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camanachd/iomain/Shinty - a cultural moment because there have been questions =)

There have been some questions about shinty, mostly from folks outwith Scotland.

One of the greatest shinty players to have held a caman is a musician named Gary Innes. He wrote a song called "The Caman Man" that's a bit of a devotion to the sport. Even though he plays the box and sings with a group called Manran (accent on the first a), the more commonly heard version is sung by Robert Robertson (formerly of Skipinnish, now of Tide Lines). You can find it with some proper shinty clips here:


And for those wanting a Runrig tie (because really, isn't there a Runrig song for everyone?! ;)), they did a song called "Clash of the Ash" -- and Gary commonly played the box with them in live performances.


Gary also presents a music programme on BBC Radio Scotland called, "Take the Floor" - it's all folk dance music. You can find that here:


I know none of this is directly related to learning the language but it's important to know that they didn't pick shinty or Runrig or guga or sgadan by accident - they are integral parts of the Highlands and/or Island culture; the relationship between the language, the music and the whisky is special and the threads weave together in a way one can't really describe or deconstruct so if you can, take it all in =)

** "the box" -> the accordion

January 27, 2020



I'd take a wee issue about calling ALL the music on TTF folk music, I'd class it more as traditional or in traditional style, which isn't necessarily the same thing as folk, though there are, of course, crossovers. Many TTF recordings are made during Scottish Country Dance sessions, and SCD is not folk dancing, though the tradition dates from the C18 at least. Judging by many dance names of the period, they were composed for members of "big house" families, but would also have been taught to, and danced by, employees of many ranks on the estate. Thousands of such dances exist, and are still being written, still often in commemoration of some person or event - and they are danced worldwide. They have links with contra-dances in many other traditions, e.g. English contra/country dance, French contre-danse etc. (Note that "country" is not actually "country", which misapprehension probably leads to the notion that they are folk dances - contra/contre is the clue - one dances with a partner who stands opposite one, in a set of variable length, but on average of four couples, and each couple interacts with all the others in the set, each taking a turn as lead couple.) I guess you can tell I've been doing these dances all my life, huh?


Take The Floor - when I was younger, that was the cue to switch off after Sportsound, and it was always (and I mean ALWAYS) on Radio Scotland whenever you switched it on. I'm a little bit older now, and live in England these days without easy access to it, so probably appreciate it a bit more when I hear it!


It would be too bad if we were all the same! In our house we kind of lurked with the radio off or tuned to a different station until the familiar tones of "Kate Dalrymple" announced that the evening had begun.

(As a wee girl I thought the tune was called "Cape Dalrymple" which seemed odd because I knew Dalrymple wasn't on the coast - my cousin was the minister there at the time - but I never said anything. It was an embarrassingly long time before the penny dropped.)


Thank you for this!


Thanks for the information! Very interesting!

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