TITLE: Rediscover Northern Ireland 2008: I Am a Wee Weaver: Weaving and Singing in Northern Ireland
SPEAKER: Maurice Leyden
EVENT DATE: 2008/12/04
FORMAT: Video + Captions
RUNNING TIME: 63 minutes
TRANSCRIPT: View Transcript (link will open in a new window)
Handloom weaving was dominated by men in 19th century Ireland. The Industrial Revolution changed that, enabling women to take the dominant role in the factory production of linen. In this talk, Maurice Leyden discusses the reasons for this historical shift, and the impact of this change on the traditions of singing and songwriting among weavers. To illustrate his lecture, Leyden sings songs composed by linen weavers between the 18th and 20th centuries, setting the songs in their historical context and discussing folklore and customs associated with the weavers.
Speaker Biography: Maurice Leyden has been collecting traditional songs since the early 1980s. He has published two books: "Belfast, City of Song" and "Boys and Girls Come Out to Play," each of which was accompanied by a cassette of songs. He is currently finishing a social history of the linen industry in Ulster, in the north of Ireland, narrated through the songs of the workers; this book will be accompanied by a CD. In addition to his scholarly work and his singing, Leyden is a renowned broadcaster, who produced and presented a radio program of traditional music for over a decade.