Scotland’s Music and Dance: Songs and Musicians

This is the second post about music and dance in Scotland. Here, we look at some examples of Scottish songs, as well as eminent musicians, especially musical families, and people with a love of music.

Scottish songs

In the Statistical Accounts you can discover lyrics and references to particular Scottish songs. Actual people, events and settings are within their narrative, making them distinctly Scottish. Scenes of Scottish songs include the farm of Cowden Knows, about a mile outside of Banff, “justly celebrated for its rural beauty” and supposedly “the scene of the plaintive Scots ballad” The New way of the Broom of Cowden Knows (OSA, Vol. XX, 1798, p. 328), as well as the Yarrow Water in Yarrow, County of Selkirk, which is the location of many songs, including The Sang of the Outlaw Murray, The Dowie Dens of Yarrow (also known as The Braes of Yarrow) and Yarrow Vale. (NSA, Vol. III, 1845, p. 37)

Title page for the book 'Four Excellent Songs..., published by E. Johnstone in 1820.

Four excellent songs … by E. Johnstone, printer. Published 1820. Found on the Internet Archive.

People are also the subject of songs. One example is The Lass of Patie’s Mill who resided in the parish of Keithhall, County of Aberdeen. “Her father was proprietor of Patie’s mill, in Keithhall; of Tullikearie, in Fintray; and Standing Stones, in the parish of Dyce. From her beauty, or fortune, or from both causes, she had many admirers; and she was an only child. One Sangster, laird of Boddom, in New Machar parish, wished to carry her off, but was discovered by his dog, and very roughly handled by her father, who was called black John Anderson. In revenge, he wrote an ill-natured song, of which her great grandson remembers these words:

Ye’ll tell the gowk that gets her,
He gets but my auld sheen.

She was twice married; first, to a namesake of her own, who came from the south country, and is said to have composed the Song, to her praise, that is so generally admired, and partakes much of the music, which, at that time, abounded between the Tay and the Tweed.” (OSA, Vol. II, 1792, p. 542)

You can hear a recording of the song The Lass o Patie’s Mill on Tobar an Dualchais.

Another example is the song Fair Helen. “She was a daughter of the family of Kirkconnell, and fell a victim to the jealousy of a lover. Being courted by two young gentlemen at the same time, the one of whom thinking himself slighted, vowed to sacrifice the other to his resentment, when he again discovered him in her company. An opportunity soon presented itself, when the faithful pair, walking along the romantic banks of the Kirtle, were discovered from the opposite banks by the assassin. Helen perceiving him lurking among the bushes, and dreading the fatal resolution, rushed to her lover’s bosom, to rescue him from the danger; and thus receiving the wound intended for another, sunk and expired in her favorite’s arms. He immediately revenged her death, and flew the murderer. The inconsolable Adam Fleeming, now sinking under the pressure of grief, went abroad and served the banners of Spain, against the infidels. The impression, however, was too strong to be obliterated. The image of woe attended him thither; and the pleasing remembrance of the tender scenes that were past, with the melancholy reflection, that they could never return, harassed his soul, and deprived his mind of repose. He soon returned, and stretching himself on her grave, expired, and was buried by her side.” He was said to have written the song whilst he was in Spain. The lyrics can be found in the parish report of Kirkpatrick-Fleming, County of Dumfries (OSA, Vol. XIII, 1794, p. 274) There is also a recording of the song Fair Helen of Kirkconnel on Tobar an Dualchias.

