Thursday, 14 February 2008

Clogging update . . .

Nancy posted the following comment, which she doesn't mind me using as an update to the thread:

"this is so great. I didn't know you were familiar with John Seymour. I guess you saw the post i did on the book you mentioned. A wonderful book.
Clogging became popular here, as well. As immigrants from Scotland, Ireland and Wales settled the mountains and ridges of the Appalachians through Kentucky and Tennessee, (into the Carolinas, Georgia and West Virginia as well) the dance remained a tradition. I grew up with a clogging tradition and learned to do a bit of it. My brother went so far as to go for lessons and became a very good clogger. My people are all from Kentucky. (and Ireland before that) There was a kind of subculture there in the Appalachian mountains and foothills, of extremely rural people who remained pretty isolated from the rest of the nation and from progress. They lived on the ridges and in the "hollers" and sometimes never went 10 miles from home their whole lives. Much of the beautiful old music with the very Celtic influence comes from there. Some of the old songs which you would recognize became American folk music as well. I'm trying to think of some. Barbary Allen, Lord Thomas, Fair Ellender, and Pretty Polly are a few.
I thought that might interest you.Nancy"

I find this fascinating, as I never knew that such traditions continued when the great migrations to the States occurred. It makes me feel good that "the old ways" were clung onto, and I certainly would never have guessed that clogging happened elsewhere.

I meant to mention yesterday that one of the clog dances they do in the Welsh Eistedfodds - or at least the Urdd Eistedfodds I have been to with my daughters - involves jumping over a candle and putting it out.

My husband also mentioned that he can recall as a child, seeing the women of poorer communities of some parts of Manchester (he mentioned Longsite and Ardwick) who would wear clogs when they were doing outside work - in particular "stoning" the front step. These clogs were all wood though - no metal strips on the bottom, no fancy bits, just shoes made of wood.


MammyT said...

Another thing you might find of interest, Jennie: My dad was from back in the hills. He did migrate into the city eventually, but he carried with him much of the old ways. One thing in particular was his colloquial accent. Most folks would have considered that he had a Kentucky twang or what they called a "hillbilly" accent. But if you listened closely there were Celtic sounding words and phrases. For instance, he called the boys something that sounded like "byes". And always said "ye" instead of "you. He was born in 1905 in Jackson County Kentucky, was adamant about his Irishness, and proud of it. Particular that everyone knew we were "Northern" Irish, too. He even carried a genetic antagonism for the English which I'm sure was passed down through the generations. Perhaps you can see why some of us Americans claim a very Celtic background. The strains of some of the old mountain songs pull at my heartstrings like Danny Boy or Galway Bay. Same feeling.

MammyT said...

Oh, By the way, John and Alan Lomax documented much of the early mountain music here. You might want to google them sometime to see what you find. Might be surprising some of the songs that both you and I will consider ours.