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About the Dreg Song Project

In the nineteenth century, Scotsmen fished for oysters in the Firth of Forth by dragging dredges over the oyster 'scalps'. To maintain a steady speed they sang as they rowed. Overfishing brought the industry to a close near the turn of the twentieth century and with it, the use of the dreg songs. In the 1930s James Madison Carpenter gathered some of these songs on wax cylinders and typewritten pages. For years the songs were hidden away - lost. Now, with the work of the James Madison Carpenter Project these songs have come back to life first at Mystic Seaport Museum and, this summer, in their home waters of the Firth! Three Scottish Coast Rowing Clubs: RowportyNewhaven Coastal Rowing and Boatie Blest  brought the songs home to the Firth at 7:30 pm on 20 June, 2012 near the Dalriada Bar. It was a memorable and historic evening!

Dreg Songs Everywhere

Word is spreading about last week’s celebration. Radio was first, then blogs and now video. The link to the BBC Radio Scotland programme is in a previous post.

Here is a report of the event on the Scottish Coastal Rowing website.

Gavin Atkin writes a maritime blog ‘In the Boatshed’. Here is his take on the Dreg Songs Project.

The Caledonian Mercury is an online news source for Scotland. David Calder’s lovely video is posted on their site and you can view it here.

Thanks to everyone for their coverage. May the songs enjoy a renewed life on the Firth (and I’ve just had a query from Orkney . . .)

CARPENTER PROJECT SPONSORS