Events such as battles, have also been immortalized in song. In the report given by the Chapel of Garioch, County of Aberdeen, there is a description of the Battle of Harlaw. “From the ferocity with which this battle was contested, and the dismal spectacle of civil war exhibited to the country, it appears to have made a deep impression on the national mind. It fixed itself on the music and the poetry of Scotland. A march called the Battle of Harlaw continued to be a popular air, down to the time of Drummond of Hawthornden; and a spirited ballad on the same event is still repeated in our own age, describing the meeting of the armies and the death of the chiefs in no ignoble strain.” (NSA, Vol. XII, 1845, p. 568) In Wamphray, County of Dumfries, “songs are still sung descriptive of the barbarous deeds and bloody feuds of some former age, of which this parish was the scene.” (OSA, Vol. XII, 1794, p. 606) One man named Mackay from Thurso, was an Adjutant to the Thurso Volunteers and “and as a specimen of his poetical abilities, the copy of a song, which he composed on that corps” can be found in the report of Thurso, County of Caithness. (OSA, Vol. XX, 1798, p. 532)

Other songs that you can find out about in the Statistical Accounts of Scotland include The Souters o’ Selkirk (OSA, Vol. II, 1792, p. 436), Logie o’ Buchan (NSA, Vol. XII, 1845, p. 812) and Gin I Were Where the Gadie Rins (NSA, Vol. XII, 1845, p. 1020).

Image taken from the book 'Scottish Songs - in two volumes' (1794), showing people dancing and a man playing a violin.

Title page of the book ‘Scottish Songs – in Two Volumes’, 1794. By Internet Archive Book Images [No restrictions], via Wikimedia Commons.

Eminent musicians

Inhabitants of certain parishes became very accomplished musicians. In Towie, County of Aberdeen, “vocal and instrumental music, particularly the violin, form the most prominent amusements of the people in the winter evenings, and it is believed that few parishes in Scotland can boast of so many good Strathspey players, who are also temperate in their habits, and industriously employed in their other vocations.” (NSA, Vol. XII, 1845, p.418) A strathspey is a type of dance tune which has 4 beats to a bar. Examples include Auld Lang Syne and Coming through the Rye. It also refers to the dance performed to it. (In the last post we looked at some particular Scottish songs.) Whereas, in the County of Caithness, “the violin, and Highland bag-pipe, are the only musical instruments, played on by professional men in Thurso. The Highland reels are played particularly well, on both these instruments, in Caithness; but the proper flow bag-pipe tunes and marches, are not given in that perfection here, with seems almost peculiar to the West Highland pipers.” (OSA, Vol. XX, 1798, p. 531)

Specific eminent musical families are also mentioned in the Statistical Accounts of Scotland, including the MacCrimmons, who were the hereditary pipers of the MacLeods. “Certain it is that, what rarely happens, high musical talent as well as high moral principle and personal bravery, descended from father to son during many generations in the family of the MacCrimmons. They became so celebrated that pupils were sent to them from all quarters of the Highlands, and one of the best certificates that a piper could possess was his having studied under the MacCrimmons.” As reported by the parish of Duirinish, County of Inverness, “finding the number of pupils daily increasing, they at length opened a regular, school or college for pipe music on the farm of Boreraig, opposite to Dunvegan Castle, but separated from it by Loch Follart… Macleod endowed this school by granting the farm of Boreraig to it, and it is no longer ago than seventy years since the endowment was withdrawn.” Find out for what reason at NSA, Vol. XIV, 1845, p. 339.

Kilmuir was also famous for its pipers, the most notable of which were the MacArthurs. “When the proprietors resided in the parish, a free grant of the lands of Peingowen, a hamlet in the place, was given to the MacArthurs, in the same manner as Boreraig was given by the MacLeods of Dunvegan, to the MacCrimmons. Peingowen, like Boreraig, was a sort of musical college, to which pupils were sent by various chieftains, to acquire a correct knowledge of piobaireachd. A little green hill in close vicinity to Piengowen, called Cnoc-phail, was the general rendezvous of the MacArthurs and their pupils. To the top of this eminence, they almost daily resorted, and practised their tunes. The MacArthurs vied with the MacCrimmons of Dunvegan, the MacGregors of Fortingall, the Mackays of Gairloch, the Rankins of Coll, and the MachIntyres of Rannoch, who were all renowned performers in their day.” (NSA, Vol. XIV, 1845, p. 285)

It is not all just bagpipes and violins. Stevenston, county of Ayrshire, was well-known for the manufacture of trumps, also known as the Jew’s harp at Piperheugh. “The pipers and harpers, like their woodland village, have passed away; but they seem to have bequeathed the mantle of song, to their posterity, for the inhabitants of Stevenston are still distinguished for their musical propensities, as an instrumental band, and glee club, and, what is better, the excellent singing of the congregation in church, amply testify.” (NSA, Vol. V, 1845, p. 453)

A photograph of Iain Lom's memorial at Cille Choirille kirkyard.

