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Nationality of songs

DigiTrad:
DARK ISLAND 2
THE DARK ISLAND


Related threads:
(DTStudy) DTStudy: The Dark Island (62)
Lyr Req: Dark Island (Alan Bell) (18)
Dark Island: Too late to have DigiTrad alteration? (7)
Lyr Req: The Dark Island (Alan Bell) (10)
(origins) Origins/Author: Dark Island (43)
Information on The Dark Island (5)
(origins) Tune Req: The Dark Isle (14)
Dark Island (47)
(origins) Origin: The Dark Island (41)
(origins) Lyr/Tune Add: The Dark Isle (16)
Lyr Req: Eilean Dorcha (3)


GUEST,Alan Ross 12 Jul 15 - 09:23 PM
GUEST 12 Jul 15 - 09:47 PM
Rob Naylor 12 Jul 15 - 09:55 PM
GUEST,Alan Ross 12 Jul 15 - 10:05 PM
GUEST,Alan Ross 12 Jul 15 - 10:18 PM
Joe Offer 13 Jul 15 - 02:18 AM
GUEST,Allan Conn 13 Jul 15 - 03:01 AM
Joe Offer 13 Jul 15 - 04:09 AM
Dave the Gnome 13 Jul 15 - 04:55 AM
GUEST,Alan Ross 13 Jul 15 - 05:12 AM
Jack Campin 13 Jul 15 - 05:13 AM
GUEST,Phil 13 Jul 15 - 05:17 AM
GUEST,Alan Ross 13 Jul 15 - 05:22 AM
Dave the Gnome 13 Jul 15 - 05:38 AM
Leadfingers 13 Jul 15 - 06:00 AM
Paul Burke 13 Jul 15 - 06:08 AM
GUEST,Alan Ross 13 Jul 15 - 06:21 AM
GUEST,Alan Ross 13 Jul 15 - 06:34 AM
GUEST 13 Jul 15 - 07:10 AM
GUEST,Alan Ross 13 Jul 15 - 07:28 AM
GUEST,Alan Ross 13 Jul 15 - 07:39 AM
GUEST,Dave 13 Jul 15 - 07:49 AM
GUEST,MartinRyan 13 Jul 15 - 07:53 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 13 Jul 15 - 08:02 AM
GUEST,Alan Ross 13 Jul 15 - 08:07 AM
Rob Naylor 13 Jul 15 - 08:14 AM
Jack Campin 13 Jul 15 - 08:18 AM
GUEST,Alan Ross 13 Jul 15 - 08:20 AM
GUEST,Dave 13 Jul 15 - 08:20 AM
Paul Burke 13 Jul 15 - 08:22 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 13 Jul 15 - 08:26 AM
GUEST,Alan Ross 13 Jul 15 - 08:37 AM
GUEST 13 Jul 15 - 08:40 AM
MartinRyan 13 Jul 15 - 08:47 AM
GUEST,Alan Ross 13 Jul 15 - 08:55 AM
GUEST 13 Jul 15 - 08:55 AM
Paul Burke 13 Jul 15 - 09:04 AM
GUEST,Alan Ross 13 Jul 15 - 09:07 AM
GUEST,alan Ross 13 Jul 15 - 09:15 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 13 Jul 15 - 09:15 AM
GUEST,08:55 13 Jul 15 - 09:19 AM
Dave the Gnome 13 Jul 15 - 09:22 AM
GUEST,Alan Ross 13 Jul 15 - 09:24 AM
GUEST,Alan Ross 13 Jul 15 - 09:27 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Jul 15 - 12:01 PM
GUEST,Alan Ross 13 Jul 15 - 12:59 PM
GUEST 13 Jul 15 - 01:24 PM
Jim Carroll 13 Jul 15 - 01:42 PM
GUEST 13 Jul 15 - 01:49 PM
GUEST,Alan Ross 13 Jul 15 - 02:02 PM
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Subject: Nationality issues of songs
From: GUEST,Alan Ross
Date: 12 Jul 15 - 09:23 PM

I just found that my late father's lyrics and arrangement of the Dark Island has been 'collected' and recorded by the Irish Traditional Music Association and made available over the Internet.

After posting documentation proving authorship etc which they kindly acknowledged, it has left me with the philosophical dilemma of whether it is the singer or the song that creates the nationality of the work.

