Folk songs are a great source of shared memories, but we often overlook the opportunity to explore the relevance of such songs for the here and now. In the project Parallel Lives: Herring Girls and Migrant Workers the aim is to explore the stories and lived experiences behind The Song of the Fish Gutters (which is about young women who migrated along the Northeast coast of Scotland in search for work) and compare this with the experiences of people from Central and Eastern Europe who currently work in Aberdeen’s fish industry. This project, commissioned by Arts Development, Aberdeen City Council, with money from the Fairer Scotland Fund, will take place in Torry, Aberdeen, from August to October 2011.
The project, the first impressions of which I have described in my blog on folksongs in community music, consists of two strands that come together in a final event. In the first strand we will hold two workshops with residents of Torry (Aberdeen) in which we invite residents to step into the lives of herring girls by singing The Song of the Fish Gutters and studying the other documentation, after which we will express how herring girls might have experienced the temporary annual migration in song lyrics. The second strand aims to capture the experiences of migration of migrant workers in Torry, many of whom work in the fish industry, again in songs lyrics. The outcomes of these events will form the basis for two songs composed especially for the occasion, which, together with the original folk song will be rehearsed, first with Torry residents and migrant workers separately, and then with the two groups together.
For more information about the project, click here.
Other blogs on this project:
On whose terms?
Two songs, one story
We Came Here for a Better Life
We've Left Oor Hame in Aiberdeen
Singing the fishing
Writing folk songs
Why folk songs?
Following the herring
Community music - music for communities
Copyright text Petra Vergunst