Iain Lom’s memorial at Cille Choirille kirkyard. James Yardley [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons.

In the parish report of Kilmonivaig, County of Inverness, you can read about the fascinating Iain Lom who was considered “a poetical genius of a very high order. His songs translated into English would exhibit a striking picture of the period in which be lived.” He wrote songs about many events which he and his contemporaries experienced, such as the Battle of Inverlochy in 1645, the Treaty of Union in 1707 and the Battle of Killiecrankie, “which he describes in a song, composed on the occasion, in such a manner as an eye-witness alone could describe it.” He was believed to have held the office of Gaelic Poet Laureate to King Charles II, an office which, is believed, died with himself. It is very interesting to learn how influential his songs were to the Scots. “[His] songs more powerfully influenced the minds of his countrymen than all the legislation which was at that time employed for that purpose. Children were taught to lisp them. They were sung in the family circle on long winter evenings, and at weddings, lykewakes, raffles, fairs, and in every company. They attributed to the Stewarts and their adherents the most exalted virtues; and the opponents of that family they represented as incarnate fields.” (NSA, Vol. XIV, 1845, p. 509)

Other prominent Scots who were music enthusiasts are:

It is through the devotion and dedication of Scotland’s people that their music has become so distinctive and longstanding. Scotland’s songs chart the history of its people and events and so are central to the country’s identity. It is wonderful to be able to discover traditional songs and their origins, and, in so doing, helping to ensure that Scotland’s music and its meaning is not lost.

In our next post on Scotland’s dance and music we will explore musical education, music in a religious context (including weddings and funerals) and changes in attitudes to music.


Scotland’s Music and Dance: Amusement, Traditions and Work

If someone was to say to you “music and dance in Scotland” you would automatically think of bagpipes and ceilidh dances. But, looking at the Statistical Accounts of Scotland, you would discover a wider world of music and dance. It is very much central to Scottish traditions, from social gatherings through to religious settings, and even in work. It plays an important role in the lives of people, no matter what class or age. The country and its people are embodied and given life through song. There are also some surprising revelations, with many parishes reporting an actual loss in the taste for music!

In the first of three posts on music and dance in Scotland, we look at music in social settings, musical traditions and music while working.

Music in social settings

Music, along with sport, provided light relief after a long hard day or week of work, especially in the winter. In Dryfesdale, County of Dumfries, “the principal diversion or amusement is curling on the ice in the winter, when sometimes scores of people assemble on the waters, and in the most keen, yet friendly manner, engage against one another, and usually conclude the game and day with a good dinner, drink, and songs.” (OSA, Vol. IX, 1793, p. 432)

The principle amusements in Durness, County of Sutherland, were playing ball and shinty on the sands of Balnakiel. “The whole population turns out on old Christmas and new-year’s day, and even old men of seventy are to be seen mingling in the crowd, remaining till night puts an end to the contest. Indeed, the inhabitant, of this parish have always been noted for the enthusiasm with which they engaged in these sports. To keep up the tone of action, they retire in the evening, and mingle in the dance to the music of the bagpipe, regardless of the bruises and scars of the contest.” (NSA, Vol. XV, 1845, p. 96)

