I am not now, nor have I ever been, Irish. But I recently did one of those genetic tests, the type where you swipe out a q-tip of your finest DNA (from inside your mouth) and send it back to a techie company. The results came back saying that my genetic make-up matched that of someone from Ireland! Curiously, my real country of origin (somewheres south-east of the Iries), grinned at me in the results as close to last place in the genetic lottery. That’s when I knew those DNA rackets were a load of rubbish.
That said- I am not now, nor have I ever been, Scottish. But I (indeed) attended the San Diego Scottish Highland Games and Gathering of Clans today. A friend of mine (who has her very own shirt for this occasion with her last name proudly emblazoned on the front and the back) (nerd) takes her Scottish roots seriously.
Quick funny story about last year’s Highland Games. Forgive me for dropping names (ahem), but I was wearing an Alexander Julian Colours shirt a year’go. And a lady, a lassie I s’pose considerin’ where we was, passed me and nearly squealed. Oh, I like his tartan! I wonder wot’s his clan? I had no nerve to tell her, clan J.C. Penny, ma’am. Men’s section. At the yearly Christmas sale! I felt somewhat delighted and flat-footed. Both. The latter’s a feeling I rarely feel, for my feet are delightfully (that word again) arched. Quite nearly Grecian. (Truth: I have an average arch, but average does not an interesting blog post make.)
So this year, when I searched for my tartan, I discovered my rust colored Alexander Julian Colours shirt was in the wash! Argggh, I did not plan well for this Gathering of the Clans. Not to fear, I wore my blue Alexander Julian shirt. And proudly sauntered around, ready to loudly proclaim my Clan. Sadly, no squealers over me were to be found at today’s gathering.
The music was pleasant. With the wild:
Wicked Tinkers – Known as “The Wicked Ones” , (click on photo to enlarge) play the music of the Scottish Highlands proud, stirring, passionate and spice it with the Celtic tunes of Ireland. Aaron Shaw, one of the top pipers in America and Warren Patrick Casey, drummer for twenty five years have wowed audiences all over America. Not a military or rock band, Wicked Tinkers perform the kind of music you might have heard hundreds of years ago at a Scottish wedding, ceilidh or around the campfire of a Highland raiding party.
The band Blackwaterside was formed in 1995 by flutist Susan Craig Winsberg in celebration of her Scottish heritage. Since then they have released three CDs and have played several concerts and festivals, receiving great public acclaim. They are known for their varied approach to traditional Scottish and Irish music, alternating lively, upbeat tunes with lyrical and haunting ballades, constantly changing the texture and color of the instrumentation so that their sound is forever fresh.
Men of Worth
The folk-music duo, Men of Worth, was formed by James Keigher (Ireland) and Donnie Macdonald (Scotland) in 1986. Both exiles, it was through the Celtic music scene in Southern California that James and Donnie first met, and within a couple of years a partnership developed that was simultaneously serious and fun.
Before you ask, yes there was highland dancing, sheepdog trials, piping and drumming, haggis (I checked ‘em out, did not partake), the Braemar stone throw, hammer toss, caber toss, and all that tossing, hurling, heaving stuff. Was it fun? Very much so. Although, I must remember for future Gatherings to wash me clan shirt!