July-August 2010


Lyrics Scam. Are you in the habit of using the Internet to find lyrics to songs you'd like to learn? I've been doing that for years, but in the past few months I've become very cautious. It seems like all of a sudden, dozens of sites promising access to lyrics have sprung up. Some of them may be legitimate, but I've had problems with two so far. At least one has left a cookie on my computer that caused all sorts of advertising pop-ups to start appearing. Another one changed my home page without my knowledge.  To be on the safe side, I'm sticking to non-commercial sites like the Mudcat Cafe's Digitrad from now on. Does anyone know of other safe sites that have lyrics to folk and trad songs? If so, email me and I'll pass the information on in my next column.


If you're a whistle player, you're probably familiar with the web site Chiff and Fipple. For those who haven't been to the site, it's worth a visit even if you've never played a whistle and don't intend to. Here is a selection of postings from their tinwhistle haiku page:

Try as you may friend

Suck with all your might and then

Blow in the right end

            Denny St Clair


To wet my whistle

Moist breath into the fipple

Guiness into me

            David J. Finnamore


I bought a whistle.

For a time I am content,

then I must buy more.

            Mark Sackett


Whistle, guitar, drum.

An evening dance in Ireland.

Red hair spins breathless.

            Ben Jewett


Blue lights in mirror.

What did the officer see?

I stash the whistle.

            Paul Petty


A couple of years ago, I was on tour in Ireland with Men of Worth (Donnie Macdonald and James Keigher), and James introduced us to a young bodhran player named Joe McNulty. At that time, Joe was all of 10 years old, and he'd already won the All-Ireland bodhran championship in the under-18 class. I think he's 12 or 13 now, and he just keeps getting better. Here's a link to a video of a recent performance. Amazing.


Coming soon to a bookshelf near you... Greentrax Recordings has announced that founder Ian Green's autobiography From Fuzz To Folk - Trax Of My Life is now complete and will be published shortly by Luath Press. Ian says, "I found it not only cathartic but also a fascinating journey of rediscovery". He's a fascinating man with plenty of stories to tell... no word on a publication date yet, but I'll keep you posted in future columns.


"People who make music together cannot be enemies, at least while the music lasts."

Paul Hindemith

An American now living in Scotland, Linda Dewar is a singer and a player of various instruments with strings and keys. She can be found performing Scottish and American folk music at gatherings on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as singing In the Aberfeldy and District Gaelic Choir. Visit her web site at www.lindadewar.com.


All Columns by Linda Dewar