Most farmhouses and all cottages in Dornock, County of Dumfries, were constructed using mud or clay. “The manner of erecting them is singular… Some [people] fall to the working the clay or mud, by mixing it with straw; others carry the materials; and 4 or 6 of the most experienced hands, build and take care of the walls. The walls of the house are finished in a few hours; after which, they retire to a good dinner and plenty of drink which is provided for them, where they have music and a dance, with which, and other marks of festivity, they conclude the evening. This is called a daubing; and in this manner they make a frolic of what would otherwise be a very dirty and disagreeable job.” (OSA, Vol. II, 1792, p. 22)

Music also played an important part in festivals. One example is that of the annual St Columba’s Day fair at Largs, County of Ayrshire, which was held on the second Tuesday of June. “The whole week is a kind of jubilee to the inhabitants, and a scene of diversion to others. Such a vast multitude cannot be accommodated with beds; and the Highlanders, in particular, do not seem to think such accommodation necessary. They spend the whole night in rustic sports, carousing and dancing on the green to the sound of the bagpipe. Every one who chooses is allowed to join in this, which forms their principal amusement. The candidates for the dance are generally so numerous, that it is kept up without intermission during the whole time of the fair.” (OSA, Vol. XVII, 1796, p. 519)

A print showing people dancing in the ballroom at Eglinton Castle, North Ayrshire, Scotland. 1840.

The Ballroom at Eglinton Castle, 1840. By Hodgson (The Eglinton Tournament) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Some parishes set up assembly rooms wherever they could, such as Tiree and Coll, County of Argyle. “They frequently entertain themselves by composing and singing songs, by repeating Fingalian and other tales, by dancing assemblies at different farms by turns. In this qualification they are remarkably neat.” (OSA, Vol. X, 1794 p. 414) Others had a specific assembly room where people would dance, such as Edinburgh. “In 1763, there was one dancing assembly room; the profits of which went to the support of the Charity-Workhouse. Minutes were danced by each set, previous to the country dances. Strict regularity with respect to dress and decorum, and great dignity of manners were observed.”  (OSA, Vol. VI, 1793, p. 618)

In fact, there were many dances organized for charitable purposes. In Strathdon, County of Aberdeen, subscription dances were “set on foot for the relief of some case of poverty or incidental distress in the neighbourhood; and thus, at the individual cost of a few pence, a considerable sum is realized for a needy neighbour. Another charitable practice prevails. When an extraordinary case of helpless distress occurs, the young men in the locality assemble together, and, often accompanied with music, go from house to house, where they receive a donation in kind or money. In this way a considerable supply is speedily raised in behalf of the object of their charitable exertions.” (NSA, Vol. XII, 1845, p. 549) A similar practice was carried out in Kirkmichael, County of Dumfries, where “a friend is sent to as many of their neighbours as they think needful, to invite them to what they call a drinking… The guests convene at the time appointed, and, after collecting a
shilling a piece, and sometimes more, they divert themselves for about a couple of hours, with music and dancing”. This sometimes resulted in 5, 6, or 7 pounds being raised for the needy person or family. (OSA, Vol. I, 1791, p. 59)

In Liberton, County of Edinburgh, there were carter’s plays. “The carters have friendly societies for the purpose of supporting each other in old age or during ill-health, and with the view partly of securing a day’s recreation, and partly of recruiting their numbers and funds, they have an annual procession. Every man decorates his cart-horse with flowers and ribbons, and a regular procession is made, accompanied by a band of music, through this and some of the neighbouring parishes. To crown all, there is an uncouth uproarious race with cart-horses on the public road, which draws forth a crowd of Edinburgh idlers, and all ends in a dinner, for which a fixed sum is paid.” (NSA, Vol. I, 1845, p. 12)

