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Children's Songs

Golden City
Children's songs are as rich as source as any of Scots language in song. 

The Edinburgh schoolteacher James T. Ritchie undertook important collecting of the songs being sung in Edinburgh playgrounds of the 1950 and '60s, releasing two books, The Singing Street (1964) and The Golden City (1965). A film of the children at Norton Park School was also made, and the children were recorded by the American folklorist Alan Lomax. The film can be viewed at the Scottish Screen Archive.

Listen to James Ritchie describing the songs at the Alan Lomax Archive.

Ewan McVicar Ewan McVicar has worked extensively in schools collecting and sharing children's songs, and has published several books, including Doh Ray Me, When Ah Wis Wee (2007) and ABC, My Grannie Caught a Flea (2011), as well as contributing to several websites including Scotland's Songs, and Scots Sangs fur Schools

Iona and Peter Opie are also renowned collectors of childlore, having recorded in Aberdeenshire and Angus amongst others. Some of their recordings are available at the British Library

The School of Scottish Studies Archive is a rich store of children's songs, having been recorded extensively from both children and adults by the likes of Emily Lyle, William Montgomerie, Hamish Henderson and Kenneth Goldstein. Listen to children recorded in Strichen in Buchan in 1960, enjoying themselves singing the playground rhyme Chokit on a Tattie:

Ah Chokit on a Tattie


- from Scottish Tradition Series Vol 22 - Chokit On A Tattie (Children's Songs & Rhymes), CDTRAX9022, used with kind permission from Greentrax Recordings.

Poet and folklorist William Montgomerie recorded many songs in the playgrounds of Dundee's Hilltown in the 1950s, which are available at the Kist o Riches website, including A Bum-Bee Stung Me. He also released several books of verse, story and rhyme for children, with his wife Norah. 

Forfar schoolteacher Jean Rodger issued a collection in 1948 of local Forfar songs and rhymes called Lang Strang. One of the songs it contains is Wee Tammy Tyrie, which seems to be a children's song local to Angus. Singer Steve Byrne from Arbroath learned it as a boy from his grandmother. Here he sings it with Arbroath schoolchildren in May 2012: