort of area as well, ah mean it’s … there’s a lot.

RMcQ: Were you able to speak to, wis that part of the research speakin folks, maybe an hour?

RL: Wel, it was based on interviews mostly. Ah mean like because it … there wasn’t, like nothing on the internet really at all either. Eh, not any written sources. And most of the books ah looked at were about folk music in general, or, you know, because ah hud to do that as well, you did have to have some written material – ye know, take some quotes out of books.

Rosie and Robert then went on to discuss the state of folk music in Dumfries and Galloway.

RMcQ: Would you say that Scottish, or rather the folk scene in general is healthy in Scotland, or is it goin thorugh a down or an up, or, how would you …?

RL: Ah think it’s very healthy actually and it’s only goin tae get better. There’s a lot of younger people gettin more and more interested in folk music. It’s not very well funded in a lot of parts of Scotland which is a shame, but in the big cities like Glasgow an Edinburgh there’s a lot of folk music, an folk clubs, an lots o gigs on, but .. Even, even round about here, ah mean just this just this weekend there was a traditional music festival at the Swallow Theatre [near Whithorn], and ma friend Carol was playin and she’s from Aberdeenshire. And her and two other guys were playin on Saturday night and there was a concert on the Friday night as well and a workshop on the Sunday which we went tae. And that was about song collectin in Galloway which was very interesting. And, ye know it’s getting better round about here as well. But if your goin out more towards … They have concerts quite a lot in Corsach, a little village by Crocketford somewhere isn’t it? And Moniaive as well is full of music.

RMcQ: What’s Moniaive? What happens there?

RL: Eh, well we have … well it’s only just recently that they’ve started havin a session every Wednesday night but, they have, like, quite a few Festivals in a year. They’ve started the folk Festival ah think about ten well, about ten/fifteen years ago in the village and it’s just goin … It went from bein really very small – they were like havin or a concert and then they went for a tune at the pub – and now they’re getting a these, like massive bands in. And like Moniaive’s the most unlikely place – drive, you know if you ever drive through it – it’s the most unlikely place to have all these famous people runnin aboot. But, eh yeah, so ah mean it’s just amazin. And they always want tae come back when there’s not a festival on an just, like there’s a lot o musicians in Moniaive

RMcQ: So is it a weekend thing, or week …

RL: Yeah, weekend, weekend festivals. Ah mean there’s the Folk Festival which is the second weekend in May and then they have a beer and music Festival and Guitar Festival and Bluegrass festival [RMcQ: Gosh] and ah think there’s, ah think there’s others as well but ah can’t …

RMcQ: So they’ve made it a kind of music, music festival capital.

RL: It is, it is basically the, I would say the music hot-spot in Dumfries and Galloway, and ah would say … [RMcQ: Gosh, so there must be a committee runnin that and keepin it going? Oh definitely aye, ah mean there’s a lot o really committed people that … They’ve got the Choir there as well, the Cairn Chorus which is a lot, well, a few o ma friends are in that and that’s that’s great. And a lot of, they sing a lot of Burns songs, cause obviously like, ye know, well, like Annie Laurie an a that, it’s all about that sort o …

RMcQ: Burns collected songs, ye know, old songs and old tunes – he loved that, he absolutely adored that.

RL: Yeah, exactly so there’s a lot o that as well. Ah mean there’s a lot of history in Moniaive.

RMcQ; Yeah.