Musical traditions

It is easy to see how such musical pastimes became traditions. There are some wondrous customs involving music and dance described in the parish reports. One such tradition was the holding of an annual festival in Perth, County of Perth, during which the Saint Obert’s Play was performed. On the 10th December, people “attired themselves in disguise dresses, and passed through the city piping and dancing, and striking drums, and carrying in their hands burning torches. One of the actors was clad in a particular kind of coat, which they designated the Devil’s Coat, and another rode upon a horse, having on its feet men’s shoes. There is no account extant of its minute particulars, but, from the manner in which the kirk session and the corporation officials dealt with the performers, it appears to have been idolatrous, profane, and immoral in its tendency.” So much so that action was taken by the Kirk Session against such pastimes, especially the Saint Obert’s play. (NSA, Vol. X, 1845, p. 80)

In the Peebles parish report there is a very interesting description of the Beltane Festival, which is held every year on the 1st May. It mentions a poem by King James I “entitled Peebles to
the Play, in which he represents a great annual festival of music, diversions, and feasting, that had long been in use to be held at Peebles, attended by multitudes from the Forth and the Forest, in their best apparel.” (OSA, Vol. XII, 1794, p. 14) This poem can be found in The Miscellany of Popular Scottish Poems.

However, some traditions had fallen by the wayside even by the time the Statistical Accounts of Scotland were written. Formerly, in Lady, County of Orkney, “it was customary for companies of men, on new year’s morning, to go to the houses of the rich, and awake the family, by singing the New Year’s song, in full chorus. When the song was concluded, the family entertained the musicians with ale and bread, and gave them a smoked goose or a piece of beef.” (NSA, Vol. XV, 1845, p. 142)

Other festivals that formerly took place was the Trades Race fair that was held every June in Beith, County of Ayrshire, “in which the trades assembled and went in procession through the town with music and flags. On the day after the Trades Race, the merchants of the town used to meet and walk in procession, and afterwards dine together” (NSA, Vol. V, 1845, p. 592) and the Maiden Feast which was held at the end of harvest time in Longforgan, County of Perth, the maiden referring to the last handful of corn reaped in the field. “One of the finest girls in the field was dressed up in ribbands, and brought home in triumph, with the music of fiddles or bagpipes. A good dinner was given to the whole band, and the evening spent in joviality and dancing, while the fortunate lass who took the maiden was the Queen of the feast.” This custom was later replaced with each shearer being given 6d. and a loaf of bread, although “some farmers, when all their corns are brought in, give their servants a dinner, and a jovial evening, by way of Harvest-home.” (OSA, Vol. XIX, 1797, p. 550)

In the Statistical Accounts of Scotland there are also some very unusual anecdotes involving music, including:

  • the story of an unfortunate piper in a cave somewhere in Kilmalie, County of Inverness, whose music could be heard 10 miles away. The tune that he played was “”Oh! that I had three hands I two for the bagpipe, and one for the sword” signifying that he had been attacked by subterranean foes.” (OSA, Vol. VIII, 1793, p. 421)
  • a young man in Lundie and Fowlis, County of Forfar, who, one day, played a tune on the shepherd’s pipe. “Hearing his music distinctly repeated three times over, he got up in great terror, averring that the Devil was certainly in the place; that he had never before engaged with Satan, and he was determined he never would again; whereupon he broke his pipe in pieces, and could never afterwards be prevailed upon to play any more.” (OSA, Vol. VII, 1793, p. 282)

In the parish of Leuchars, County of Fife, it was reported that the fiddle was played to ease the suffering of people affected with St Vitus’ Dance (another name for Sydenham’s chorea). “It was not
regular music that gave relief, but the striking of certain strings, which the person under agitation, desired should be struck again. The effect was astonishing; the person affected, became quiet, sat down, and in a little, asked to be put to bed, but still called for the person to play, till the feelings that produced the agitation were abated.” (OSA, Vol. XVIII, 1796, p. 606)

Music as you work

Music was not only found in social settings. There are some mentions of people, especially fishermen, using the power of song and music to get them through their work. In Prestonpans, County of Haddington, it was reported that, at a particular time of year, fishing for oysters forms the principal occupation of a number of seafaring men. “Long before dawn, in the bleakest season of the year, their dredging song may be heard afar off, and, except when the wind is very turbulent, their music, which is not disagreeable, appears to be an accompaniment of labours that are by no means unsuccessful.” (NSA, Vol. II, 1845, p. 312)

painting of fishermen with their haul of fish

Silver Darlings, Unknown Artist. North Ayrshire Heritage Council. [Re-used through Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Licence]

