Edinburgh Fringe 2021
The Ceilidh Crew and Co are Corinne Harris and Alyssa Muego. We meet Alyssa in the Vaults as Corinne is warming up the keyboard. Alyssa takes us into the depths of the Vaults in Edinburgh where she shows us the space where you can normally find a Ceilidh. Of course, a Ceilidh is more than a dance. It is a party, a place where you got up and entertained in the tradition of the Scots where we aw had a party piece tae gie. Here we get songs – including Donald, Where’s yer Trousers, Wild Mountain Time, and an original piece on Burke and Hare – stories – including of wee Annie, Burke and Hare again and half hanged Maggie – and how to dance the Canadian Barn Dance. It is half an hour of instruction, stories and a party in a film.
This is simply fantastic. As an introduction or entry level confirmation of the beauty o ma leid, ma lingua franca, it is great. Alyssa and Corinne are a brilliant double act which is pitched at the right end of proud and instructive for weans. They refuse to be embarrassed by a culture once condemned to be on the top of shortbread tins, but also hae mind o the fact that their stories are gory, deadly and like Burns’ aunt who tellt him ghost stories by the fire, that the weans can take a frit.
Filmed on an iPhone there are choppy moments where the filming struggles a little to keep pace with the movement, but it is a minor thing. The songs are beautifully sung, the children to whom this is aimed are never patronised, the enthusiasm comes across the camera and there is plenty of material from which to choose. I loved the stories of half hanged Maggie and wee Annie. As I am off to the Fringe again this week, I shall visit the very pub run by Maggie and tip my hat now I know more about it.
But it is the joy that these two performers share which make it. They make you feel that the future of the language is in safe hands. This is the second of three ceilidhs which are available online. As an entry point for children into the language of the Scots there is, in my opinion, very few which can equal it. A party with learning, who would ah thocht it tae…