Saturday, 31 May 2008

A Waulking Song for the Weekend

Waulking songs (Scots Gaelic) are Scottish folk songs, traditionally sung by women while waulking cloth.

Walking is when women would beat newly woven tweed fabric rhythmically against a hard surface to soften it. Rythmic songs were used to make the work more fun.

A waulking session often begins with slow-paced songs, with the tempo increasing as the cloth becomes softer. As the singers work the cloth, they gradually shift it to the left so as to work it thoroughly. A tradition holds that moving the cloth counter-clockwise is unlucky.

Typically one woman sings the verse, while the others join in the chorus.

While waulking is a common practice across the world, it is only in Scotland that music became so strongly associated with it as to become an important cultural feature.

Waulking is rare in Scotland today, mostly confined to the Outer Hebrides where it is carried out as a celebration of heritage. The last true waulking (for the purpose of making cloth) is believed to have occurred during the 1950s.

Some of this taken from Wikipedia, but you can find out more about waulking and waulking song groupsonline for yourself.


Jeff said...

Do Scotish women ever sing, "I Waulk the Line" by Johnny Cash? ;)

Sorry, I couldn't resist - and I really wanted to.

Tarot Reader said...

Thanks for this link! How interesting!

Listening to the Waulking song is wild, it sounds, well, it doesn't sound anything like I imagined Gaelic singing to sound. Fascinating!

Michelle said...

Hi Jeff

Now my mind is singing "I'm waulking the floor over you"

All your fault! ;-P

Hi Genie
I'm glad you enjoyed both the song and the tree link. And yes, both are kind of weird aren't they? :-)

Hayden said...

fascinating, thanks!

Jill commented that she thought that the songs did the work while people sang and supported the songs ... an interesting slant with an appropriately magical inflection.