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