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OUT OF OFFICE PODCAST
Episode 1
From bagpipes to hip hop, the revival of Scottish Trad music.

Traditional Scottish music

Dave Anderson

Eric Ward







[00:00:04]
Travel creates stories unforgettable stories that make a smile laugh.

[00:00:09] Or even cry.

[00:00:12] I'm David Calderon and you're listening to out of office. Powered by Contiki. This podcast is for people who love to travel in each episode. We'll be talking about hot topics and intriguing destinations. On today's episode. We're going to discover how young people in Scotland are reviving traditional Scottish music a.k.a. trap. We'll also hear about the bucket list things to do in Asia and what foods a trying Japan. After sushi.

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Scottish Traditional Music

[00:00:39] Let's get into this. It's time for real talk. Now what's real talk. You might ask. It's all about real conversations with real stories and real experiences. This is where you want to feel inspired and connected. Now we're going to be talking about how young people are breathing new life into traditional Scottish music. Kat from California went on a life changing trip to experience Scottish culture for herself with Kentucky and visit Scotland. She joins me now. How are you Kat. Hi. I'm good. How are you. I'm doing good doing good.

[00:01:14] So tell me about your connection to Scotland. I would say that the first thing that pops my head is all of the childhood memories of going to the Scottish games in California because my stepdad is half Scottish and he's very proud of his clan Hamilton heritage that's passed down from his mother's side. And most of what I would hear from him is more focused on the visual culture is like growing up I knew all about the killing.

[00:01:42] He had a book on how to dress properly for any special event including my sweet 16 my graduation he would wear his full kill outfit and that for one was really important to me because I knew that like his tart in all of that I like what that means lesser on the music and that. So this trip was more of like me discovering the other sides of the culture.

[00:02:05] When did you get your first taste of Scottish trad music on this trip.

[00:02:09] My first taste was going to the pub on the first day. Yeah that was it the first in Edinburgh. We went to a pub in the afternoon and it was really small and intimate and it was just filled with people. You walk in there is like a stairway down but generally it's just the one room and a few tables. There was nowhere to sit. So everybody was crowded and looking into the corner where there were five or six young musicians they were already jamming. And I think it lasted like an hour or so. So during that time I was sketching them all.

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[00:02:48]
They were that for me right now I'm envisioning just like a pub full of people and just like music randomly coming from like everywhere. So like people just like I like hanging out in this park just having like a pain drinking some wine Oh yeah.

[00:02:59] They were and they also it's not like a thing where they rehearse or anything because they all know a lot of these tunes by heart. So they they would whisper to each other and it was like oh like what you want to do now. And then one would star on the guitar or something and they were all just chime in. So it was very spontaneous and electric atmosphere in there.

[00:03:21] How did it make you feel like what emotions were you feeling and like how was the vibe in the pub.

[00:03:25] The vibe was very moving because even though I didn't know these tunes by heart and it doesn't remind me of any specific like childhood memories it is still like evident to anybody that it carries so much so much meaning in it. It's almost not even about the specific culture and and the folk lore that is behind the certain songs it is just about the history of like how the music brings people together. We're just like together in that moment. So that was just a a wonderful environment to be in now that we're talking like trad music.

[00:04:01] Let's bring in Rory Graham now Rory is a young Scottish musician who plays drums in a band called Nite works which fuses Gaelic Scottish sounds with electronic music. Is that right. That's correct David. Yeah. So as someone who's never been to Scotland how would you describe Scottish trad music to someone who knows nothing about it since you obviously play it.

[00:04:24] Well I think I mean it's such a big question that I think fundamentally speaking trad music is really kind of an expression of Scottish culture cap the Senate pretty well there it's like there seems to be an energy in the room whenever there is a kind of a session going on.

[00:04:40] It's a very informal type of music so you would get what's called generally a session and they take place more often than not in the pub so more often than not far more often. Yes. And so it's basically like it's like a a gathering I suppose is like a jam.

[00:04:58] But as Kate was saying you know like the songs some of the tunes have been played for hundreds of years some of the songs as well have been sung for hundreds of years.

[00:05:06] So it's amazing to see quite a v emergence really in the trade music scene because it's such a window into kind of current Scottish culture but also into like the past and Scotland's history as well.

