Well I just want to thank everyone for tuning in over the past week for Scottish Week here at ye ol’ blog.
We had fun, learned a bit, got some culture, and heard some great tunes. I’m pretty stoked about my heritage, stoked that my parents saw fit to engage their kids in it early on. Stoked that I’ve actually been to my family’s home land. Stoked that I get to share it with my kids. Stoked that I get to share it with my blogging friends! I think it’s important to know where you’re from, where you’ve been – it kind of gives you a clearer picture of where you’re going.
And here’s a blast from the past. That’s my dad (Robert Alexander) and my grandpa (George Alexander) – two fine looking McLean’s. This picture is from 2000, at me and Jen’s wedding. My gramps decked it out! So I imagine I’ll one day graduate from my flip flops and jeans to a tux, and one day to a kilt. We’ll see. My grandpa passed away in March of 2007, just a month after meeting his great-grandson, Miles Alexander McLean…
So, once again, thanks for joining me in this week long journey. I’ll leave you with some interesting wikipedia facts:
In the 2000 Census, 4.8 million Americans reported Scottish ancestry, 1.7% of the total US population. Given Scotland’s population (just over 5 million), there are almost as many Scottish Americans as there are native Scots living in their home country.
There has been a long tradition of influences between Scottish and the African American community. The great influx of Scots Presbyterians into the Carolinas introduced the African slaves to Christianity and their way of worship and singing. Even today, psalm singing and gospel music are the backbone of African American churchgoers. It has been long thought by the wider African American community that American Gospel music originated in Africa and was brought to the Americas by slaves. However recent studies by Professor Willie Ruff, himself, a Black American ethno-musicologist at Yale University concludes that African American Gospel singing was in fact was introduced and encouraged by Scottish Gaelic speaking settlers from North Uist. His study also and concludes that the first foreign tongue spoken by slaves in America was not English but Scottish Gaelic taught to them by Gaelic speakers who left the Western Isles because of religious persecution.
[this is very interesting to me because I have always had some fascination with a lot of african american music. I remember clearly, checking out a book when I was a young teen that was a history of the blues. Read all about some of the great blues guitarists from missisppi, detroit, chicago, new orleans, etc. And ever since then I have always been a huge blues fan. I am constantly amazed at the power of music.
And of course I could not conclude Scottish Week without mentioning these Scottish movies!
- Braveheart which is based on William Wallace, who gained recognition when he came to the forefront of the First War of Scottish Independence by opposing Edward I of England
- Rob Roy, which was generally inspired by elements of the life of a 17th-18th century Scot named Robert Roy MacGregor and his battles with feudal landowners in the Scottish Highlands.
- Chariots of Fire, The true story of two British track athletes competing in the 1924 Summer Olympics. One is a devout Scottish missionary who runs for God, the other is a Jewish student at Cambridge who runs for fame and to escape prejudice.
And here’s a list of some famous Scottish people, in no particular order:
- James Gordon Bennett, Sr. (1795Ã¢â‚¬â€œ1872) founder and publisher of the New York Herald
- David Buick (1854Ã¢â‚¬â€œ1929) founded the Buick car company
- William Paterson (1658Ã¢â‚¬â€œ1719), founder Bank of Scotland and Bank of England
- Robert Burns (1759 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 1796) (also known as Rabbie Burns, Scotland’s favourite son, the Ploughman Poet, the Bard of Ayrshire and in Scotland as simply The Bard) was a poet and a lyricist.