My father was Scottish, the tune is Scottish, the song was written in Scotland, published in Scotland on sheet music and had national recordings by Scottish artists.   However, later there have been Irish recordings and performances - as my father's words don't mention any location for the Dark Island, so it can be applied for anywhere   

It's fine that they have at least given a courtesy credit and I am grateful for that.   But as cultural historians who are archiving the work and making it available, do they not owe an explanation of where the work originated from?   Am I being pedantic?

   Historians will now think that its an old Irish song, when it previously had nothing to do with it .   The Irish often seem to steal our modern works and claim them as their cultural property which as a Scot annoys the hell out of me. I am talking about a 1963 song, as Traditional as 'She Loves You'.   So should they not have mentioned that it is Scottish.. People will swear oh that's an old Irish folk song - no it isn't! Or is it the fact that it is an Irish singer performing it that should define the work and make it an Irish folk song?


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Jul 15 - 09:47 PM

Another example of this is the Stewart Ross song 'My Bonnie Maureen' recorded by Daniel O' Donnell (and various Scottish and Irish performers). This time my father wrote both the words and music and it is a completely original 1971 song.   Again the author/composer is Scottish, it was first recorded in Scotland - but later Daniel O' Donnell had a version out where it was performed in Irish style (a couple of word changes like Chapel instead of Church).   So, its a purely Scottish love song, but performed by an Irish singer with Irish musicians, and the name Maureen (often associated with Ireland).

Maureen was actually Scottish, an Inverness lass who was the fiancee of my brother. So, does the fact that Daniel O' Donnell recorded it suddenly turn it into an Irish song (when it is Scottish to me!)


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 12 Jul 15 - 09:55 PM

Afraid that's par for the course, Alan. There are dozens, possibly hundreds, of songs that are listed as "Irish" which aren't.

I've corrected people on YouTube who described as "wonderful Celtic music" such songs as:

Tom Paine, performed by Pig's Ear and written by Steve Tilston ....a song about an Englishman, written by an Englishman and performed by an English band.

Who Knows Where The Time Goes, performed by Kate Rusby and written by Sandy Denny.

Dirty Old Town is often described as Irish, as are Shoals Of Herring, Fiddler's Green, Mairi's Wedding and many others whose main connection with Ireland is that they've, at one time or other, appeared in the repertoires of well-known Irish bands such as the Dubliners, Chieftains, Pogues, etc.

It seems as if any decent song or tune which is taken up by Irish performers automatically gets adopted into the "Irish Canon" and then propagates globally as an "Irish" song. Not sure there's anything we can do about it as the momentum is so great. Mostly I don't think it matters, and there are a lot of "Trad" songs that have been collected from various parts of the British Isles over time where it would be difficult to ascribe a country of origin, but in the case of your father's song, I'd say it was unequivocally Scottish.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Alan Ross
Date: 12 Jul 15 - 10:05 PM

Thanks for that.   I know that it may be pedantic. But being alive (unlike my father), I have the chance to set the record straight with his songs before the Chinese whispers syndrome strikes. I guess as well you see, if an organisation is there to archive - then to me they have a duty to pass on historical information when known if they are circulating the work to promote it for cultural reasons and not create a myth.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Alan Ross
Date: 12 Jul 15 - 10:18 PM

Oh a funny example of record company stupidity.. There is an Internet album called 'My Irish Roots', which has many typical Irish songs on it. However, oddly my father's heather and haggis song 'The Highland Road' recorded by a 'kilted' tenor Denis Clancy has been included.   There you have a song written by a Scot, which mentions Inverness etc. and sung by a man from Dundee, who was not Irish at all.   Some eejit has made an assumption that it has some connection to Ireland because it was sung by somebody with the surname Clancy!   Tenuous one there!


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 02:18 AM

I think there's a lot of crossover, and that's healthy. It's probably best to enjoy the song, and not worry too much about nationality and ownership and attribution and all those things. A 1963 song may not seem so old, but that's well over 50 years, if it's a good song, it has taken on a life of its own by 50 years, maybe even after 10 years.

I sand "Old Black Joe" by Stephen Collins Foster this afternoon. It's a song I've sung for almost 60 years, and it's become part of me. Yes, there's author and nationality and history and all those considerations - but for the moments I'm singing it, it's MY song.

I'm not sure how tightly songs should be "owned" by the songwriter. Every good singer makes the song his/her own - is that wrong?