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[00:05:19] There's no technical song that you play like you say it's just a jam session. So like someone would just like start playing like the bagpipe and just like start playing like an old melody that I went up knows like describe a little bit more.

[00:05:32] Well yeah I mean there's thousands of what you would say Cuban is right. So their tunes that have been written by somebody at some point in time so Jeff generally if you have a session like somebody or Brock to kind of like a commonly known tune so that everybody can kind of join in and and then by going to sessions sometimes you'll learn new tunes quite a lot of trad music is taught by ear rather than by sheet music. Oh yeah. So you have to as a tribe musician you have to really train your years. The art I learn pretty much only instruments mostly by year. I can hardly even read a sheet sheet music.

[00:06:09] You know you're one of those naturally talented musicians.

[00:06:12] Well yes I mean like generally that you would play a tune and maybe three or four times round on the first time you'd kind of listen to it and then the second time you would maybe try a little phrases and then by the third time you kind of start and scratch around and pick up and the other process I'm going to the pub very often you can pick up these songs and it becomes like a corpus. It's like communication going on between all the musicians there and is this contract. You know it's good fun.

[00:06:44] So you said you you learned by listening by ear so did you just learn what like with their family as well. Does it seem that you just picked up by yourself you're like I want to learn trad music and you started going just listening to it.

[00:06:55] Yeah for sure. Well for me like I come from we island off the north west coast of Scotland called the Isle of Skye. So trad music is and Gaelic music in particular is is part of the culture and part of growing up there. My mum's like a Gaelic singing teacher so she would go round all the primary schools teaching all the old songs and garlic. All my brothers and sisters we all play an instrument.

[00:07:22] So literally like part of growing up was you know sitting around the piano and like you'd be playing some tunes or you'd be singing some songs.

[00:07:30] Now in Scotland are there different types of Scottish trade music or is it all the same to this on different from different places.

[00:07:37] Oh yeah for sure. There's there's different styles of music wherever you go.

[00:07:41] So on the West Coast where I'm from there tends to be the type of trad music that you play is very fast and very late there's a lot of drive behind it. So you would play lots of types of tunes that you would call reels and they're in for four. That's great for what we call Chely which is a traditional dance event basically. And then there's associated dances that everybody in Scotland knows on the West Coast are pretty wild.

[00:08:08] So there's lots of it. So that's why I want to guys senses what you're telling me. Yeah yeah.

[00:08:13] Oh for sure yeah I'm a bit biased in that respect but the West Coast is pretty good fun.

[00:08:18] There's lots swinging people around and all that kind of stuff and then it's really interesting you get different styles if you go up to the Northern Isles like Oregonian Shetland you've got a different style of trad music that's kind of very connected to kind of Scandinavia as well because they are culturally very connected to cats Scandinavia and the east coast of Scotland it's their playing is a bit more a bit more reserved but a bit more kind of bouncy and they're playing rather than so reserved as in like they don't get up to dance or is it just more mellow dance or mellow dancing the more mellow dancing a bit more kind of conservative dancing than throwing somebody out of a window.

[00:08:57] I still want to go to the west. Definitely.

[00:09:02] Cat. So when you were in Scotland when you were listening trad music out of those types of meat versions of tribe music which ones did you think you were listening to.

[00:09:12] If I had to guess it was the faster ones with more drive. Everyone was just enthralled in there and the players themselves like their eyes were closed and they were bouncing up and down the chairs their feet our their knees were just like coming up and down pounding the wood floors in the same rhythm. So I want to say that I really love. The players themselves like because they didn't need the sheet music and they just knew it like the fiddle player was just playing with his eyes closed. What are the amazing and then everyone else we were just clapping. Unfortunately there wasn't room for me to dance so I was always standing and crowding around a big table.

[00:09:47] Well that's good you did get thrown out a window so that's still but still a plus. So Roy we'd really like to hear a track from networks so what is one of the tracks that you would want to play for us.

[00:09:59] I'd suggest to players from their latest album called it fat and what actually it translates at the dawn of the day. Perfect let's hear it.

[00:10:15] You show me.

[00:10:37] We're now going to hear from Archie MacFarlane a trad musician who grew up with traditional Scottish music before its revival by young people today. Welcome to the podcast. Archie Hello. So how long have you been playing tried music for oh since I was about 11. I think we're talking about how young people have revived tried music today. Huh. What are your thoughts on how they are experimenting with other genres of music and fusing them with track.

