A Gaelic Songmaker's Response to an English-speaking Nation
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"The bàird bhaile [village bard] was an important figure in Gaelic society for centuries and remained so until well after the Second World War. These unpaid, unofficial poets were the de facto spokesmen and -women for their communities and as such wielded considerable power over both their neighbors and public opinion. For this society a song was, and to some extent still is, very much a functional and practical piece, an essential element of communication seamlessly integrated with other types of human expression. To mainstream Western society on the other hand, a song, whether old or new, is well outside accepted norms of daily social interaction; to most, it is an anomaly, while to the bàird bhaile and their communities, it is not. Only in the present century has Gaelic society's ancient emphasis on song and poetry as the usual form of emotional expression begun to break down."--Opening paragraph.
Oral Tradition, 7/1 (1992): 3-27.
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