Brochan Lom: food for the feet

Brochan Lom is a Gaelic song or port a beul (“mouth music”) that is well-known in Scottish music circles. Perhaps almost too well-known because many people have grown up with it, meaning it tends to get overlooked by many musicians. The title translates as Thin Porridge and it is often taught in Scottish schools, including those where Gaelic is not otherwise spoken.

Some background and lyrics can be found on Wikipedia. The ever-helpful Tobar an Dualchais/ Kist o’ Riches web site has many recordings, both vocal and instrumental, including one by Kate Buchanan and Nan Bryan (Mary Anne) Buchanan, collected in 1965 by Thorkild Knudsen.

It is undoubtedly a tune that swings along nicely and has much rhythmic emphasis. In G, it suits the flute and whistle very nicely and allows the D and G notes to punch through, providing lift for dancers. When I play this in celidhs, it’s great for setting up a good rhythm and giving the dancers a boost as they latch onto it.

Resources for the tune are now up, as are those for Katie Bairdie, another school favourite that we will be learning next.

Photo: Record-breaking porridge by chatirygirl, some rights reserved.


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