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TITLE
Do you have an anecdote which highlights the 'human' aspect of your specialist subject? - Margaret Bennett
EXTERNAL ID
AB_SGI_02_MARGARET_BENNETT_Q_04
PLACENAME
Inverness
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Inverness and Bona
DATE OF RECORDING
2009
PERIOD
2000s
CREATOR
Margaret Bennett
SOURCE
Am Baile
ASSET ID
41014
KEYWORDS
conferences
emigration
lecturers
audio
audios
humanaspect

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As part of Homecoming Scotland 2009, a three-day international conference - Scotland's Global Impact - was held at Eden Court theatre, Inverness from 22-24 October. Prominent academics, historians and other experts came together to provoke healthy discussion on the history of migration and the influence of Scots abroad.

Am Baile interviewed several of the speakers during the conference. In this audio extract, Dr Margaret Bennett answers the question:

'Do you have an anecdote which highlights the 'human' aspect of your specialist subject?'

'And one of my memories there was that they sent somebody walking down, just about four, five miles from where we stayed, to say, 'Mr Bennett, we heard you play this Scottish instrument. Bagpipes, I think it's called? We wonder, would you play at the fishermen's hall for our concert?' So my father said he was delighted and he said, 'Well, I'll bring my daughter as well, she'll sing for you.' So we were just delighted we could do something because basically they were, a lot of them were unemployed, and there was no work, and the fishing was not in great shape at the time.

So, away we went and the fishermen's hall had no electricity, of course, but it had little paraffin lamps all around the walls - this is in 1967 - and there was benches, like this old school gym benches, that was the seating, only they were homemade, and when my father went on the stage with the bagpipes the front row sort of all collectively stood up and scuffled forward till their knees were against the stage, and the whole hall moved forward. And we discovered that we weren't there as contributions to the fishermen's concert, we were the concert!

And so, oh, two hours I suppose, we played and sang. But for me the lovely thing was, they sang as well. You know, I'd say to them, 'I'd love, you know, I'd love you to sing with me', but for me that was natural because I grew up in that kind of a situation and I thought, 'Well, they probably don't realise that this kind of a way of life is my people as well, but we've, we've moved on a bit in the 1960s', but my mother had certainly experienced that kind of, you know, lacking in material things.'


BIOGRAPHY

Dr Margaret Bennett was brought up in the Isles of Skye, Lewis and Shetland. She emigrated to Canada in 1967 as a post-graduate student in Folklore at Memorial University of Newfoundland. In 1975 she was Folklorist with The Museum of Civilization's Quebec-Hebridean Project, returning to Scotland in 1976. From 1984 she lectured at the University of Edinburgh, recording oral history and traditions of Scots at home and abroad.

Now part-time at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, her books include 'Scottish Customs from the Cradle to the Grave' (1992) and two prize-winning studies on emigrant traditions, 'The Last Stronghold: Scottish Gaelic Traditions in Newfoundland' (1989) and 'Oatmeal and the Catechism: Scottish Gaelic Settlers in Quebec' (1999).

She features on several CD recordings, has sung at international festivals and has contributed to several theatre productions. In 1998 she received the Master Music Maker Award in celebration of a lifetime of musicianship and teaching, and in 2003, the Celtic Women International award for 'lifelong service to Scottish Culture'. For Homecoming Scotland 2009 she has published a book with double-CD of songs spanning three centuries, 'Dìleab Ailean-A Newfoundland Homecoming Cèilidh' (Grace Note Publications).

Image: Duncan MacNab

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Do you have an anecdote which highlights the 'human' aspect of your specialist subject? - Margaret Bennett

INVERNESS: Inverness and Bona

2000s

conferences; emigration; lecturers; audio; audios; humanaspect;

Am Baile

Scotland's Global Impact

As part of Homecoming Scotland 2009, a three-day international conference - Scotland's Global Impact - was held at Eden Court theatre, Inverness from 22-24 October. Prominent academics, historians and other experts came together to provoke healthy discussion on the history of migration and the influence of Scots abroad. <br /> <br /> Am Baile interviewed several of the speakers during the conference. In this audio extract, Dr Margaret Bennett answers the question:<br /> <br /> 'Do you have an anecdote which highlights the 'human' aspect of your specialist subject?' <br /> <br /> 'And one of my memories there was that they sent somebody walking down, just about four, five miles from where we stayed, to say, 'Mr Bennett, we heard you play this Scottish instrument. Bagpipes, I think it's called? We wonder, would you play at the fishermen's hall for our concert?' So my father said he was delighted and he said, 'Well, I'll bring my daughter as well, she'll sing for you.' So we were just delighted we could do something because basically they were, a lot of them were unemployed, and there was no work, and the fishing was not in great shape at the time. <br /> <br /> So, away we went and the fishermen's hall had no electricity, of course, but it had little paraffin lamps all around the walls - this is in 1967 - and there was benches, like this old school gym benches, that was the seating, only they were homemade, and when my father went on the stage with the bagpipes the front row sort of all collectively stood up and scuffled forward till their knees were against the stage, and the whole hall moved forward. And we discovered that we weren't there as contributions to the fishermen's concert, we were the concert! <br /> <br /> And so, oh, two hours I suppose, we played and sang. But for me the lovely thing was, they sang as well. You know, I'd say to them, 'I'd love, you know, I'd love you to sing with me', but for me that was natural because I grew up in that kind of a situation and I thought, 'Well, they probably don't realise that this kind of a way of life is my people as well, but we've, we've moved on a bit in the 1960s', but my mother had certainly experienced that kind of, you know, lacking in material things.'<br /> <br /> <br /> BIOGRAPHY<br /> <br /> Dr Margaret Bennett was brought up in the Isles of Skye, Lewis and Shetland. She emigrated to Canada in 1967 as a post-graduate student in Folklore at Memorial University of Newfoundland. In 1975 she was Folklorist with The Museum of Civilization's Quebec-Hebridean Project, returning to Scotland in 1976. From 1984 she lectured at the University of Edinburgh, recording oral history and traditions of Scots at home and abroad. <br /> <br /> Now part-time at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, her books include 'Scottish Customs from the Cradle to the Grave' (1992) and two prize-winning studies on emigrant traditions, 'The Last Stronghold: Scottish Gaelic Traditions in Newfoundland' (1989) and 'Oatmeal and the Catechism: Scottish Gaelic Settlers in Quebec' (1999). <br /> <br /> She features on several CD recordings, has sung at international festivals and has contributed to several theatre productions. In 1998 she received the Master Music Maker Award in celebration of a lifetime of musicianship and teaching, and in 2003, the Celtic Women International award for 'lifelong service to Scottish Culture'. For Homecoming Scotland 2009 she has published a book with double-CD of songs spanning three centuries, 'Dìleab Ailean-A Newfoundland Homecoming Cèilidh' (Grace Note Publications).<br /> <br /> Image: Duncan MacNab