Auld Foula Reel (Da)

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AULD FOULA REEL, DA. AKA and see "Foula Reel," "Da Auld Reel," "Shaalds o' Foula." Shetland, Reel. A Major. AEae tuning (fiddle). AAB. The melody is the traditional accompaniment for a special dance from the Island of Foula, in the Shetlands. On the Island of Yell, also in the Shetlands, the tune in known as "Da Auld Reel," according to Alastair Hardie. Flett & Flett (1964) state that The Auld Reel was a Shetland dance for three couples (in Whalsay) traditional to the isles which, by 1900, had almost disappeared as a separate dance and survived in combination only with the Shetland Reel, having been supplanted by dances from the mainland of Scotland. The traditional Shetland wedding incorporated the Auld Reel and was performed into the last decade of the 19th century; these first Auld Reels were known as the Bride's Reels and were performed by the womenfolk present who danced them in turn. These were followed by the Bridegroom's Reels, with the men taking the place of the women and danced again in turn. "At the end of each of the Bride's Reels, the 'married woman' collected the 'fiddler's money' from the dancers. The bride and the other dancers in the first Reel usually gave a shilling, those in the next Reel gave a sixpence, and so on, descending to threepence from the last dancers of all...in the same way the 'married man' collected...from the men at the end of each of the Bridegroom's Reels. This 'fiddler's money' was the only payment which the fiddler received in those days, but with a big company it was a more than sufficient reward" (Flett & Flett, 1964). The whole series of dances could take up to two hours. In later years the Auld Reel was supplanted by Shetland Reels for most of the ritual, though it still was featured for a portion of the dancing. For an extensive and thorough treatise on the subject see Flett & Flett pgs. 70-74.

Source for notated version: Tom Anderson (Shetland) [Hunter].

Printed source: Hardie (Caledonian Companion), 1992; pg. 123.

Recorded source: Great Meadow Music GMM 2002, Rodney Miller & David Surette - "New Leaf" (2000).