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 03:01 AM

I disagree Joe. Songs are the property of the whole world of course but at the same time there is surely nothing wrong with knowing the origin of a song? And in some cases knowing where a song comes from helps with understanding the song itself. This thread though is about a very common thing where songs are described as being Irish simply because an Irish singer or band have performed it. The net is awash with examples. I've seen youtube threads where people are arguing over whether "Dirty Old Town" is about Dublin or Belfast. Well the song could be about any town but it was actually written about Salford! Why wouldn't people want to know a song's history? Likewise I once saw a thread where again people were arguing over whether Bogle's "No Man's Land" was an Irish Republican song or an Irish Unionist song. Whether it was a song lambasting Britain for the Irish War Dead or whether it was celebrating the Irish sacrifice! What a corruption of the song when it is merely a general anti war song written by a ex-pat Scot in Australia which has nothing specifically to do with Ireland other than the name chosen (presumably because it rhymed with grave side) may or may not have belonged to an Irish member of the British Army. Again people can appropriate songs and read into them what they want but there is nothing wrong with knowing the songs history etc.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 04:09 AM

The lines are not so clearly drawn in the Western Isles, Allan. What's the ancestry of many of the Protestants in Northern Ireland? Where did the monks come from, the ones who settled Iona? And how far is Iona from Ireland - and for that matter, how far from Glasgow and Edinburgh?

Which came first, "Red Is the Rose," or "Loch Lomond"? And the list goes on and on. When I sing "Dirty Old Town," I'm thinking of the town I'm from, Racine Wisconsin - is that wrong?

Good songs have a universality, with different meanings for different people.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 04:55 AM

It is wrong when, as in Allan's example, the origins are used for an invalid political point. I have heard many a complaint, particularly from Irish Americans, about the misappropriation of Irish culture by the English. Yet those complaints are often misplaced or just wrong. Why should other people not make the same point when it does happen to be true?


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Alan Ross
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 05:12 AM

Thanks, I am talking generally as principle. Music and culture is now an academic subject. We have a University of the Highlands, there is Aberdeen University etc. There are people who now do degrees and post-graduate studies in the meaning of songs to their local culture.   Look at how many times someone on this site is trying to find the origins of works.

So, if we know a true origin for a more recent work. Should that be documented before it becomes mixed up. With the Irish Traditional Music Association having recorded the 'Dark Island' song as part of their culture, then is that not cultural theft when it is funded as an academic database?   I only mean that they knew before they put the information out on the Internet that it's Scottish but because its known to them (and the Irish singer makes a lovely acapella job of it). Surely, they should have put two words 'Scots lament' on the text.   

In general terms I'm more concerned with the more recent songs where he wrote the whole song rather than just words only.   You can have a clear cut copyright work and then somebody says that's an old Irish song because of the style - then you get Trad. credits stuck on or snowballing rumours, if somebody sings it with a broad Irish accent.

A great folk group called the Kilkennys performed 'Dirty Old Town in Inverness' but even though they sung it in the usual broad Irish accent they mentioned that it was not Irish song and said where it was about.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 05:13 AM

Agreed. This kind of mislabelling comes out of, and helps promote, a particularly nasty brand of racist cultural xenophobia in the Irish-diaspora culture. You can't hang around the Irish music for long without encountering "we created everything and the English stole it off us" - the evidence cited for that is nearly always a pack of lies.

Which came first, "Red Is the Rose," or "Loch Lomond"?

"Loch Lomond". But "Red is the Rose" is a better song. It is also an Irish pastiche of a Scottish original. And none the worse for that.

Adela Peeva's 2003 documentary Whose Is This Song? is a scary analysis of the same phenomenon in a different part of the world.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Phil
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 05:17 AM

"When I sing "Dirty Old Town," I'm thinking of the town I'm from, Racine Wisconsin - is that wrong?"

No. Informing your listeners it was written in or about Racine would be wrong.

Educators, archivists and curators have a higher responsibility than entertainers. It's part of the mission statement & job description.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Alan Ross
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 05:22 AM

Mistyped 'Dirty Old Town' in Inverness.   Not 'Dirty old town in Inverness' - that is not the title - though Inverness is now getting to be a dirty old city.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 05:38 AM

BTW - Good to see you posting here, Alan, and sorry for mis-spelling your name earlier. Interesting topic for a thread.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: Leadfingers
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 06:00 AM

Crediting ANY song incorrectly is bad practice !


