“Land of the Silver Birch” is a Canadian folk song from the 1920s, whose authorship seems to be disputed. Wikipedia asserts:
This article from the Toronto Star on a controversy about a school board apologising for its supposed racism (and being sued for this apology by the teacher who programmed it) describes how it is often ascribed to Johnson, herself of Native Canadian First Nations heritage. Various activists are quoted who, while seeing the song as a bit simplistic and romanticised, nevertheless do not find the “racist” characterisation fair.
Happy St Patrick’s Day to all readers. A while back I blogged about the hymn known as St Patrick’s Breastplate or The Deer’s Cry . For the day, here is Arvo Part’s setting:
As seems to be becoming a theme in this Choral March series of posts, this is not the version of “Scots Wha Hae” I would like to feature. In 2001 I went to a concert in Edinburgh given by the Kevock Choir and a brass band whose name escapes me. I bought a CD, Kevock Vale, which began with a stirring rendition of Scots Wha Hae – one which would have motivated even the most inveterate Sassenach-sympathising-Scot to roar into battle behind Wallace or Bruce or whoever. This CD has fallen victim to various house moves.
Alas I can’t find this version online (well, either on Spotify or YouTube). A lot of the choral settings of Scots Wha Hae I have found online are rather slow and stately. This one by the Glasgow Phoenix Choir is the closest to what I remember.
Despite my family links to Scotland I often find Scots hard to read – in choral form Burns’ words come alive:
Scots, wha hae wi’ Wallace bled,Scots, wham Bruce has aften led;Welcome to your gory bed,Or to victory!Now’s the day, and now’s the hour;See the front o’ battle lour;See approach proud Edward’s power—Chains and slavery!Wha will be a traitor knave?Wha can fill a coward’s grave!Wha sae base as be a slave?Let him turn and flee!Wha for Scotland’s king and lawFreedom’s sword will strongly draw,Freeman stand, or freeman fa’,Let him follow me!By oppression’s woes and pains!By your sons in servile chains!We will drain our dearest veins,But they shall be free!Lay the proud usurpers low!Tyrants fall in every foe!Liberty’s in every blow!—Let us do or die!
Schola Gregoriana Hispana are a group ” founded and directed by Francisco Javier Lara in 1984 and born with the aim of rescuing from oblivion, neglect and ignorance the great musical treasure of the Hispanic, Mozarabic, Gregorian and early polyphony repertoire and to make it known through recitals, concerts and recordings.” (thank you Google Translate)