[00:11:02] Yeah I think there's a bit of that good on the moment. I guess they're kind of pushing things forwards by introducing other influences or whatever. I think trad music generally it's not a static thing it hasn't just stayed the same for years and years. It's always evolving. So you know at the moment there is I guess it's more access to other music perhaps or other influences so young people are taking some of that and you know infusing it into their into their tribe. MUSIC PLAYING sometimes it doesn't work. You know people and fuse things together and they sound terrible. In which case you know it doesn't survive no one listens to it. So that's the good stuff does happen and it happens well that's when itself work. So people listen to it and it survives and it gets taken on to something.

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[00:11:58] Try to music it's very personal. So all these young people are taking it and kind of adding a part of themselves to their own music and that becomes you know this fusion that are happening right now.

[00:12:09] I mean and also as well like traditional music you know a tune played in Aberdeen.

[00:12:15] It's going to be maybe a bit different if you hear it played in fast-track are one personal play slightly different another person. It's not like I kind of see that classical music can you give it to these adults and that's it. It's kind of it's got that structure. You have to stick to try doesn't really have that it's got the tune but you can kind of make it your own and you can change bits of your life. It's a very fluid in that sense. So.

[00:12:52] You worry.

[00:12:53] How important is Scottish trad music to the Scottish national identity.

[00:12:59] I'd say I'd say it's it's really really important. It's quite interesting. I mean trad music has been going for as I said like hundreds of years basically so it is a window into our past for a lot of people like a lot of the songs and tunes were written so long ago that especially some of the songs you know some of some of the the lyrics and that speak of a time where we just don't have that time anymore. So it's kind of like a very strong connection with Scottish roots. There was a period of time where it became I hasten to use the word like unpopular but it wasn't really a lot of people were kind of not taken up up until like the 70s and 80s it was mostly kind of like all guys in the pubs you know a scotch in a way in a federal and maybe one or two. But the really interesting thing is has happened since late the 70s or 80s when bands started taking like trad music and mixing it up with other styles. So that's really begun a massive resurgence in popularity particularly amongst young people. It's just kind of latched on to this new kind of young generation of Scottish people that want to identify with the country that they are part of. And it's a great way to do that. I think of it it's just like it's music of the people for the people and by the people if you want to put it like that. And that's because it's it's so welcoming to anybody can pick up a fiddle and join a session you know and like be part of that kind of music which is the Scottish roots music and kind of what makes Scotland Scotland whether it's what Scotland sounds like.

[00:14:37] Kat when you were in the pub when you were listening to the Scottish trad music was there. Could you see kind of like the different generations of an age of people playing the music was it or was it all just young people or was it just older people.

[00:14:48] It was definitely a mix and specifically one of the nights there were three generations.

[00:14:54] There was one particularly old man who was just like the most amazing fiddle player. He was the one who is like in that trends during that one song and everybody was watching him at one point because what was nice is that you can tell that for some of the tunes although they all knew many by heart though there are a few where only the older generations knew how to play the entirety of it. So for like a stretch of time it was just him and one other person playing and going back and forth going back and forth that was it was an extremely fast paced song as well. It kind of circles back into this main chorus where everybody joined in again and the young boy was sitting next to the older man and I think it was just really moving for me to see across all generations and then playing and like a thought that crossed my head was just like you know that old man was once that young boy you know picking up this tradition and one day that boy is going to be the older man. And it's just even though I can't say that I'm culturally tied to that I loved being in that moment I can experience the value of it.

[00:16:06] It feels amazing you know because it is a personal thing to me and to the other band members as well that you get to take you can have cultural identity and what you grew up with and package it into something kind of new and put it on stage and it really seems to appeal to people and you get to play trad music and Gaelic music to two audiences who otherwise wouldn't have come into contact with it. Thank you so much to our guests very cat and Archie for telling us all about the rebirth of Scottish trad.

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Dave Anderson

[00:16:43] And next. Here's the part of the podcast where Callie travel pawn some travel experiences are superior to others. If you're looking for that next spot to brag about on the Gram or you're into the weird helpful and unique travel point has got you covered. Get ready to have that feeling of wanderlust washed all over you because travel blogger Dave Anderson a.k.a. Jones around the world is here to cover all things you need to do in Asia.

