Whalsay's Heritage of Song
Music from Whalsay recorded by noted ethnomusicologist Peter Cooke.
The audio recordings featured in this website were made by ethnomusicologist Peter Cooke during the period 1969-1984 when he was researching the music of the Shetland Isles from his base in the School of Scottish Studies at the University of Edinburgh.
The 120+ recordings of ballads, songs, rhymes and riddles comprise a rich sample of oral tradition and are preserved as a vivid example of the power of song to give expression to the hopes, fears and joys of this small community. Some of the songs were recorded from more than one person and as expected their versions often differ.
This is a joint project, for numerous islanders have collaborated with Peter Cooke to provide information on the singers (often their own parents and grand-parents) and have helped by checking texts, commenting on the songs and providing photog
raphs. Their cooperation has been readily given and highly appreciated for it has added hugely to the interest and value of this site.