In the parish of Latheron, County of Caithness, fishermen “engage in worship after shooting their nets. On these occasions a portion of a psalm is sung, followed with prayer, and the effect is represented as truly solemn and heart-stirring, as the melodious strains of the Gaelic music, carried along the surface of the waters, (several being similarly engaged), spread throughout the whole fleet.” (NSA, Vol. XV, 1845, p. 102) (We will look specifically at music and religion in our next post.)

Music may also improve the end product! Rutherglen, County of Lanark, “has long been famous for sour cakes. As the baking is wholly performed by the hand a great deal of noise is the consequence. The beats, however, are not irregular, nor destitute of an agreeable harmony, especially when they are accompanied with vocal music, which is frequently the case.” (NSA, Vol. VI, 1845, p. 384) It would be very interesting to see and hear the process, as well as taste the results.

The power of music

Looking at the references to music and dance in the Statistical Accounts you can see how much it pervaded every aspect of life from work to play. Music and dance may have changed in many ways since these parish reports, but the one constant is that they have the power to bring joy, to heal and to allow people to express themselves.

In the next post on Scotland’s dance and music we will look at examples of Scottish ballads found in the Statistical Accounts of Scotland and eminent musicians, especially musical families.


Let there be music 5!

Here is the fifth and last in the series of weird and wonderful music titles found in SUNCAT. The answers to last week’s quiz are:

  • Classical music – Ovation.
  • Hip-hop – Wax poetics.
  • Reggae – Boom-shacka-lacka.
  • Pop music – Swing like 60!
  • Soul – Angry voices.

Here are some other weird and wonderful music titles.

  • Suspect device
  • Tapioka.
  • Twisted nerve.
  • The Black sheep review.
  • Ugly planet.
  • Blue yodel / Indiana University Folksong Club.
  • Voice of Buddha.
  • Bag of tricks & candysticks.
  • Wool city rocker : Yorkshire’s rock magazine.
  • Young, fast, and scientific.
  • Blurt : a mighty organ.
  • Jazz not jazz.
  • Breach of the peace.
  • Elvis Costello information service.
  • Remember don’t sleep.
  • Cool and strange music! magazine.
  • Cosmik debris magazine.
  • Bored stiff till ’77.
  • Crazy rhythm : the newsletter of the Crazy Cavan ’n’ The Rhythm Rockers Fan Club.
  • A fanzine called white lemonade.
  • Foggy notions.
  • Box and fiddle.
  • No-title.
  • Situation vacant.
  • Gordon’s Koolsville magazine : doo wop, rockabilly, hillbilly, western swing, surf.
  • Mad rat magazine.
  • Strutters quarterly.
  • The fader.
  • Strange things are happening.
  • Texas hotel burning.
  • The devil’s music.
  • Pink Flamingo.
  • Bim bam boom : the magazine devoted to the history of rhythm & blues.
  • Earshot.
  • Insomniac.
  • In the key of now.

The SUNCAT team hope you enjoyed our ‘Let There Be Music’ series. For more music serials and other weird and wonderful titles take a look in SUNCAT.


Let there be music 4!

Here is the fourth in the series of weird and wonderful music titles found in SUNCAT.

The answers to last week’s quiz, which was to guess the genre the given titles referred to, are:

  • Leap : the magazine for Britain’s club casualties. – Rave/Dance music
  • No depression. – Country music
  • Elemental. – Rap/Hip-hop
  • No more masterpieces. – Punk rock

For this week’s quiz can you tell which titles refer to each of the following genres: classical; hip-hop; pop; reggae; and soul? N.B. Only one title applies to each genre. Answers will appear in the next ‘Let There Be Music’ blog post.

