Slockit Light (Da)

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X: 1 T: Slockit Light, Da C: Tom Anderson O: Shetland R: air Z: 2005 John Chambers <> M: C L: 1/16 F: K: D "(A7)"FE \ | "D"D3F A2d2 "A7"fedc "D"d2A2 | "G"B2d2 "D"A2d2 "Em"BAGF "A7"EGFE \ | "D"D3F A2d2 "A7"fedc "D"d2A2 | "G"B2G2 "A7"AGFE "D"D4 D2 :| "(A7)"g2 \ | "D"f2a2 "A"e3c "D"d3e dcBA | "D"f2a2 "E7"e2^g2 "A"a6 g2 \ | "D"f2a2 "A"e3c "D"d3e dcBA | "G"B2G2 "A7"AGFE "D"D4 D2 |] "(A7)"g2 \ | "D"f2a2 "A"e3c "Bm"d3e dcBA | "G"B2d2 "D"A2d2 "Em"BAGF "A7"EGFE \ | "D"D3F A2d2 "F#"fedc "Bm"d2A2 | "Em"B2G2 "A7"AGFE "D"D4 D2 |]

SLOCKIT LIGHT, DA. Shetland, Air (4/4 time). D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB. One of the best-known tunes composed by the late Shetland fiddler, collector and teacher Tom Anderson [1]. "I was coming out of Eshaness in late January, 1969, the time was after 11 pm and as I looked back at the top of the hill leading out of the district I saw so few lights compared to what I remembered when I was young. As I watched, the lights started going out one by one. That, coupled with the recent death of my late wife, made me think of the old word 'Slockit', meaning, a light that has gone out, and I think that was what inspired the tune" (Anderson, 1983). The Shetlands have been much influenced by Scandinavia, and retains many traces of that culture. In Swedish, the word släcka means to quench or turn off, and is related to the English word "slacken.” Fiddler Ellen Gawler was a student of Anderson’s and (in a posting to Fiddle-L 11/06/05) wrote:

The tune was written by Tom Anderson shortly after his wife died. To slokit da light means to snuff out the light. Tommie took me to the spot where he composed the tune. The inspiration for the tune came from one night when he visited the part of Shetland where he grew up called Easha Ness, which is to the north and west of Lerwick on the main island of Shetland. In Sheltand there are no trees, so aw he was looking out over the valley he noticed that many of the homes that had been all illuminated when he was young were now dark. So many people had moved to Lerwick to work for BP. He was lamenting all the losses in the changes in his life, with his wife passing and with the changes in Shetland. He was a man who was very tuned into the culture through the music and all that goes with it. The oil company had brought about many difficulties for the Shetlanders. As he saw it, they had lost their traditional way of life an had forgotten how to survive in the way that they had for thousands of years. Sure, BP had brought employment, but there were more social problems as people lost their sense of community and their meaningfulness and place in their society.

As he looked out over Easha Ness that night, he felt like the lights were going out. The part of the tune where there is a descending scale are the lights going out. On that night, he told me that the tune came to him and he wrote it down in so fa on the only thing that he had to write on; an empty match book case that had all the matches torn out of it. I’ll never forget that part of it because that is how his life was. Things had multiple meaning for him.

Additional notes

Printed sources : - Anderson (Ringing Strings), 1983; pp. 20 21 (includes harmony part).

Recorded sources : - Culburnie CUL121D, Alasdair Frase & Natalie Haas – “Fire and Grace” (2004). Green Linnet SIF 1084, Eugene O'Donnell "The Foggy Dew" (1988. Learned from Aly Bain). Rounder Records, Norman Blake – “The Rising Fawn String Ensemble” (1979).

See also listing at :
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [2]

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