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Up Yon Wide and Lonely Glen

Travellers' Songs, Stories and Tunes of the Fetterangus Stewarts

Elizabeth Stewart

Publication Year: 2012

Elizabeth Stewart is a highly acclaimed singer, pianist and accordionist whose reputation has spread widely not only as an outstanding musician but as the principal inheritor and advocate of her family and their music. First discovered by folklorists in the 1950s, the Stewarts of Fetterangus, including Elizabeth's mother Jean, her uncle Ned, and her aunt Lucy, have had immense musical influence. Lucy in particular became a celebrated ballad singer and in 1961 Smithsonian Folkways released a collection of her classic ballad recordings that brought the family's music and name to an international audience.

Up Yon Wide and Lonely Glen is a significant memoir of Scottish Traveller life, containing stories, music, and songs from this prominent Traveller family. The book is the result of a close partnership between Elizabeth Stewart and Scottish folk singer and writer Alison McMorland. It details the ancestral history of Elizabeth Stewart's family, the story of her mother, the story of her aunt, and her own life story, framing and contextualizing the music and song examples and showing how totally integrated these art forms are with daily life. It is a remarkable portrait of a Traveller family from the perspective of its matrilineal line. The narrative, spanning five generations and written in Scots, captures the rhythms and idioms of Elizabeth Stewart's speaking voice and is extraordinary from a musical, cultural, sociological, and historical point of view. The book features 145 songs, eight original piano compositions, folk-tale versions, rhymes and riddles, and eighty fascinating illustrations, from the family of Elizabeth, her mother Jean (1912-1962) and her aunt Lucy (1901-1982). In addition, there are notes on the songs and a series of appendices. Up Yon Wide and Lonely Glen will appeal to those interested in traditional music, folklore, and folk song--and in particular, Scottish tradition.

Published by: University Press of Mississippi

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. ix

Elizabeth Stewart comes from a legendary Traveller family of pipers, musicians and singers. From the 1920s until the early 1960s her mother, Jean Stewart, was a household name in the North-East of Scotland, known for her dance bands, broadcasting and teaching, while Elizabeth’s aunt Lucy’s ballad...

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pp. xiii

Coming back from America in 1997, I was determined that the songs, music, and life stories of my family, the Fetterangus Stewarts, should be put into a book and I felt I was the only one to do this. I strongly believed that our music, songs, ballads and stories, our way of life and Traveller traditions, should not...

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pp. xvii

This collaborative venture was first set in motion by Elizabeth Stewart on returning from her final singing trip to the USA in 1997. At her request to help, I felt drawn to do so. Why? Like many other people, I had first visited Lucy in the early 1970s, which was when I also first met Elizabeth, encouraged by...

Select Family Tree

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pp. xxii


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pp. xxiii

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1. Doon the Dukker

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pp. 3-66

My great-great-grandfather James Stewart wis known as ‘Piper Jimmy’ an wis o the Appin Stewarts. By all accounts he hid come north tae Banffshire in the early 1830s, leavin behind his ain brithers, who were aa pipers like him. In fact een o them wis piper tae the Duke o Atholl. Much o the history o the family...

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2. Jean Stewart’s Dance Band

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pp. 67-140

Jean Stewart, my mither, wis a star in her ain right. In her lifetime she hid a great influence ower many, many folk, through her broadcastin an dance band playin an through the teachin o piano, accordion an dancin. She won awards for everythin she competed for, even clog dancin! She wis a highly...

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3. Aunt Lucy

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pp. 141-220

She wis a shy modest person, an so when Hamish Henderson visited oor family on that very first occasion, aboot 1954, she wis very wary o him. Efter he hid talked wi her an Ned aboot songs, even singin a few verses himself, an jist showin that he kent aboot aa the things she loved an kent so well, she...

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4. Binnorrie

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pp. 221-313

I wis born in Fetterangus, in the family home at 14 Duke Street. I wis the eldest of the four children my mother wis tae hiv. I wis born on the 13th o May 1939. My mither told me aboot one time when I wis only six months aul I wis sleepin in my pram while she hid folk visitin at the house for a musical...

Song Notes

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pp. 315-338

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I. The Narrative Voice

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pp. 339-340

When Alison invited me to assist her in realising this book with Elizabeth I was delighted to accept. As a student at the School of Scottish Studies, University of Edinburgh, I was familiar with the significant contribution the Stewarts of Fetterangus have made to the School’s Sound...

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II. Transcribing and Editing the Music

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pp. 341-345

I have transcribed the music of the Stewart family’s songs in order that the notation describes their version of the tunes and something of the singing style of the two chief singers represented here, Lucy and Elizabeth. However, I also wanted to make the notation available to...

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III. Kenneth and Rochelle Goldstein Archive: Stories, Riddles and Song Fragments

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pp. 347-364

Copies of the Stewart field-recordings made by Kenneth Goldstein in 1959–60 were deposited in the School of Scottish Studies Archive when his Fulbright scholarship came to an end. This was in fulfilment of an arrangement with the School, his academic base during this study trip...


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pp. 365-368


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pp. 369-372


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pp. 373


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pp. 375-376

Song Index

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pp. 377-383


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pp. 385-390

E-ISBN-13: 9781617033094
E-ISBN-10: 1617033081
Print-ISBN-13: 9781617033087

Page Count: 305
Publication Year: 2012