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: Paul Burke
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 06:08 AM

There are a number of different issues involved here:

(1) Copyright. This exists on the song for IIRC 70 years after the death of the composer. You could use this aggressively and get the Youtube performances taken down or attributed, but it may be better to save your energy for when its used by someone with money to pay. I recall a few years ago someone quoting the widow of the author of Bring Us A Barrel as saying that if she had a pound for each time it was sung, she'd have been a millionaire. Unfortunately in all probability the combined total earned by all those singers was (after expenses) rather less than a pound. Composers in the traditional vein who has earned serious money from their music are rare in these islands.

(2) Nationality and cultural appropriation. Irish music has had a far higher public acceptability (I'm talking aboutthe UK) than English or Scottish music, which may be traced to the "Celtic Twilight" meme of the late Victorian era, Yeats, George Herbert, Lady Gregory and that lot (Sean O'Casey was quite amusing about this, as was Myles na Gopaleen in The Poor Mouth). So whereas English tradition is fatally associated in the stereotype with sweater- clad finger- in- ear Morrismen, and Scottish music with military bagpipes, Irish or Celtic is associated with an advertising cliche of a girl clad in an embroidered gown, long red hair blowing free in the breeze against a hilltop sunset... OK don't get carried away, but you get the point. It does mean that "Irish" versions of any given trad song are more likely to get published, viewed or bought than "dull" east-insular versions. And if they've appropriated Wille McB, Aragon Mill, Dirty Old Town, Shores of Erin (rendering it meaningless in the process), Wild Rover, Roads and Miles to Dundee, Black Velvet Band and the rest, who is going to take any notice of a pedant's whinge of protest?

(3) The somewhat separate issue of assimilation into tradition. Songs like Dark Island and Bring Us a Barrel were deliberately composed to sound like songs already accepted as traditional, and the fact that they have become "anonymous" is in fact a tribute to the skill of their composers. Composers have been deliberately trying to do this since at least the 18th century; see the Ossian controversy, the excellent Earl of Totnes (recorded by the Dransfields), and a whole lot of Burns and Walter Scott. In their case it's a bit like the art forger Tom Keating, whose paintings fooled even experts for a long time (and probably still do). Dark Island (the tune) was being played in Irish sessions around Manchester (UK) at least as early as 1972, when we thought of it as traditional Scottish and none the worse for that. The fact that the Irish tradition took up songs and tunes so much more readily is probably a reflection of the vigour and adaptability of that tradition, and that they were not attributed is more due to the fact that everyone assumed they were traditional than that anyone was trying to suppress authorship.

(4) The inverse case of traditional material being (deliberately or unconsciously) appropriated and copyrighted by modern composers. This seems to be most common in the USA, perhaps because of the bigger market making the stakes higher, and the more aggressive litigation culture. But it certainly happened here too with Sharp and others assuming the copyright of material they collected.

(5) The perceived ethnicity of music, though I don't think it really applies in this case. But the Ottoman Empire of the 1900s, the same recording could be issued labelled as Greek and Hebrew, with only the tune and band names changed to appeal to the different market sectors.

(6) Recomposition and relocation has been a constant process in traditional music. Which fair was Young Rambleaway a-going to? Not knowing the words to Dark Island (as I said, we played the tune), I looked around the web, and found half a dozen variants with different authorial attributions, some of which give a definite location. Which returns us to point 1. What is the copyright of a derivative text when the original is still in copyright?


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Alan Ross
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 06:21 AM

Hi Dave the Gnome, I am a gnome myself.   
I didn't want to have this put under 'Dark Island' thread as that goes on..and on. and is not the reason for this.

I mean... even when my father was alive Daniel O' Donnell recorded 'My Bonnie Maureen' reviewers made an assumption that it was an Irish song, as it was Daniel and had the name 'Maureen' in the title oh - and the use of the word chapel (originally church).

So in one country music column he got them to mention that "it was in fact a Scottish song composed by Inverness songwriter Stewart Ross" as it did annoy him. That was not for xenophobic reasons, but you can imagine reading review stuff saying that it was an Irish song because it was sung by Daniel. But then reviewers would not have been aware of where it came from.

One reason for 'My Bonnie Maureen' not being included on as many of Daniel's compilations is that nobody is quite sure what label to give it for compiled themes that record companies like to have. It doesn't fit neatly into the Irish love song category - as its Scottish and not really picked up on in the Scottish market too much, as it's largest selling version is performed by an Irish singer (and chapel used instead of church). His record company have told me they are planning on offering a lease out of the track so I'll be interested to see what label or theme it gets put under if re-used.