[00:17:09] Welcome to the podcast Dave thanks so much for having me. Of course. So you've traveled a lot in Asia. When did you first make your trip over there.

[00:17:18] So my first trip to Southeast Asia was in 2000. I think 13 just hopped on a one way ticket to Bangkok and just kind of fell in love with Southeast Asia and backpacking and long term travel.

[00:17:31] All right. So we know Asia is really vast and there's so much to do and see in that part of the world. Can you tell me about five things to do in Asia.

[00:17:38] So for the first one I would say let's hang out on the ocean swing in a village for long in and Bali or I guess it's off the coast of Lombok and Indonesia. But I actually stayed on the Gili Islands for a couple of months. I worked at a backpacker hostel just like working in the nightlife industry on Gilly islands or on Gilly T. And there's this really famous Instagram swing that is just it's such a cool place and this is just a big swing as well. I don't even know how to describe it. It's basically a swing with two swings next to each other so you go out there and you have two friends standing up in the water. So it's like out in the ocean. But it's also where the sun is setting as well. So you've got these really colorful and bright pink sunsets and. Yeah. And then I mean you can also go out there during the day of course. But for me it's like the best during sunset and you get these awesome colors the whole island of Gilly Gili Islands are just beautiful in that it's one of my favorite places for sure.

[00:18:35] In Southeast Asia definite photo definite photo. All right. What would be your second one.

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[00:18:41] My second one I would say riding the tram up to Victoria Peak in Hong Kong and just exploring that whole area. You get some really stunning views of the entire city and the skyline in Hong Kong is one of the most insane skylines in the world. I'd say there is especially being up there at night when you can just see the city come alive like Hong Kong really is one of the most vibrant places I've been.

[00:19:05] Yeah I know I've seen so many photos and I've never been but I it's it's on the on the list of places to go.

[00:19:11] Yeah. Oh it's incredible. I was actually there back in I think it was October. So I guess it was a bit ago but I took the tram up there and I spent hours just kind of walking around different trails that they have and just soaking it up. All right. And what would be your number three for number three. I'd say walking the bridges and exploring Gardens by the bay in Singapore.

[00:19:31] Oh that's the that's where although I like the it's like the purple towers right.

[00:19:34] Yeah. It has that like Avatar kind of vibe. Yes. Avatar. That's that's a best way to describe it. Yeah it's super cool. And I actually it's crazy on my way to Hong Kong back in October. I had a 10 hour layover in Singapore so I actually left the airport hopped on the tram to the Gardens by the bay and just walked around and took the elevator up to the bridges and it's just such a cool thing to do. And yeah even during the day and at night it's just such a awesome activity and it kind of is it's just a great way of looking at Singapore too because it's futuristic and beautiful and everyone's super nice and yeah I love Singapore. What would be your fourth. Let's say go surfing in Sri Lanka. I'm completely obsessed with Sri Lanka. I've been there three different times now. It is one of my favorite places for food in the world. How is it that good. Yeah. The Sri Lankan food and cuisine is like it's its next level. Every time I go there I gain a few pounds because all the food is it's so goo then you have a little bit of everything in Sri Lanka but one of my favorite places is Oregon Bay and that's like one of the it's like the surfing hotspot in the country. And it's one of the first places I went surfing. And there's also like really cool beach parties and I would just say if you're gonna go to Asia check out Sri Lanka and go surfing.

[00:20:54] How's the water for all our surfers out there. It's warm and the waves are good.

[00:20:58] It's nice come through warm water and they have some really good breaks at all their different surf spots.

[00:21:03]And what would be a fine thing to do in Asia. I know like five is such a small number but it's we know there's no way we can put it all in one big list for number five I'll go with swimming in an infinity pool and call them for I'm a big fan of kale.

[00:21:16] I think it's one of the most underrated cities in Southeast Asia. I would always stay with friends at this one that's really popular called regalia but now they're popping up all over the place. But there's amazing infinity pools in Kuala Lumpur and you get really awesome views of the you know Petronas Towers and it's just such an awesome feeling to be like that high up. You know you're all like the thirty seventh of fortieth floor swimming and you can just look out over an entire city views for days.

[00:21:45] Absolutely. Well thank you so much for joining us Dave. You have been amazing. I appreciate your time. Yeah. Thanks so much. It's been really fun.

