Noo an again ye hear a bit o news that gars ye stop an really tak tent o the changes o the last twa three decades.
This isnae a test, it’s the real deal. For a hunner years an mair the guid Scots language wis unner pressure in the classroom an at official levels. The cooncil in the north hadnae made its records in Scots in centuries. The tie o ‘polite’ officialdom wis ticht on the thrapple o Scots in the North-East. Noo, aa o a sudden, aahin’s changed.
Aiberdeenshire Cooncil, a region whaur 49% o the population hae Scots language skils – maistly in ae Doric dialect or anither – hae come oot strang in favour o the leid. As pairt o their pairtnership wi Creative Scotland, the Cooncil hae biggit whit they cry their ‘place partnership programme’. Bairns will be mair supportit tae lairn the North-East dialect o Scots in classrooms an mony new initiatives will be gien support.
Hamish Vernal, then Provost o Aiberdeenshire an noo high heid yin at the North East Scots Language Board spoke weel. He isnae a Doric spikker himsel, which whiles can gie fowk that appreciacion o the leid that is ainly available tae incomeabooters. His wife is a braid spikker though, an through her Provost Vernal his gleaned a guid kennin o the tongue.
Provost Vernal said “I really feel that our cultural heritage says so much about who we are, it’s not a dry dust of the past, it’s a living, breathing, vibrant part of our lives.”
Amen tae that.
Aifter thon bit news got oor show off at a stot, we went oot to Elgin, an the Bothy ballads competition, whaur aahin Provost Vernal said wis confirmed. Here indeed wis oor cultural heritage an guid Scots tongue living, breathing, an being a vibrant pairt o oor lives.
The Elgin event is kent as the ‘Champion o Champions’, as winners o ither ballad competitions fae aa owre the country gaither tae see wha’ll come awa wi the best sang on the nicht, an be crooned as heid o them aa.
For the puir craiters oot there wha dinnae ken aboot the Bothy Ballads competitions, here’s a gey cuttie precis. The ballads are fairmin sangs produced anonymously in the 1800s, maistly by fairm chiels wirkin intae bothies. They tell o the sair life o the fairms, the unco happenins, bonnie lassies, course weather an aathin else. Though this wey o life is lang by, the traditional sangs are gied life by singers, often fae the airt, often descendit fae the bothy lads theirsels at folk sessions, performances an TMSA competitions. Fiercely contestit regional competitions tak place at Keith, Kirriemuir, Strichen, Falkland, Turrif an Aiberdeen. The winner fae each gings tae Elgin fir the muckle showpiece.
The ivent, organised bi the Elgin Rotary Club an sponsored by Macallan, is a great big hoolie wi free drams for aabdy, an a total sell-oot year on year. Gin ye hae an interest in a thrivin culture o the North-East, it’s a must!
We hear a special performance o a bothy classic fae Hector Riddle, 2017 Champion o Champions