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Manx music and dance at Newcastle University

Mon, 25 Nov 2019

BA students on the Folk Music Degree at Newcastle University enjoyed a lecture and practical workshop about the traditional music and dance of the Isle of Man last week. 

Dr Chloë Woolley, Manx Music Development Officer for Culture Vannin, was invited by Dr Simon McKerrell and Catriona MacDonald from the Folk and Traditional Music degree to give the illustrated lecture. During the two hour session, the music students learnt about the history of Manx music and dance and heard about the Island’s curious calendar customs, such as Hop tu naa, carval singing at the Oie’ll Verrey and Hunt the Wren on St Stephen’s Day. Chloe taught them a selection of Gaelic songs, played some Manx tunes and even tried out a few dances, including Flitter Dance and Hop tu naa. The folk music department, which currently has Manx students Raygie Dolloso and Mera Royle studying with them, is keen to strengthen links with the Island and the staff wish to repeat the workshop in the future.

While Chloe was in Newcastle she also visited the Sage Gateshead to observe their inspirational Folkworks adult education programme and she joined counterparts from UK cultural organisations at the English Folk Dance and Song Society’s education seminar in Barnard Castle. She also attended a lecture by Mike Vass, the Traditional Artist in Residence at the School of Scottish and Celtic Studies at the University of Edinburgh, and met with the teaching staff from the department.

Chloe said; “It’s really useful to keep up-to-date on developments in traditional culture and education across the water, and also to forge new links with counterparts from similar organisations to Culture Vannin. They tend to be very interested in what we are doing to promote Manx culture, and likewise, it’s inspiring to hear their stories and learn about their projects”.