Thursday, 23 June 2011

"Folklore Jukebox"

It's like the folklore equivalent of a some undiscovered Beatles recordings being put up online for free...and not like really rubbish late period in-fighting nonsense...more like stuff that was accidently left off Rubber Soul and Revolver. I've overstretched this metaphor...

BBC today reports on the online publication of the notebooks of Scottish folklore pioneer, Alexander Carmichael, 50 years of stories, songs, culture and curses from across the Scottish Highlands. Carmichael was born on Lismore, and attended schools on the island and also apparently in Greenock. Certainly he worked here as an exciseman before transferring to Dublin and eventually Islay, where he began collecting folklore.  History Scotland ran a great piece on him earlier this year.

Senior project researcher Dr Donald William Stewart said: "Alexander Carmichael tirelessly, even obsessively, recorded the culture, lore and beliefs of his native Scottish highlands. By the end of his life in 1912, he was both Celtic guru and folklore jukebox, the internationally-recognised authority on Scottish Gaelic songs, stories, traditions and beliefs. Carmichael's voluminous papers, now preserved in Edinburgh University library, form one of the foremost folklore collections in the world." (BBC)

And as of this evening, these notebooks and more, are available to view online at The Carmichael Watson Project.

You can also read their project blog, and listen to a 1907 cylinder recording of the man himself.


  1. Thank you for highlighting this amazing resource - better than any jukeboxes I know! I will be delving at every opportunity.

  2. Yer very welcome spending a bit of time there myself...great that such an amazing body of work is living on in new ways.


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