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The Corries - Scottish Folk Music Duo
Meet The Corries - The Utimate Scottish balladeers
When I was in my teens I was a folk singer and The Corries, who graced the Scottish folk scene from the early 1960s until Roy's sad death in 1990, were among my favorite people. Together they were the quintessential Scottish balladeers. Their music spoke to (and for) a generation at a time when the Scottish nation were re-examining their identity. Much of it is relevant today.
Roy Williamson and Ronnie Browne met Bill Smith and Paddie Bell while at Edinburgh College of Art in 1955. In a triving folk scene in Edinburgh Roy, Bill and another friend Ron Cockburn joined to form The Corrie Folk Trio and Paddie Bell. Ronnie joined when Ron Cockburn left. At that time he played no instruments so had a crash course to bring him up to speed.
Mingulay Boat Song - It's all about the music
a typical Corries performance in a typical setting - for those of us lucky enough to be there - MAGIC!
"A person does not hear sound only through the ears;
he hears sound through every pore of his body.
~ from 'Mysticism of Sound' by Hazrat Inayat Khan ~
Buy The Corries music - More of my favourite Corries music
The Corrie Folk Trio and Paddie Bell - the early years of The Corries
very early years!
History of The Corries
Their fortunes changed when they were able to turn profession when the BBC introduced a TV show of Scottish folk music called Hoot-nanny - a very successful show intended to reproduce the atmosphere of a typical folk venue. The Corrie Folk Trio and Paddie Bell became the resident group for the series.
By 1966 Paddie left to spend time with her family and Bill returned to architecture.
and then there were two - Ronnie and Roy became the much loved Corries.
(HOOTENANNY: DEFINITION according to the Urban Dictionary: hoot'nanny
Much like a shindig only with a hole lot of hoot and just a little bit of nanny
We are gonna have a hoot'nanny tonight! )
Singer and Songwriter
Roy was the music genius of the duo. Multi-talented his playing included guitar, banjo, manjolin, bodhran,COMBOLIN, harmonica, flute, lowland pipes and tin whistle. His most famous composition is the Flower of Scotland now granted royal sanction to be used at all Scottish football and rugby international matches. Famiously the Princess Royal (Princess Anne) enthusicastically joined in the singing at Murrayfield in 1990.
Scotland's Rugby Anthem - Flower o Scotland
Roy was the music genius of the duo. Multi-talented, his playing included guitar, banjo, manjolin, bodhran,COMBOLIN, harmonica, flute, lowland pipes and tin whistle. His most famous composition is the Flower of Scotland now granted royal sanction to be used at all Scottish football and rugby international matches. Famously Princess Anne enthusicastically joined in the singing at Murrayfield in 1990.
The song is now used as Scotland's anthem for all international rugby games also for The Scottish Football Association and at other games including curling and boxing matches. In fact ... anywhere you find Scots competing.
... and how it Should be sung! - Go on, sing along. You know you want to.
The Writing of The Flower of Scotland
by Roy Williamson
Roy wrote this in the 1960s and was first played in front of Ruthven barracks in Scotland, in 1967,
It was adopted by the Scottish rugby international winger in 1974 - a time of increased interest in home-rule for Scotland. When the team returned from South Africa that year, they were voted Team of the Year by BBC TV and they sang this as their team song.
From 1990 onwards the Scottish Rugby Union have used this an an unofficial anthem at the beginning of games, even Princess Anne ( a keen rugby fan) was seen singing it. Roy always loved rugby and he lived to see his song commenorated in his favourite sporting arena.
Since Roy's death, Ronnie has continued to lead fans in the anthem from rugby to boxing to curling and in 1996 - as the official anthem for The Scottish Football Association.
Ronnie designed the Corries' tartan shown here to mark the 40th anniversary of the writing of this wonderful national song "Flower of Scotland"
taken from http://www.corries.com/news.php
photo of Ronnie wearing the Corrie tartan kilt. Photo credit to the Corries Official Website
Roy's creation - The Combolins:
Roy was the musician, the instrumentalist and also a skilled wood worker. Famously, they carried around a lot of instruments on tour that they would line up behind them on chairs. Roy had the idea of creating an instrument that would combine several instruments into one and The Combolins was invented. There were two - one which combined a mandolin and a guitar with four bass strings operated with slide. The other was a combination of a guitar and a bandurria, a Spanish instrument Roy was fond of.
In reality they never did replace all those instruments on tour, instead they were another two to cart around!
You can find out more detailed information on The Combolins on Wiki
Pictured here is David Sinton with a combolin.
Garten Mother's Lullaby - Showing off the Combolins
Ronnie Browne Biography
Both Roy and Ronnie were art teachers when they turned professional. Ronnie became the business manager of the duo and he even ironed their costumes before each gig!
He was not in the original line-up but was asked to help out when one of the group became ill before a gig.
The more extrovert of the pair, Ronnie with his distinctive white hair and beard, provided vocals, guitar, banjo, harmonica and bodhran. He also whistled!
On Roy's death Ronnie said he could never take another partner but he continued to promote Celtic music as a solo artist until his retirement.
Ronnie's Tribute to Roy
Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream - The Corries in anti-war mode
The Balladeers - Roy and Ronnie
The Corries were the quintessential Scottish balladeers. Rousing Jacobite songs mixed with quiet traditional songs and humour to provide entertainment second to none. Many may argue they took a romantic view of Scottish history which takes nothing away the music. Some of their most powerful songs were those of the Jacobite rebellions in Scotland and Bonnie Prince Charlie. History now shows it was more of a civil war than than at first appears: as many clans fought against Prince Charlie as those that fought him, and Charlie himself was a bit of a fop who spoke no English or Gaelic, only French and Italian. Nowtheless the songs remain poignant and rousing.
Scotland Will Flourish - Roy's answer that we Scots are always looking backwards!
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to buy The Corries music in the UK
follow the link below
Westering Home - An old favourite sung round many firesides
This always reminds me how much I miss them!
Which song is your favourite?
Which is your favourite?
Other Sites You May Enjoy - Used in the making of this lens
- The Corries, Scotlands Famous Folk Duo by Falconer Museum, Forres.
The Corries and the history of the Corrie Folk Trio and Paddie Bell, scottish Folk music by Bill Smith, Roy Williamson and Ronnie Browne
The Corries official site run by Ronnie's son Gavin
Home Welcome to combolins.com. I am David Sinton and, as many of you already know, the combolins, those unique, quintessentially Corries instruments, were bequeathed to me by their creator, Roy Williamson of the Corries. When Roy died in August 1990,
- The Corries Discography
The Corries discography. Describes all single, extended play and album releases as well CD re-releases, videos, books, concert programs and other items.
Birnie Bozzle - featuring the Bodhran Drums
Bodhran Drums Available on Amazon - Popularly used by The Corries
The bodhran is an Irish fold drum played with a wooden 'tipper'. Different sizes produce different sounds and the pitch can be changed by experienced players.
The Corries made this instrument famous in Scotland, giving their ballads an ancient and haunting rhythm as you can hear in the above video.
I had to try one - it ain't as easy as it looks!
The images used throughout this lens came from
The Corries official website
© 2009 Ann