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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!

What a Night!

HUGE thanks to everyone for an unforgettable evening! The singing, the rowing, the hospitality – unparalleled. A lovely crowd of locals and visitors gathered on the beach as five skiffs from the three clubs rowed into view. The groups brought the boats onto the beach and sang for the crowd who enthusiastically cheered and applauded. Then back to the pub where the special Dreg Songs ale was finished by 9PM! A good sing-song in the pub, thanks and congratulations all round. A fabulous success! As it’s gone quite late here, I’ll post a few photos for now and provide a fuller report and some multimedia later. Thanks again to everyone – you brought the songs back to life!

CARPENTER PROJECT SPONSORS