In the case of academic organisations, all I was getting at is that if somebody makes recordings to create a cultural archive and database, then surely it owes a care of duty and ethics to put the known origins of the work in a couple of words - not propagate a myth that the song originates from their culture. I am not saying not to include it as a cross-over, but just to include that it was
a Scottish song which is known in Ireland.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Alan Ross
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 06:34 AM

Very academic contribution by Paul Burke.. don't go there with copyright... Dark Island is a very complex subject which goes round and round....   What is not in dispute is that these words were my father's and that he was Scottish, the words are Scottish etc. It is the nationality of the work I am talking about and that it sure as hell is not an Irish song, unless the fact that it is performed by an Irish singer makes it one!


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 07:10 AM

'I just found that my late father's lyrics and arrangement of the Dark Island has been 'collected' and recorded by the Irish Traditional Music Association and made available over the Internet.'


Can you provide a link to this please?

I have never heard of the 'Irish Traditional Music Association' and was tempted to think you misread the 'Irish Traditional Music Archive'. The ITMA catalogue however only gives to entries for Dark Island, both from lp recordings. And neither claiming the song as Irish.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Alan Ross
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 07:28 AM

Thanks for correcting me on the initials. Of course they are calling it Irish by including the song in the Irish Traditional Music Archive.   The archive has two singers (not from LP's) recorded at a session using the song (taped like the School of Scottish studies used to do). Great singing - no problem and it is kindly courtesy credited.

If something is in the Irish Traditional Music Archive - then what culture do you think they are claiming it as belonging to?


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Alan Ross
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 07:39 AM

This database isn't just a catalogue work it is a playable recording database on the Internet and song words as well... So the implication stands that it is a an old Irish song but at least credited to Stewart Ross - but doesn't say what the nationality of Stewart Ross or the song was!


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Dave
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 07:49 AM

ITMA (sure I have seen that acronym before!) announces itself as:

"a national public reference archive and resource centre for
the traditional song, instrumental music and dance of Ireland"

It includes such gems as:

"Lord of the Dance and Other Famous Irish Songs and Dances [sound recording]"

"All through the night [sound recording] / Dublin Welsh Male Voice Choir [Cór Meibion Cynry Dulyn]"

"and The Band Played Waltzing Matilda [sound recording]" (no Willie McBride even in that one)

"The pipes and drums of the Scottish Highlands [sound recording]"

Even the original Waltzing Matilda is in it!


So it seems to include music from anywhere performed by anyone Irish.

This is sort of OK, if it wasn't for the statement at the top, which is from the front page of their website.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,MartinRyan
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 07:53 AM

ITMA holds a vast collection of Irish and Irish-related material and is scrupulous in its work, in my experience. Several of the staff have contributed to Mudcat over the years. If they don't pick up on this thread soon, I'll draw it to their attention.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 08:02 AM

I would suggest the ITMA catalogues are nothing more or less than a description of their holdings.

Any archive of this type will hold material that is relevant to its main area of interest. If any of the examples named above are sung in Ireland, they would be relevant, even if they are not from Ireland. That does not however imply these songs are claimed as Irish.

Entries of the commercial recordings of 'Dark Island' in the ITMA catalogue included recordings of the song from Scotland, England, USA, Italy and indeed Ireland.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Alan Ross
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 08:07 AM

Thanks Dave. Wish I'd never started now... but you get the idea.   Is it the nationality of the performer or the song - and these are archives set up to propagate and promote THEIR culture. So that is great, no problem, But it is Not their culture. if they are saying that the material comes from their country - when it is known that it is not indigenous.   No problem if they just said where the work came from and that its frequently USED in Ireland.

I am not being Xenophobic, but it is their claim that they exist to promote their own culture of which they are rightly proud.   Equally, then my opinion was that I should be justified in pointing out that the song belongs to my cultural heritage before it gets assimilated as being Irish when the historical origins are known.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 08:14 AM

Alan: If something is in the Irish Traditional Music Archive - then what culture do you think they are claiming it as belonging to?

Well, above the credit for Stewart Ross, the "Subject" line says the subject is "Ireland: Singing in English" which I guess *is* inaccurate as the subject isn't Ireland. They should as a courtesy at least correct that, IMO.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 08:18 AM

If something is in the Irish Traditional Music Archive - then what culture do you think they are claiming it as belonging to?