  • The revolution will not be televised.
  • Rhubarb bomb.
  • The cotton patch rag.
  • Wax poetics.
  • Ricochet! Ricochet!
  • Rockin’ bones.
  • Fo’c’s’le.
  • Safe as milk.
  • Samurai jam.
  • Ovation.
  • Sanity is boring.
  • Mugwumps.
  • Satan’s fishtank.
  • HAGL. (Have a good laugh)
  • Come for to sing.
  • Boom-shacka-lacka.
  • Reassess your weapons.
  • A sense of purpose.
  • Angry voices.
  • Shot from all sides.
  • Bandits one to five.
  • Sick sounds.
  • Swing like 60!.
  • Gardyloo.
  • Skipping kitten.
  • Slow dazzle.
  • Slug & lettuce : a zine supporting the do-it-yourself ethics of the punk community.
  • Generic drivel.
  • Stand & deliver.
  • The Devil’s box.
  • Station alien.
  • Penguin eggs.
  • Stringent measures.
  • Sugar beat!.

Look out for the fifth in the series of music serials coming soon! For other weird and wonderful titles take a look in SUNCAT.


Let there be music 3!

Here is the third in the series of weird and wonderful music titles found in SUNCAT.

The answer to last week’s quiz question, which was to name the title given in the post which refers to rave music, is:

The positive energy of madness.

For this week’s quiz can you guess which musical genres the following titles refer to?

  • Leap : the magazine for Britain’s club casualties
  • No depression
  • Elemental.
  • No more masterpieces.

Here are some other weird and wonderful music titles.

  • Rocking chair.
  • Piping world.
  • Less than zero.
  • 5678 country : the dance magazine for country & line dance.
  • Let’s be adult about this.
  • Life in a void.
  • A little angry in a very nice place.
  • TCDS. (Terribly complex drainage system.)
  • Life in the jungle : the magazine of the official Walter Trout Band Fan Club.
  • Loose lips sink ships.
  • Manchester la la la.
  • Bald cactus.
  • Mega thrash megazine.
  • The devil’s music.
  • Mounting tension.
  • New musickal excess : NMX.
  • Blah blah blah.
  • Flying Dutchman.
  • Off-White Lies.
  • K-bar-T country roundup.
  • One two testing.
  • Incredible shrinking fabzine.
  • Club sandwich : Wings own paper.
  • Pretty but schizo.
  • Bleak horizon zine.
  • Rapid eye movement.
  • The Jazzologist.
  • Let’s catch the beat!
  • Remember who we are.
  • Coal country crier.

Look out for the fourth in the series of music serials coming soon! For other weird and wonderful titles take a look in SUNCAT.


Let there be music 2!

Here is the second in the series of weird and wonderful music titles found in SUNCAT.

The answers to last week’s quiz are:

Gospel – You can!

Jazz – Different drummer.

Hip-hop – Who’s who in Christian hip-hop : artists directory.; Syntax : never satisfied always occupied.

Psychedelic rock – Why are we sleeping? : a digest of Kevin Ayers.

County – The Shindig in the barn.; Blue yodeler.

Folk – Rocking chair.; Autoharp.

This week’s quiz question is to name the title given below which refers to rave music. The answer will be given in the next ‘Let There Be Music’ blog post.

  • Sandy Bell’s broadsheet.
  • Crash smash bash trash!
  • Dayglow.
  • Djangology : the journal of the Django Reinhardt Society Inc.
  • Can’t stand limitedition records.
  • Denim delinquent.
  • Pressure drop.
  • Ego-bruising.
  • Straight no chaser.
  • Ptolemaic terrascope.
  • Endless struggle times.
  • Free Appreciation Society.
  • The talking drum.
  • Potatoland.
  • Groovy black shades.
  • Future is a dare.
  • Cornbread moon.
  • Get out!
  • Artrocker.
  • Gorgeous and fully equipped.
  • DJ blackbook.
  • Guilty face.
  • Here be monsters : HBM.
  • Screaming Secrets.
  • Hey ho – let’s stomp!
  • Broken violin.
  • Howdy from Texas : the lone star state.
  • Idiot box.
  • Exhale!
  • Inaudible magazine.
  • The positive energy of madness.
  • IndieCent.
  • Jelly bean machine.
  • More black than purple.
  • Lemon meringue pantry.