- Alexander Bain (1818Ã¢â‚¬â€œ1903), fax machine
- John Logie Baird (1888Ã¢â‚¬â€œ1946), television
- Alexander Graham Bell (1847Ã¢â‚¬â€œ1922), telephone, National Geographic, Hydrofoil
- Charles Macintosh (1766Ã¢â‚¬â€œ1843), patented waterproofing
- Kirkpatrick MacMillan (1813Ã¢â‚¬â€œ1878), the bicycle
- James Chalmers (1782Ã¢â‚¬â€œ1853), adhesive postage stamp
- Sir Dugald Clark (aka Clerk), (1854Ã¢â‚¬â€œ1932), first two stroke cycle engine (the Clark cycle)
- Robert Davidson (1804Ã¢â‚¬â€œ1894), first electric locomotive
- James Dewar (1842Ã¢â‚¬â€œ1923), inventor of the Thermos flask and co-developer of cordite
- William Dickson (1860Ã¢â‚¬â€œ1935), motion picture camera and the world’s first film
- John Boyd Dunlop (1840Ã¢â‚¬â€œ1921), the modern rubber tyre
- Sir Alexander Fleming (1881Ã¢â‚¬â€œ1955), isolated Penicillin from the fungus
- John Shepherd-Barron (born 1925), inventor of the Automatic Teller Machine
- Sir Robert Watson-Watt (1893-1973), Developed Radar
- David Douglas (1799Ã¢â‚¬â€œ1834), explorer, botanist, introduced about 240 species of plants to Great Britain, including the Douglas-fir
- Douglas Douglas-Hamilton, 14th Duke of Hamilton (1903Ã¢â‚¬â€œ1973), Mount Everest, aviator and first man to see Everest from above
- Henry Sinclair, 1st Earl of Orkney (c. 1345 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ c. 1400), allegedly explored North America in 1398
- Tony Blair (born 1953) (born in Scotland), Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1997 – 2007)
- John McCain (born 1936), United States presidential candidate
- Sheena Easton (born 1959) [i know, huh?]
- The Jesus and Mary Chain, band
- Mark Knopfler (born 1949), guitarist, Dire Straits frontman [OH YEAH!]
- Annie Lennox (born 1954)
- Bon Scott AC/DC frontman
- Angus Young AC/DC guitarist
- Malcolm Young AC/DC
- Paul Thomson, drummer of Franz Ferdinand (band)
- Robert Archibald (born 1980), 1st Scottish NBA player [1st and only?]
- Eric Liddell (1902Ã¢â‚¬â€œ1945), athlete, one of the two subjects of Chariots of Fire
- Craig Ferguson (born 1962)
- John Knox (c. 1513 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 1572)
- Tommy Hilfiger, fashion designer
- Sir Sean Connery, actor
- Mel Gibson, actor
- Mike Myers, actor
- Christopher Walken, actor [VERY proud of this one!]
- Tina Fey (father scottish/german heritage) [another proud one]
- David Byrne, Musician/Songwriter/Artist. Born in Dumbarton, Scotland
- Johnny Cash, singer
- Stacy “Fergie” Ferguson, singer best known with The Black Eyed Peas
- Elvis Presley, singer
- Bonnie Raitt, singer/songwriter
- Ashlee Simpson, singer/actress
- Jessica Simpson, singer
- Gwen Stefani, singer
- Carrie Underwood, country singer
- Gerard Way, lead singer of My Chemical Romance
- Mikey Way, bass guitarist for My Chemical Romance
- Jack White aka John Anthony Gillis, of The White Stripes
- Neil Armstrong, astronaut
- Ulysses S. Grant, military leader and American president
- Davy Crockett, Frontiersman, U.S. Congressman, and a defender of the Alamo
- Douglas MacArthur, American genera
- Woodrow Wilson, American president
- John Witherspoon, a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence
- Alexander Graham Bell, inventor
- Thomas Edison, inventor
- Michael Crichton, author
- William Faulkner, author
- Robert Frost, poet
- Edgar Allan Poe, short story writer, poet, critic
- Mark Twain, author
- John Muir, naturalist
And lastly as we part, here’s a song that you may already know, you probably just didn’t know it was Scottish:
Nothing like Flea in a kilt!
“Auld Lang Syne” is a poem written by Robert Burns in 1788 and set to the tune of a traditional folk song (Roud # 6294), although the same phrase (Auld Lang Syne) is used in similar poems by Robert Ayton (1570Ã¢â‚¬â€œ1638), Allan Ramsay (1686-1757) and James Watson (1711) as well as older folk songs predating Burns.
It is well-known in many English-speaking countries, and it is often sung at the stroke of midnight on the 1st of January, New Year’s Day. Like many other frequently sung songs, the melody is better remembered than the words, which are often sung incorrectly, and seldom in full.
The song’s (Scots) title may be translated into English literally as “old long since”, or more idiomatically, “long long ago”  or “days gone by”. In his retelling of fairy tales in the Scots language, Matthew Fitt uses the phrase Ã¢â‚¬Å“In the days of auld lang syneÃ¢â‚¬Â as the equivalent of Ã¢â‚¬Å“Once upon a time.Ã¢â‚¬Â In Scots syne is pronounced like the English word sign Ã¢â‚¬â€ IPA: [sain] Ã¢â‚¬â€ not [zain] as many people pronounce it.
Thanks for playing!