英日対訳:The Northern Fiddler北の大地のフィドラー達('79/'85) 第5回 1部(1/4) 民謡採取は抹殺行為?














The project of recording, interviewing and making a visual record of fiddlers from Donegal and Tyrone was undertaken with the awareness that one of the central conditions for the development of Irish traditional music was geographical isolation within the country itself. The physical separation of Ireland from the European mainland has been considered a major contributing factor towards the existence of an Irish rural culture persevering into present times; an archaic material culture, a lifestyle and art forms long since extinct in continental Europe. This 'island' concept can be expanded to include the many 'islands' of musical tradition that flourished by virtue of geographical boundaries within Ireland itself. It is this plurality of related vocal and instrumental traditions that forms the varied mosaic of native Irish music. 



In recent years the extinction of rural life style and the presence of an urban-based folk revival have obscured this regional identity and as a consequence these developments have delayed an historical and aesthetic awareness of the importance of regional musical traditions. Influenced by an orientation towards a national identity and by commercialisation, an Irish national folk music has come into existence. This cultural development with the assistance of the media, cultural organisations, and an incipient 'star system' has precipitated a centralisation of musical style and repertoire.  



The regrettable nature of this pattern lies not only in the blurring and erasure of diverse local traditions within Ireland, but in its occurrence at a time when the rural population of Ireland is experiencing a severe identity crisis due to depopulation, economic change and exposure to contemporary European mass culture. The material presented in this book is an attempt to recover a fragment of the submerged regional history of traditional Irish music. Against this background of blatant indoctrination of the rural population in the values of Anglo-European urban mass culture, it is hoped that in a small way the material presented here can respond to the need for and indigenous revival of regional culture and identity.  



The history of the regional musical culture of Ireland is not a static one. There has always been a struggle to maintain the tradition against pressures such as colonisation, depopulation, cultural suppression and economic deprivation. There were changes in style and instrumentation, and alteration of repertoire. The intensity of involvement of the rural community in its own musical traditions varied, and was always subject to the vicissitudes of history and social change. At times the music and dance was the major aesthetic and recreational activity of the rural populace. In other periods, in times of severe economic deprivation, political repression and social disorder, and survival of the music rested in the hands of a small number of traveling professional musicians and dancing masters governed by a pride in their skill and dependent on their music for a livelihood. Added to this group was the isolated artist in the rural community who held onto this important part of his identity as the cultural life of the community fell into dissolution. 



(p.16: ruined farmhouse in the deserted village of Port, Co Donegal)   





The testimony of the musicians interviewed in our collecting indicates that though the music and dance were a popular art form, the tradition's ultimate continuity depended on the single-minded commitment of a few gifted musicians deeply involved in a classical consciousness of form and style that the inherited body of music conveyed to them. The musical tradition was an oral tradition. It depeneded on the transmission of knowledge and technique from one person to another, and the apathy of a single generation would have been enough to destroy the music. Conversely the enthusiasm and native talent of a single generation would have been sufficient to foster a renaissance and guarantee the survival of the tradition for the future. 



Today as the 'islands' of musical tradition are all but rendered extinct as a consequence of the cultural centralisation and growing modernity of contemporary Ireland, the survival function of the musical tradition becomes more sharply defined. What is documented in these pages is an ancient response to an inevitable historical occurrence. To resist change is a strategy for change in itself. The persistence of traditional fiddling in an alien cultural environment implies a change in that tradition. The fiddlers dealt with in these pages can be classified according to their geographical origins as 'Donegal,' 'Tyrone.' But these geographical origins are historical references, they tell us what was, not what is. The historical regional isolation of the musical tradition has been transformed into the individualised isolation of the lone musician. Regional music has survived because these musicians have survived with their musical identity intact. These musicians separated themselves from the momentum of pseudo-urbanity that flooded their world and destroyed the lifestyle upon which the activity of music-making was based. In making this choice, the music was appropriated by a more personalised tradition. But this ownership of the tradition by a few isolated, ageing men is also haunted by the richness and fecund associations of the music's past and the uncertainty of its future.  





Collecting traditional music in this context is a journey through a fragmented world, a search for a culture that is on the defensive. One can have few illusions concerning the internal integrity of the traditional lifestyle. The roofless shells of farmhouses, the rusted gates made from decayed bed-frames opening out onto the emptiness of Neolithic bog, the receding cultivation line are indicative of the broken geometry of the traditional culture. These items of our landscape, the final remnants of human pattern and creation delineate a temporality and a psychic space distinct from the world we belong to. As collectors, we are separated from the men who inhabit this space by the very fact of the cultural fragmentation they have experienced. They are possessed by a temporality that is inaccessible to us except through their music and memory. 





The fundamental contradiction in our collecting journey lies in the fact that we were attempting to mediate our discontinuity with the products of the very technology that contributed to the cultural fragmentation of rural society. 



It is impossible to avoid the realisation that collecting is part of the wounding process our society has inflicted on traditional culture. Contemporary civilization has destroyed their present and as an extension of this decimation we arrived with tape recorders and cameras to lay claim to their past. Collecting as a reflex to the death of a traditional society is a search within a cultural mirror that reflects more the need of and values of modern civilisation than it does the realities of the traditional culture. The relationship of the informant and collector can replicate the unequal and exploitative interactions between modern and folk cultures. In the context of interpersonal relationships the collector is imprisoned by a methodology and techniques that will not only determine what he finds in a particular environment but also controls how he acts in the field. 



No act of the collector is neutral or without valuation. In his gathering of material the collector is ultimately an extension of the process whereby a dominant and alien culture appropriates the resources of another society. For the collector involved in the process of acquisition there is only one fundamental question - what, if anything at all, of value has he to contribute to those who will be his informants. The answer to that question will determine what response the collector will find to his search in a particular culture.  




In Ireland, 1966