books

The Last Stronghold: Scottish Gaelic Traditions in Newfoundland

Margaret Bennett's The Last Stronghold provides a fascinating overview of the arrival, settlement, and way of life of Highlanders who left both old and New Scotland to settle in and around the Codroy Valley on the west coast of Newfoundland in the nineteenth century, and the linguistic and cultural assimilation of their descendants. ~Marion Bowman

Scottish Customs: From the Cradle to the Grave

"Margaret Bennett has given us another magic book, brought together from many books of the past, hitherto unpublished inteview material, private manuscripts ‐ wonderful miniatures of folklore, wise and charming commentary on human personality ina dazzling profusion. Takin the three greatest landmarks of humanity ‐ birth, mating and death ‐ she brings to life a Scotland from a hundred voices, at once making an invaluable contribution to the study of history and culture and showing us a Scotland in which the world can see its own hidden face." Owen Dudley Edwards (Writer, critic, lecturer)

Oatmeal and the Catechism: Scottish Gaelic Settlers in Quebec

Relying heavily upon oral tradition, the book embraces the diverse disciplines of folklore, history, language, geography, literature, sociology, agriculture, botany, and home economics. It covers emigration history, community and domestic lifestyles, religious and social structure (including songs, poems, legends, and folktales), customs and beliefs, and material culture. Oatmeal and the Catechism will be of great interest to scholars and students of Gaelic studies and folklore in addition to Quebecers and others whose Scottish ancestors settled in Quebec and eastern Canada and helped carve a country out of the wilderness.

See...When You Look Back: Reminiscences of the Home Front

Folklorist Dr Margaret Bennett collected these reminiscences of life in Clydeside at the time of the second World War. Those sharing their memories and (songs) are the good ladies of the Kinning Park Over Sixties Club. Gripping, touching, funny, their stories are an important insight into what it was like to be on the Home Front in wartime Scotland. The sections include Rationing, The Blackout, Women at Work, The Clydebank Blitz, Evacuees, and of course, entertainment and Songs. There is a CD of the ladies singing and reminiscing included with the book... There are many books and official records of the Second World War, mostly written from the point of view of military historians. But what of the wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, and sweethearts of those who joined the armed forces? This little book tells what it was like in Glasgow for some of the women and children whose lives and families were equally caught up in this terrible war. Till now, their voices have scarcely been heard, so their story is told here in the words of some of the women who were there.

It's Not the Time You Have...

... Scottishness was a springboard for Martyn Bennett, a firm rock beneath his foot to launch himself elsewhere… he fused and galvanised and created new forms out of old ones … as a matter of course. He did what we have to do in our national life generally. Start out from our unique Scots soil—rich, moist mixture of Gaelic and Irish and Asian and Norse—and launch ourselves outwards. There’s something fearless in the art of Martyn Bennett … confidence… faith… lacking in our intellectual and political arenas ... What’s the point in having our artists … if we don’t look to them for inspiration? Bennett was inspired by writing and many writers are, in turn, inspired by him. In his music there’s a glimpse of a Scotland we can find in depth… His is a Scotland I’d like one day to wake up in.~Chris Dolan, The Herald, Feb. 5, 2005

Dileab Ailein: The Legacy of Allan McArthur - Newfoundland Traditions Across Four Generations

A late Christmas present arrived on my desk at Highland Village early in 2010 by way of The Legacy of Allan MacArthur/Dileab Ailein, and it's true that big things can come in small packages. Dileab Ailein is a compendium of field recordings - accompanied by a detailed booklet of commentary, acknowledgments and transcriptions - made by Margaret Bennett during her time living and researching in Newfoundland's Codroy Valley during the 1970s. Gaelic has been spoken in the Codroy until very recently by decedents of Highland stock having origins in such places as Moideart, Glen Garry and the island of Canna - ancestral home of Allan's MacArthurs - and the cultural affinity prevails. ~ Seumas Watson

In Our Day...:Reminiscences and Songs From Rural Perthshire

Life in the glens and villages of Perthshire is viewed through the eyes of shepherds, farmers, crofters, estate workers, housewives, gardeners, professionals, trades-people and children. They all share reminiscences, stories, games, sayings and rhymes in Scots and Gaelic, which have been recorded for this book. Excerpts of transcriptions have been woven together by folklorist Margaret Bennett who also draws strands from written records. Perthshire singer and tradition-bearer Doris Rougvie has also illustrated the book, which concludes with a selection of Perthshire songs. Along with several friends, Doris and Margaret have recorded all the songs for a CD enclosed within the book. A Grace Notes Scotland Collection by Margaret Bennett, Doris Rougvie & friends.

Jerome: Just One More Song! Local, Social and Political History in the Repertoire of a Newfoundland-Irish Singer

To appreciate the way of life in any part of Newfoundland, the reader should bear in mind that, until 1949, Canada was another country. Anyone born before that year, is, first and foremost, a Newfoundlander, belonging to a unique island with a long history – it has the distinction of being Britain’s oldest colony. Given that Canada’s newest province was less than twenty years old when Bennett first went there, it was very common to hear folk explain, ‘I’m not a Canadian, I’m a Newfoundlander.’ Thus, to understand the social, cultural and historical context of a song, it is essential to appreciate where it comes from, and especially to acknowledge the people who compose and sing the song.

Dundee Street Songs, Rhymes and Games: The William Montgomerie Collection

Wiliam Montgomeries' significant colection, edited and annotated by Bennet and illustrated by Les McConnel, includes games, rhymes, and songs from the early 1950s. Bennet's detailed description of Wiliam and Norah Montgomerie's pioneering fieldwork, including their audio recordings, highlights important insight about children at play and folklorists at work. Since a CD of the recordings comes with over-the-counter book sales and the book includes links to recordings online, readers can listen to children excitedly sharing their favorite playground lore. This valuable addition of children's folklore scholarship is certainly something to celebrate.