The Banff and Buchan Collection

Norman Fordyce, Fraserburgh, 13/03/1994

Barbara-Ann Burnett, Mitchell and Helen Burnett, Tyrie, 13/03/1994

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NEFA 1994.023.01   Transcription
P: Norman Fordyce
T: Jazz greats, violin and guitar
FL: I see
 Sings melody and a few lines. Fats Waller used to sing that. Hoagy Carmichael's Stardust was one of NF's favourites. Grapelli and Reinhardt were very popular around here. They were really gifted musicians. NF does not play any more. "The fiddle is a jealous instrument," you must keep practising. There are no frets. You have to start afresh every day.

NEFA 1994.023.02   Transcription
P: Norman Fordyce
T: The coming of jazz

S: When jazz came in, Peterhead lead the way and gradually they found their way around the beat. Talks about some of the greats. Nat Gonella, cornet and trumpet, was a little like Louis Armstrong, musically.

NEFA 1994.023.03   Transcription
P: Norman Fordyce
T: The great fiddler makers and the Hardies
S: The Scottish fiddlers must have had models to make fiddles to well. 1555 there were Italian makers of viols, 1563 was the first fiddle as we know it today, made by Gasparo de Salo. NF names other great makers in the Italian tradition. Even today, no one can make a fiddle like Stradivari. The secret is in the varnish (amber, perhaps). Matthew Hardie had fine varnish, made by a doctor Dixon in Edinburgh. The Hardies were cabinet makers as well.

NEFA 1994.023.04    Transcription
P: Norman Fordyce
T: Hogmanay
in the old days
 They were very disciplined. To bed at the usual time, stockings hung: orange, apple and penny. He once got a 6 penny harmonica. They were barefoot all summer to save their shoes. Christmas was a day for prayer, Sunday school and a soiree. Latterly there would be a Christmas tree. There was no going from house to house on Hogmanay.

NEFA 1994.023.05    Transcription
P: Norman Fordyce
T: Halloween
S: They did not do much on Halloween, being poor. Some had parties, dookin for apples. [Thanks and finishing up.]

NEFA 1994.023.06    Transcription
P: Norman Fordyce
T: More jazz fiddlers

S: Eddie South, Joe Venuti (genius). The fiddle was long thought to be too quiet. Stradivari set out to change that.

NEFA 1994.023.07    Transcription
P: Barbara-Ann Burnett
T: How she started singing traditional songs

S: [Announcement at start.] Got involved with dances and the Buchan Heritage Society. Heard Gordon Easton, Jean Duguid, Robert Lovie, Joe Aitken and others. BAB did not know that Gordon sang so much, until she heard him at the Heritage. Plays fiddle, trumpet, bagpipes and keyboard. She has done a few concerts with Charles Birnie and Gordon Easton. She has sung in the Strichen festival competition (won best local singer and won a trophy for recitation). Learned most songs from tapes and Kerr's Bothy Ballads. Learns sometimes by ear as well. She plays Scottish music on the fiddle, though her teacher prefers classical.

NEFA 1994.023.08    Transcription
P: Barbara-Ann Burnett
T: The Dying Ploughboy
FL: The gloamin winds are blawin saft
 Bothy song by Rev. Calder. Liked the sad story and the tune. Learned last year. Knows three or four songs to sing without texts. She picked up The Alford Cattle Show just by hearing Robert Lovie's tape over and over.

NEFA 1994.023.09-10    Transcription
Barbara-Ann Burnett
T: The Alford Cattle Show
FL: I'll ne'er forget that mornin, fin the fairmer said noo loon
S: Bothy song by J. C. Wright, Midmar. [Side A ends near end of song, cont. and restarted on side B.]

NEFA 1994.023.11-12    Transcription
P: Barbara-Ann Burnett
T: Oh for Friday Nicht
FL: Oh for Friday nicht, Friday hame an hummin
 Poem by J. C. Milne. [Phone rings, restarted on 12.] Heard people reciting J. C. Milne at various festivals. They speak more broadly among themselves.

NEFA 1994.023.13    Transcription
P: Barbara-Ann Burnett
T: Mcfarlane o the Sprotts
FL: Afore that I be tyrannized as I this file hae been
 George Bruce Thompson song.

NEFA 1994.023.14    Transcription
P: Barbara-Ann Burnett
T: Learning songs
S: Learns verse by verse, singing if over and over in her head.

NEFA 1994.023.15    Transcription
P: Barbara-Ann Burnett and Mitchell Burnett
T: Drumdelgie
FL: There's a fairm toon up in Cairnie
 Bothy song. Heard on a tape, catchy tune and good words. She can relate to much of the content because of her rural upbringing. [Mike stand bangs.] Family has been on this farm since 1937, having moved from Banchory area. Family background: Eastons, Parks.

NEFA 1994.023.16-17    Transcription
P: Helen Burnett, Mitchell Burnett and Barbara-Ann Burnett
T: Nights of song and music

S: Musical evenings down at the Eastons, down the road. The television has killed a lot of this home music making. There used to be a show in Strichen with a mart and various competitions. Their language will die, as have others, but it will live on in books and on tapes. [Mike stand bangs.] MB's father used to use all the old words, where MB knows them but does not really use them in everyday speech. Language is eroded when the songs are spelled in English. Doric spelling is difficult to read, easier to understand when spoken aloud. One is supposed to speak English in school. Poetry is a good source of language. BAB's friends are not interested in this kind of material; they have a different background. More on their house and land.


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