Look out for the third in the series of music serials coming soon! For other weird and wonderful titles take a look in SUNCAT.


Let There Be Music 1!

If, like us at SUNCAT, you love music, whether it is (alternative) rock, punk, pop, soul, blues, gospel, funk, rap, hip-hop, reggae, jazz, classical or country, take a look at some of the really weird and wonderful music titles below. There are so many to be found in SUNCAT that there is going to be a whole series of them!

Just for fun, can you tell which title(s) refer to each of the following genres: gospel; jazz; hip-hop; psychedelic rock; country; and folk?  N.B. Only one or two titles apply to each genre. Answers will appear in the next ‘Let There Be Music’ blog post.

  • Adverse effect
  • All the Madmen newsletter
  • Rose tinted windows
  • And don’t run away you punk!!!
  • Different drummer.
  • Assess your weapons.
  • No more of that.
  • BigO : before I get old.
  • Strawberries for tea.
  • Bigwig.
  • XLR8R : defining America’s electronic music underground.
  • The Birth of tragedy.
  • The Shindig in the barn.
  • Blank reception.
  • Who’s who in Christian hip-hop : artists directory.
  • Concrete beaches.
  • Here be monsters : HBM.
  • Rocking chair.
  • Grinding halt.
  • What time does the revolution start?
  • Blue yodeler.
  • Pure popcorn!
  • You can!
  • A bucketful of brains.
  • Full tilt boogie.
  • Toastie cuts.
  • Autoharp.
  • New gandy dancer.
  • Syntax : never satisfied always occupied.
  • But that’s downbeat and ridiculous, Sharon!
  • Careless talk costs lives.
  • Why are we sleeping? : a digest of Kevin Ayers.
  • Blues & rhythm, the gospel truth.
  • Nuff za nuff.
  • Circus rock immortals.

Look out for the second in the series of ‘Let There Be Music’ posts coming soon! For other music serials and other weird and wonderful titles take a look in SUNCAT.


Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival

The Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival starts tomorrow (Friday 19th July) and runs until Sunday 28th July. It has “household names, UK debut, world premieres, musicians from over 20 countries, an all-day club at the Tron Kirk to late night jam sessions at the Jazz Bar”. There are many serials covering jazz and blues in SUNCAT. Here is a selection of the more interesting titles.

  • Dig! : Winnipeg’s monthly jazz magazine.
  • Doctor jazz.
  • Earshot jazz.
  • Federation jazz.
  • JAM jazz ambassador magazine.
  • Jazz á go-go.
  • Jazz at the Pizza Express.
  • The Jazz blast.
  • Jazz bytes newsletter.
  • Jazz echo : publication of the International Jazz Federation, Inc.
  • Jazz happenings.
  • Jazz hot.
  • Jazz ’n pops; a comprehensive catalog of jazz and popular longplay records.
  • Jazz rambler.
  • Jazz-tango.
  • JAZZed: The Jazz Educator’s Magazine.
  • The Jazzologist.
  • The new jazz thing!
  • Pop, jazz & show choir magazine.
  • Radio free jazz.
  • Straight no chaser : the magazine of world jazz jive.
  • The bejazzed journal.
  • Djangology : the journal of the Django Reinhardt Society Inc.
  • Jazz not jazz.
  • No name jazzletter.
  • Bim bam boom : the magazine devoted to the history of rhythm & blues.
  • Big city blues.
  • Crazy music : the journal of the Australian Blues Society.
  • Pickin’ the blues.

For more titles about jazz and blues, as well as music in general take a look in SUNCAT.