Letters: Praise for The Young ‘Uns

Dear Orkney News,

I’d just like to say that hearing The Young ‘Uns in St. Ninian’s Kirk, Deerness, as part of the folk Festival, was an extra-ordinary experience. I don’t know why there wasn’t a big turn-out, but all I can say is that those who weren’t there, missed something, and missed something very special. The St. Ninian’s acoustics were doing their job, and, combine that with the lads’ individual voices, harmonies, commitment to what they’re singing about, and good nature – the place and the people in it wove a spell.

These lads are writing the classic folk songs of the future. The songs that we listen to now, whether from 500 years ago, 100 years ago, or 50, tell of the political situation, hard times, and heart-break – and The Young ‘Uns are doing the same – writing of what’s happening now, and also singing of the relevance of what a happened in the past, to today. For example, the song about the Jewish refugee to Britain, who works hard and makes good. This song ends with the line “This town was built by strangers”. Indeed, how many towns is that true of in Britain? and how much will we miss all the input from people who come here to escape oppression and try to make a life for themselves, if that flow of people, is stopped? And, ”The Streets of Lahore’ ends with ‘There is no honour in killing Farzana Parveen. In the Kirk on Saturday, Sean Cooney simply ended the song with the words “There is no honour in killing” Good man, Sean.

Like I said, an extra-ordinary experience, and I hope that the quite small turn-out doesn’t put the Folk Fest. organizers off placing acts in St. Ninian’s in the future – as with The Unthanks last year – they know what they’re doing, and when they place these people in that venue – it works, it works superlatively well.

And then the tea and cakes in the hall – thank you to all concerned for a very civilized way to spend the rest of the afternoon!

Yours, Bernie Bell, Orkney

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