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Eric Ward

[00:21:54] All right so this is the part of the podcast that might make you a little bit hungry. You have been warned. Much is all about the food porn the foodie destinations and the best of where to eat around the world. Get ready for your mouth to water because mine definitely is. I'm about to speak to Eric Ward from the Japan Center who will tell us some weird and wonderful foods we need to try in Japan after sushi now Eric what are the top foods to try.

[00:22:22] After eating sushi in Japan because I was in Japan last May and I was there for three weeks I kind of went and traveled as much as I could and I ate sushi everyday.

[00:22:34] The number one on my list that I would say is to actually as weird as it sounds is non Japanese foods so Western foods in Japan Indian food and Chinese and even Italian food.

[00:22:45] I've heard that KFC is a big thing in Japan.

[00:22:49] Is that true. Yes. Throughout most of the year it's probably the same as any other fried chicken place but during Christmas in particular Japanese don't eat turkeys for Christmas they chicken. What you actually have to do is you have to preorder your dinner sets or your fried chicken bucket. I know that sounds a little strange. I had to preorder KFC but the demand is very high during that year and then you got your meal your chicken and then you would also get a Christmas cake as well. Japanese Christmas cake is a little bit different. It's basically a sponge cake with whipped cream and strawberries.

[00:23:19] I would not have known that what would be the next food to try and the list.

[00:23:22] Anything that ends in yucky or has yucky in its name yucky basically means grilled or cooked. I'm sure a lot of people are at least aware of something that has and they're probably like teriyaki chicken actually have some teriyaki chicken right here in the office.

[00:23:35] I want to give a go well while you continue talking about some yucky.

[00:23:39] So teriyaki chicken yucky soba which probably most people are familiar with fried stir fried noodles and another variant of that is yucky udon which is a little bit thicker noodles.

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[00:23:50] The other main ones would be Oklahoma Yankee which is a savory pancake of sort. They tend to use cabbage as the base mix it with egg and batter and then they top it with basically whatever you like.

[00:24:01] You would have it with bacon or pork belly is the main thing that they top it with it's everything with yucky yucky.

[00:24:08] You have to try it.

[00:24:09] Yeah. And then the other more well-known is that Taco Yorkie which is octopus balls.

[00:24:13] I have a little nice turkey yucky right here in front of me. So I see all the flakes and everything. So what's all in it again.

[00:24:20] Not normally taco refers to octopus. So you gonna put little bits of octopus in there grow them up and then cut them with a special Japanese brown sauce.

[00:24:28] Then with Japanese mayonnaise topped with ginger fish flakes and seaweed powder.

[00:24:34] Now what's really funny is like just eating right now that actually is really really good. I'm not the biggest branch into seafood territory like I would have calamari but I wouldn't really taste it because I would just dip in lots of sauce. But this I don't taste the octopus at all. I definitely taste the mustard as a very nice soft texture. It's not it's not like crispy or anything.

[00:24:53] It's actually really good though like I have six of them and I probably to get them. That's good. Yes.

[00:24:58] One

[00:24:59] of the things that I realized when I went to Japan is because the person who I went to with was vegetarian and he had a lot of trouble actually trying to be vegetarian and Japan. What. And as we actually went through kind of this list there is a lot of kind of like meat centric foods. Why would be kind of like an option for someone who want to go to Japan and was like but I don't eat meat.

[00:25:21] Well I do sympathize and fortunately the Japanese concept of meat is very varied and meat in most traditional Japanese cooking takes only the role of flavoring. But my take would be temporary cocky I guess. So it's basically just thinly sliced vegetables like onions and carrots sort of scrambled up into very thin breads and it's kind of like makes a nest. They dipped into the powder and they deep fry it. If anybody's familiar with onion rings I would be a similar taste of that but not so bad because it's a carrot and vegetable.

[00:25:52] Yeah. Thank you so much Mr. Eric. It's really good to hear this because I actually do want to get to Japan again. So I think there is payme foods out there to try plenty more Yankees out there to taste. Yes there show.

[00:26:07] That's it for this episode of out of office. Powered by Con TV. Don't forget to subscribe so you don't miss the next episode. I'm going to be catching up with legendary explorer and environmental activist Salley Cousteau on how we can make trouble matter by traveling more sustainably. That's it for me. David Calderon. I'll see you soon.