Sangstories - Stories of Scottish Songs

Tales of Scottish traditional and newer songs sung by Sangschule of Linlithgow

Our Tutors

This page will have information about  singers who have been tutors for Sangschule over the years: Christine Kydd, Gordeanna McCulloch, Scott and Anne Murray of Sangsters, and Aileen Carr.

We have also had shorter visits from Anne Neilson, Eileen Penman, Sylvia and Elaine of Stairheid Gossip, Susie Kelly of Stravaig, Liz, Susan and Heather of Tryst and Amy Lord. Special workshop leaders included Alison McMorland, Sheila Stewart and Sara Grey.

Christine Kydd was our first and founding tutor when West Lothian Council set up its long-term song workshop in Linlithgow with a particular focus on Scottish traditional song.

  Christine visited weekly for two years, introduced us to a wide range of songs, and helped to set the guidelines on which the group, now self-supporting as Sangschule, is still mainly run.

She has gone on to found many community choirs in Scotland, including Sangstream,  Angus Folk, Breakish Singers and JustSinginBirnam. Her classes are fun and her excellent ear allows her to communicate harmonies with ease so that groups can hear themselves quite quickly producing exciting sounds.

Christine is recognized as one of Scotland's best interpreters of Scottish song, with a lovely voice and a great reputation as a stylish solo performer and inventor of sweet or edgy harmonies  when singing with others - as can be heard in her CDs as part of Chantan, with Janet Russell on Dancin' Chantin' and with Barbara Dymock as Sinsheen.

For information about her many activities and achievements, her website is http://www.christinekydd.com/.

Gordeanna McCulloch is a Glasgow-based singer whose beautiful ringing voice has been widely heard and appreciated since she had the good luck, in her schooldays, to attend the lunchtime ballad club run at Rutherglen Academy by English teacher and folksong enthusiast Norman Buchan.
 
Now she herself runs a regular ballad workshop in Glasgow with Anne Neilson, another former pupil of the academy who also went on to star in the Scottish folk revival of the 60s.
 Gordeanna is an internationally acclaimed performer of Scottish traditional song as a solo singer, and as a member of groups such as The Clutha, and Palaver. She has many recordings to her credit eg In Freenship’s Name for Greentrax, and teaches at the Glasgow Royal Conservatoire – formerly known as the RSAMD. She was a founder member and tutor for Glasgow’s socialist women’s choir, Eurydice.
She has a wide repertoire in Scottish traditional song and in socially aware and protest song. Her particular gift to Sangschule has been her focus on the story of the song, the meaning of the words. When looking at phrasing, she reminds us to speak the line first and see where the natural emphasis falls. – Sangschule is lucky to claim her as one of our regular tutors.
 

Anne and Scott Murray have been periodical tutors for Sangschule over many years.

They are members of Sangsters, which started in 1991 as a 3 person group with Fiona Forbes, based in Fife and singing Scottish traditional songs, Burns, and a sprinkling of contemporary songs, some written by Scott. All three were already individual winners of traditional singing competitions. In 1993 their first recording, “Begin” was published to great acclaim – it won The Scotsman’s “Cream of the Crop” album award for 1993. They were joined by John Blackwood and their second album “Sharp and Sweet” in 2000 was hailed as an excellent follow-up, the four voices producing close harmonies and shining through the guitar accompaniment from Scott and John. Sangsters has gone on to perform widely at home and abroad with a highlight being their invitation to sing at the Celtic Colours Festival in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.

 It is always a joy to hear Sangsters , but Sangschule is privileged also to hear Scott and Anne sing individually and together, teaching traditional Scots songs, encouraging us to find and enjoy the harmonies that seem to come so easily to them. Scott’s writing abilities have produced two of Sangschule’s favourites, both about life in the Fife fishing communities:  Guiding Light And the Evening Star and A Dyker’s Compliments to Her Neebors -  which allows us to sound off at bemused audiences: “Keep yer ain fishguts tae yer ain sea-maws”!  To keep us in balance, we have Anne’s beautiful voice with her ability to project calm and patience – qualities which no doubt contributed to her receiving an MBE as a teacher for services to children with special educational needs. The atmosphere of their sessions is always warm, relaxed and humorous and it can come as a surprise to find at the end that we have also learned a lot.

 

Aileen Carr came from a musical Perthshire family. Her parents both sang and played instruments at home and she joined in from an early age.  As a teenager she sang with a local concert party but going to the Blairgowrie Festival opened a new world of traditional music through singers like Belle Stewart. Notes from Aileen’s first CD, Green Yarrow, describe how when her family moved to Yorkshire, Aileen became a floor singer at two local folk clubs, where she met many performers such as Alison McMorland and Archie Fisher. In the 1970's she returned to Scotland and became a regular solo singer performing at Kinross Festival and throughout Britain and Ireland. In the 1980's she joined Ceolbeg for a time and later became a member of the a capella group, Palaver.

Aileen was Sangschule’s second, regular tutor from 2001 -2 when pressures of her work as a teacher combined with travel led to her resignation. We had enjoyed her rich and powerful voice - those of us whose voices are on a lower register were well catered for – and her varied repertoire, from short funny street songs to the beautiful “Silken Snood” and all the historical innuendo of the “Cuckoo’s Nest” and “A Wee Bird Cam Tae My Apron”. She was enthusiastic about giving us the background to songs and explaining unfamiliar Scots language, so that we could sing confidently about e.g. the cauldrife suitor who landed in the deuk dub. Sangschule was lucky to have her company for a year. 

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