What Work Is
We are storied folk

Tunes for a Monday Morning

Since we've been talking about work and labor of the hands, I've chosen a trio of Gaelic waulking songs this week, all recorded in Scotland for the Highland Sessions. Waulking songs were sung as part of the traditional process of "waulking" homespun cloth (particularly tweeds): beating it against a board or trampling it underfoot to soften it. This task was often done by groups of women together, and the songs drove the work with their beat.

In the video above, Margaret Stewart sings "He Will Go, He Will Go With Me." Below, Kathleen MacInnes sings "Gaol Ise Gaol (She's My Love)." The second song starts about 30 seconds into the video.

And last, my favorite:

Karen Matheson (of Capercaille) sings a very beautiful waulking song from Skye: "Chuir m'Athair Mise Dha'n Taigh Charraideach (My Father Sent Me to the House of Sorrow)."

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Comments

Writer’s Waulking Song

I am waulking the tweed of my writing,
Pushing, pounding, kneading my childhood,
I am stalking the beat of my memory
Bringing the old times home.

By myself I am waulking my writing,
Pushing, pounding, kneading my childhood,
Singing, talking the beat of my memory,
Bringing the old times home.

I am waulking the wool of my writing,
Pushing, pounding, kneading my childhood,
Stroking, poking the heat of my memory,
Bringing the old times home.

I am waulking the tweed of my writing,
Pushing, pounding, kneading my childhood
I am knocking the wheat of my memory
Blowing off the chaff of my memory,
Letting rise the bread of my memory,
Sewing tight the coat of my memory,
Digging deep the ditch of my memory,
Hauling in the catch of my memory
Bringing the old times home.


©2013 Jane Yolen all rights reserved

These really are delightful. Thanks

That's beautiful, Jane.

My last name comes from waulking. :)

Beautiful, Jane.

Love it! The rhythms and repetitions/variations on a theme.

Terri, Once again, many thanks for some great music. May I recommend more Gaelic music from Julie Fowlis of North Uist in The Outer Hebrides ? (where we are going in the summer for a few weeks) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qczDug2BNRo

I found that very moving.

Thanks, Steve! I love Julie Fowlis, and that's a lovely video. Tilly sends her best to Tup.

Is that Liam O'Maonlai from 'Hothouse Flowers' singing backing vocals?! Oh, this was a wonderful trip down memory lane, I used to sing this stuff...hard to learn (when you're not a native speaker), but so wonderful to sing in a group!

It is Liam. He sings some wonderful traditional music. Well worth looking out for.

Jane,
So good. One of my favorites. Just was reading this aloud to Leah, then I had to stop, and strike a beat upon my desk, and sing out. Has a good mouth feel. Rolls from the tongue. Want to hear it sung in Scots now.

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