September 23, 2011

The Music in Language

When the presenter, (last night at the MTYC main stage event,  Listening Across Languages) spoke about the music of language I recalled singing along to Gaelic folk music as a child despite the ability to speak or understand the language. The flow of sounds were what mattered most and those sounds were elegant and  peaceful.

Poetry, spoken word
Song with no external instruments,
Save the box containing our voices.
Language is an ethnic instrument,
native to specific lands and regions.
Travel brings new sounds to beat in our eardrums.

Poetry uses the most alluring words of the language it’s written in.
Highlighting the finest that the author’s brogue has to offer.
Piecing the elegance of words beyond palaver,
 into a work of art holding the essence of the wordsmith.

Christine De Luca, came to us from the Shetland Islands. This collection of small islands are found so far North of Scotland they look to exist on their own somewhere in the North Sea on your way to Norway.

De Luca’s language, despite her married Italian last name, is that of Shetland and it felt hauntingly familiar to me. My mother and her parents were immigrants to Canada over 60 years ago. Content in some of De Luca’s poetry spoke of this journey as a hard one that often left the traveller back on home soil.

Shetlandic, to me, seemed part dialect of the English language and part heavy accent of the Scottish tongue, that which my mother and grandparents have trained my ear to understand. It was a beautiful night to hear her poems in both English and Shetlandic, for her accent made it so homey and comfortable for me.

Her voice was calm and smooth yet crisp, her words were carefully crafted.  Her language made me long for the culture of my ancestors part. Her words gave us a glimpse into the life of her people, a simplistic way of the coast people which De Luca described as ‘a hard life but a good one.’

Isn’t that the best recipe for an artist to muse over.

Christine De Luca  She has published five collections of poetry, most recently North End Eden (Luath Press), and in 2007, won the poetry Prix de Livre Insulatire for the bilingual Mondes parall√®les. Her first novel, And then Forever (Luath Press), appears this fall; Winnipeg has a cameo appearance in the narrative. De Luca has attended festivals in Norway, Finland, France, Italy and India as well as all over Scotland. Now living in Edinburgh, she is involved in the city's poetry scene and actively promotes art and literature projects in Orkney and Shetland.
-Leah Edmonds, Guest Blogger

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