I don't think the British Museum claims the Elgin Marbles are English art just because they've got them.

In fact the ITMA's procedure is a counter to narrow nationalism: it provides documentation of where songs and tunes now considered to be part of the Irish tradition actually came from. Alois Fleischmann's book "Sources of Irish Traditional Music" does the same thing on paper.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Alan Ross
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 08:20 AM

NO THIS IS NOT A CATALOGUE but an on-line song recording and words. I will find a link, but then by doing that I'm promoting this database.   No its not a commercial recording its a taped session song. Grace Toland (?) (I have to check the name and spelling) sang it very nicely, and she gave credit after I contacted her with proof of authorship - fine couldn't have been nicer. However, this is a recording which is in the context of a School of Scottish studies type use and clearly has an implication that it is an Irish folk song. I will look up the page again. THIS IS AN INTERNET RECORDING DATABASE NOT A CATALOGUE.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Dave
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 08:20 AM

Peter Laban, in that case they should change the description at the top of their website to:

"a national public reference archive and resource centre for
the traditional song, instrumental music and dance from, or performed in, Ireland


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: Paul Burke
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 08:22 AM

It is included in the Archive as two recordings made in Inishowen in 1984 and 1990. I believe that is totally legitimate in an archive dedicated to the songs sung by traditional singers. The lyrics are credited to Stewart Ross, perhaps as a result of your contact with them.

If you hold copyright on the song, you can require that those recordings be removed, thereby erasing the fact that the song had currency in Ireland at that period. You can take legal action against them for damages sustained, which will incur legal expenses that you may not recover as the damage would appear to be minimal and the action disproportionate. You may be able to require as a condition for retention in the archive that it be labelled as a song of Scottish origin.

In all this, note that the tune (as distinct from the lyrics) is credited to others, including the accordianist Iain McLachlan, but that that attribution is also not certain.

Note also that anyone is as free as Stewart Ross was to compose other lyrics to this air, as others have done including apparently Mike Oldfield. Provided, of course, that those lyrics are sufficiently different from Ross's to constitute a new composition, and provided they comply with any extant copyright concerning the tune.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 08:26 AM

Not necessarily. Their main focus is Irish Traditional Music and that will be the archive's core collection. It is only natural there will be areas in the collection that, while relevant to the core collection, will not be 'Irish Traditional Music'.

It is also worth considering the long standing influences Irish and Scottish music, and indeed English and American music, have had on eachother. Each sending songs and tunes across and adapting and adopting them into their own national repertoire. It has been going on for centuries and it isn't going to stop any time soon.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Alan Ross
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 08:37 AM

I wish I'd never started... Peter my intention is not that heavy... Grace Toland who performed it was lovely in giving credit and a pleasure to deal with. All I am saying that a couple of words saying that it is a Scots song, often performed in Ireland would have fully set the record straight.   I was however, getting at the principle is it the singer/performer or the song that creates its national identity? Here is the link

http://www.itma.ie/inishowen/song/dark_island_grace_toland


As a stand alone page, by its design you would make the assumption that it is an Irish song! There may be caveats elsewehere but not on the page for the song.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 08:40 AM

It had never occurred to me that a people's culture could not include borrowings and adoptions of things from elsewhere. 'Cultural heritage' might be something different I suppose.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: MartinRyan
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 08:47 AM

Incidentally.....

The aforementioned Grace Toland (beautiful singer, from Donegal) was recently appointed Director of ITMA!

Regards


p.s. Thank you, Peter Laban, for the point re the British Museum - but for the need to make a cup of coffee, I'd have gotten there before you! ;>)>


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Alan Ross
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 08:55 AM

I think Grace is a lovely singer, and handled the crediting with good Grace. I just think they are wrong in not clarifying the song origins as part of a database promoting itself as an Irish cultural resource.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 08:55 AM

Is the linked recording in the ITMA part of Ireland's 'rich oral heritage'


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: Paul Burke
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 09:04 AM

In looking round the web, I see that Alan Ross has been incorrectly claiming that his father also owned copyright on the tune, as the first to record it, for example Copyright in a tune belongs to whoever records it in a fixed form and from that moment it cant be used without permission. This is not justifiable. That copyright either belongs to its composer, or, if the tune is traditional, copyright may exist in a particular trnscription of that tune.

