Poems & Lyrics by John Collie, 1856

In 1856, my great-great-grandfather John Collie (1834-1893), of Boyndie, Scotland, published a book : Poems and Lyrics

(in the English
and Scotch Dialects).

I‘ve been setting some of it to music over the past few years – along with some of his other descendants: my nephews Hans and Rhys Landon-Lane, my niece Celeste Rochery, and my sister Megan Edwards-Rochery .

The Troubled Times (trio with Antony Milton and David Heath) also do an epic electric blues guest arrangement of The Dying Monarch (a key crossover track that ties together the different strands of my music).

For me this is a major work-in-progress; an acknowledgement of my pākeha whakapapa (European ancestry); an inspiration for new music (a mostly folk style seemed fitting); a window into the culture of the time period and a vicarious travel experience (plans to visit Scotland in 2020 were ruined by the pandemic); a family precedent for DIY outsider art that puts fiffdimension in a deeper context; and gives me renewed appreciation for the beauty and musicality of the English (and Scots) language.

“T’were a noble sight to see the mighty men of old, who bled that their countries might be free from the tyrants’ fatal hold – yet I’d deem it a nobler sight by far to behold the sons of the harp & lyre!

“[…] If aught can claim a spirit’s admiration, Sure it must be this beautiful creation

John Collie (1834-1893)

In 1858 John Collie emigrated to New Zealand.

His book is available free online.
Continue reading “Poems & Lyrics by John Collie, 1856”

Scotland, postponed

Around September 2020 I’d planned to travel to Scotland, on my first visit. There was to be a family gathering for my sister’s wedding in Edinburgh.

The trip’s now postponed indefinitely, for obvious reasons

I’d planned to visit Boyndie, Banffshire, where my great-great-grandfather John Collie grew up.

In 1856, in his early 20s he published a book : Poems and Lyrics (in the English and Scotch Dialects).

I‘ve started setting some of it to music.

Continue reading “Scotland, postponed”

The Land of My Youth (by John Collie, 1856), January 2019 demo

January 2019, looking for a new sound and a new project – after completing Other Islands: 2012-2018.

It’s a poem by John Collie (1834-1893), my great-great-grandfather

from his book Poems and Lyrics in the English and Scotch Dialects, published in Scotland in 1856

John Collie emigrated to New Zealand in 1858. This poem seems to anticipate his leaving Scotland forever, to start a new life in a new country on the opposite side of the world.

In May I performed it live on Wairarapa TV.

 

Lyrics

Continue reading “The Land of My Youth (by John Collie, 1856), January 2019 demo”