The Macmath Collection of Songs
William Macmath, 1848 – 1922, grew up in Galloway before moving to Edinburgh as a young man and his huge and largely unacknowledged legacy was in helping the great American ballad collector and academic Francis Child with his definitive publication: English and Scottish Popular Ballads 1882 – 1898. Although working entirely in his spare time, Macmath worked tirelessly and meticulously over a period of almost thirty years, to track down and verify details relating to the Scottish ballads included in Child’s collection. The National Trust for Scotland’s Broughton House and Garden – Kirkcudbright – holds many of the letters between Macmath and Child written over their long association. More pertinently to our project there are two books of mostly unpublished songs and song fragments written down by Macmath. It is these two volumes that we’re looking at in this project.
Macmath: The Silent Page is all about breathing new life into a paper based collection and singing it back to life: reinventing the collection with new tunes, arrangements and re-writings and in doing so showcasing some of Dumfries and Galloway’s best and most respected traditional musicians. We begin looking at the songs in the Autumn of 2014 and will be putting together a concert that will tour across Dumfries and Galloway in the summer of 2015. There will also be a CD to accompany a booklet of some of the songs
It’s hoped that the project and its legacy will bring a new audience of people into Broughton House as well as celebrating the work of William Macmath.
Macmath: The Silent Page is commissioned by