From the PRS website:

Copyright law states that if you write down a traditional song, this transcription becomes a copyright work. The copyright lies in the transcription and not in the traditional song.

This means the transcription is copyright. It may not be copied, reproduced, published, publicly performed or adapted unless permission is obtained from the transcriber. However, this does not prevent people from transcribing from the same source. By doing this they create their own copyright - even if their transcription is note for note the same as an existing transcription.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Alan Ross
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 09:07 AM

Re- Is the linked recording in the ITMA part of Ireland's 'rich oral heritage'. Somebody who gets it...


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,alan Ross
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 09:15 AM

No FIRMLY CAN I STATE NOW THAT IT IS NOT COPYRIGHT IN THE TUNE BUT IN THE LYRICS WHICH WERE COPYRIGHTED SEPARATE TO THE TUNE IN SHEET MUSIC AND RECORDINGS from 1963. Then a dispute arose over the tune... god there are hundreds of entries discussing the dispute.   My father won an out of court settlement with one record company for the use of the lyrics. The tune as far as I'm concerned belongs to Ian Maclachlan.

What has never been in dispute is that the words separate to the tune have their own copyright.   That is all I ever ask that the are credited to stop the drivel over where they originated from. The copyright issue over the tune is irresolvable


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 09:15 AM

Last week at the Willie Clancy Summer School there was a night under the banner of 'Éirinn is Alba'. This has in recent years become an annual event celebrating the links between Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy and Gaelic Scotland. The event goes out live on RTE Raidió na Gaeltachta.

ITMA records this event, and all other events at WCSS. Several musicians and singer from Scotland took part in the concerts at the school. Including Alan McDonald, Alana McInnes, Maighread Stiùbhart, Murdo McMacDonald.

At the singers recital Aodhán Ó Cheallaigh sang Willie O' Winsbury. Because he loved the song when he first heard it (and a lovely job he made of it too).

Including any of these items in the ITMA collection does not amount to cultural appropriation. It merely highlights the close connections and influences (and appreciation) between the different countries.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,08:55
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 09:19 AM

Someone else took the phrase from a Scottish resource

Try putting this Ireland site:http://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk in the Google search box.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 09:22 AM

Always a bit difficult with things like "Irish Traditional Music Archive". Is it an archive of traditional music held in Ireland or is it an archive of traditional Irish music. Makes the point that people need to be careful how they say something as, if something can be misinterpreted, it will!

What is this thing called love?
What IS this thing called, love?
What! Is this thing called love?

:D tG


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Alan Ross
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 09:24 AM

I get you Peter.   In Inverness in the 1980's we had a regular country scene, and a lot of cross-over influences.   Daniel O' Donnell was up here liked my father's song 'My Bonnie Maureen' - as: "See I keep saying that Scottish songs and Irish songs are very much alike, and they are - and this is just a song that is very very nice" Daniel O' Donnell 1988.

If we hadn't had that the cultural exchange he wouldn't have recorded it.   And at least Stewart Ross wrote the whole of that one!


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Alan Ross
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 09:27 AM

I love Dave the Gnome's comment - a Gnome after my own heart...


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 12:01 PM

"Is it an archive of traditional music held in Ireland"
Yes.
As far as traditional song is concerned, while there are many songs where the origins are identifiable, many more are of unknown origin and could be from anywhere.
Collector, Tom Munnelly identified 50 Child ballads which had survived among field singers up to the 1990s here, though some had disappeared from the repertoires elsewhere; unlettered Travellers were particularly important in keeping the older songs alive.
They hadn't been 'claimed' by they Irish - they had become Irish -
Twenty years ago, you couldn't throw a stone around here without hitting an elderly singer who didn't know Lord Lovel, or The Suffolk Miracle.
We are getting songs from a 95 year old singer who has given us Lord Lovel, Lord Bateman, Katherine Jaffaray, The Keach in the Creel, The Girl with a Box on her Head.
Other songs we have recorded include Captain Wedderburn, The Cruel Mother, The Blind Beggar ('s Daughter), Lord Randall, Edward, Lamkin, Famous Flower of Serving Men........ all Irish versions of standard traditional songs.
Among the rarest found over here were The Maid and the Palmer, The Demon Lover, Prince Robert, Johnny Scoot and Young Hunting, probably the finest piece of ballad singing I have ever heard from a field singer (an elderly Traveller, accompanied by the sound of his son cutting up firewood to sell, in the background)
In the 1980s, we recorded a story from an elderly Clare man living in London, it included 2 verses from a song I have never heard sung, 'The Mercahnt and the Fiddler's Wife' - I was eventually able to trace it in Thomas D'urfey's Pills to Purge Melancholy (published between 1698 and 1720)
There are many examples of songs regarded as 'English' or 'Scots' which have taken root over here and have become 'Irish', or might even have originated here - as nobody has managed to confirm the origin of most of our folksongs, it is somewhat 'premature' to designate them as having come from anywhere in particular, and any archive worth its salt must include as wide a selection as possible if our song tradition is going to make sense.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Alan Ross
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 12:59 PM

