Monday, 2019-04-22, 9:13 AM
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Ulster-Scots music is a mixture of Scottish, English and Irish folk music. Often combining the three, Ulster-Scots music is now like the language getting a revival, with groups such as the "Ulster-Scots Folk/Fowk Orchestra", educating people through their music which is really our music!


The distinctive styles of many modern-day American country, bluegrass and folk music performers can be traced directly back to the 18th century Ulster-Scots or Scots-Irish settlers. And the dance tradition of the Appalachian region in the south - eastern part of the United States has also very strong Ulster-Scots roots. This is music and dance, which crossed the Atlantic during the great waves of emigration and in the modern idiom it is a rich cultural expression, which is being taken back to the homeland.
The Ulster-Scots sound of drone notes, associated with the pipes and fiddles are very pronounced and the story-telling balladry of the Scots-Irish diaspora remains deeply rooted in what is American country and folk music today. These were a people who brought with them to North America the old Scottish, Irish and English folk songs and ballads, and in remote communities in the Appalachian, Cumberland and Smoky Mountains, the songs stayed unaltered until the 20th century.
As well as folk music there is a long tradition of Scottish piping (Bagpipes), there are a number of Pipe-Bands here in Ulster and they often take part in international competitions, Ulster also has the "Ulster Pipe Band Championship" which attracts hundreds of competitors from all over the world!


With the promotion of the Irish Gaelic language being used to promote Irish nationalism in Ulster, there has been a revival in interest in Ulster-Scots as a means of promoting the Ulster-Scots Protestant heritage, most of whom make up the "Unionist" (Pro-British) population.
Many believe that culture and politics are inseparable, and in a lot of ways that is true, however it is not impossible to see culture being expressed independently of politics, it is not very likely that a Catholic has never listened to Bluegrass or American folk music even though it originates from the Southern States region of the USA, a largely Protestant area with a large Scots-Irish-American population, or that a Protestant has never listened to Irish folk music which is a tradition of a majority Catholic population of Ireland.
Culture can give voice and be an expression of politics yet can also be enjoyed independent of a political or ethnic group. Those that dismiss Ulster-Scots culture as "Unionist Propaganda" or "Fairytales" are using politics as a weapon to defame a strong cultural heritage. It may be the fact that some of those people, who reject Ulster-Scots culture as wishful thinking on the part of Ulster Protestants, are really refusing the idea that Ulster Protestants and Unionists have a culture or have the right "Genes" to produce culture.
As Ulster people we must seek to reclaim our culture from political vultures who would seek to denounce, or abuse it, for their own selfish aims. We must also show that just because some one is from Ulster-Scots, Protestant descent, it does not make them some kind of uncultured Philistine.

The Ulster-Scots in Kentucky