By Lauchie MacLellan, John Shaw, Alistair MacLeod
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Additional resources for Brigh an Orain A Story in Every Song
31 singing and society The experiences recounted by Lauchie as a young man who sang reveal much regarding the role of singing in his own community, and as a rule such beliefs and practices applied to other Highland settlements throughout Cape Breton. A modern trait that would immediately strike a person of Lauchie’s generation returning home after an absence of a half century or more is how seldom the younger, non-Gaelic speakers sing compared to his own contemporaries and their parents. Performers emphasize that, until recently, songs were constantly present in the lives of the people.
Bhiodh iad fo mhàl agus fo spòg … Bha am pailteas ac’ an seo do bhiadh; rud nach robh aca air uairean ‘san t-seann dùthaich. [There was] a lack of money or work, and the one thing that people did not lack was that they had a sufficiency of food. They raised it on the farms, so they did not go hungry. They had their own dwelling; good or bad, it was their home. That was what was on the mind of every Gael, and others besides – non-Gaels, in fact everyone who arrived in this country – because in the old country, or Britain or Europe, it was difficult for poor people to own land or a home.
Agus an eachdraidh mar a fhuair mi e, ‘s ann a chionn ‘s gur e mèairlich a bh’annta – ann an cuid dhiubh; bhiodh iad a’ goid chaorach – agus gur ann ann an sabaid a fhuair fear dhiubh a chluas a chur dheth. Nis chan eil an còrr agam ach sin mu dheidhinn obair nam mèairlich agus Mac’IllFhialain Leth-Chluasaich. (The little history I know concerning them I got from my father: that they were the One-Eared MacLellans. And in the story as I heard it, the reason was that they were thieves – some of them; they used to steal sheep – and one of them had his ear taken off in a fight.
Brigh an Orain A Story in Every Song by Lauchie MacLellan, John Shaw, Alistair MacLeod