I understand that, but there is a vast difference in old trad. style folk songs and more modern works already recorded, whose nationality is already known in databases..

I am talking in general terms. 'Field recordings' of the 50's and 60's were being archived by the likes of the School of Scottish studies, that was fine for that era.   But surely we are in an age where you don't just take a recorder out and archive everything without looking into where stuff came from - and then claim it is from your culture because its sung by a local? Being a collected tape field recording gives a kudos and a mystique that it is somehow a hidden gem.

If there are copyright disputes (I am not referring to an individual song), caused by the interpretation of a song's inclusion as being an Old Irish song, even if it isn't Irish or completely old - who is responsible?

Also as I said before, there are cultural courses at high levels, with people studying 'Trad. music' - so it sets potential traps in their research.   Academic ethics should surely mean that if you know a song has a definite point of origin, you shouldn't really create confusion by muddying the waters.

I certainly am more than happy with the singing of 'Dark Island', I just think that it could have been helpful to put in 'this song is Scottish, but well known in Ireland'.   Or as I said before is it because of the singer that you are (effectively) making it Irish?


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 01:24 PM

so it sets potential traps in their research.

I don't think so. Even a casually interested wanderer on the internet (me) has no problem finding information about songs and tunes if it is out there. Being still in copyright gives a mechanism for getting the information out there.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 01:42 PM

"but there is a vast difference in old trad. style folk songs and more modern works already recorded"
I agree entirely.
" But surely we are in an age where you don't just take a recorder out and archive everything without looking into where stuff came from"
Again, I'm with you, though I'm not sure how those who believe all songs are folk songs if they are sung in a pub, or at a folk club handle that one
Many of the singers I know are not computerised (certainly the old crowd weren't) and would tell you that songs like The "Dargle" (Derby) ram were as Irish as Shamrocks.
Professor Horace Beck's study, 'Folklore and the Sea' documents 'Bonnie Shoals of Herrin' as being "collected in Dingle, County Kerry in 1969, and says, "this is typical of songs popular among fishing flleets, up to this day (ten years after the song was written.
We have recorded Freeborn Man , Dirty Old Town, Come Me Little Son... and other songs from Travellers who swore they were Travellers songs - one Traveller family sings 'The Springhill Mine Disaster' on the streets of our market town every Saturday.
"who is responsible?"
Personally, I find people who write and copyright songs and claim them to be folk as wanting to have their cake and eat it.
One of the strangest things I learned recently was from a Mudcatter (Don Firth?) who drew our attention to a college course on folksong which advertised as "starting from (some pop group whose name escapes me) - bloody insane!
MacColl used to dream of a time when newly written songs would be taken up and absorbed into a revived oral tradition, but he never claimed it as having happened to his own songs, and he never lived to see it happen - nor, I believe, shall any of us.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 01:49 PM

Yeah, I kind of understand but ..like Chinese whispers if a song is in an Irish Traditional Music database, has a field recording with the mystique of "it was recorded in this area"...label by an organisation whose aims are to promote Irish music. Doesn't that eventually filter down?

Anyway, I guess Youtube may be the new field resource, when you look at it it - creates a whole new way of gathering music 'of the people'.


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Subject: RE: Nationality of songs
From: GUEST,Alan Ross
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 02:02 PM

The ironic thing is that when my father was alive, the major classic style Scottish folk artists wouldn't touch many of his songs.   They were too simple (not wordy enough), or too corny, heather and haggis...

But there you go.   I want my father to be remembered for the ones he did write the whole of - but there are two ones where he only wrote the lyrics (Dark Island and My Mother) that keep coming back..
So I always say if you like that one why don't you listen to this one where he did write both music and lyrics.


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