Leach Recordings, renewed

After years of revision and reorganization, the folks at Memorial University have re-released the website “Folksongs of Atlantic Canada from the collections of MacEdward Leach.” It has revised notes and essays to contextualize the music, including an essay contributed by me. Most importantly, the recordings are now presented in their entirety, whereas only excerpts were posted on the earlier version of the website.

Leach visited many singers whose voices are familiar from tapes made by other collectors, but he did manage to capture some that aren’t found elsewhere. Since the Gaelic song tradition in Cape Breton is chiefly oral, supported by printed sources but inextricably dependent on personal transmission in a social context, these snapshots of singing in the mid-twentieth century are a precious resource.

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