All things counter, original, spare and strange in Khujand, Tajikistan

Skye, the first leg

After hillwalking in Glencoe with the gang from America, I parted ways with Matt Brown and co. and caught a bus to Kyleakin on the Isle of Skye.  Kyleakin consists of a pub, some houses, and three hostels.  I stayed at Skye Backpacker’s Hostel, which I recommend to anyone for its sociable atmosphere, relative inexpensiveness and quirkiness (the beds aren’t numbered, they are named after various magical creatures.  Mine was “selkies,” a kind of water sprite).

The next day I went to Sabhal Mor Ostaig (don’t pronounce the bh at all), the Gaelic College, where the Isle of Sky Festival (Feis an Eilein) was held.  I camped out on the college grounds, ate at the cafeteria and heard some amazing folk music in English, Gaelic and French (one of the bands was from Quebec).  Also had a great talk with a guy named Tom Spiers who was in one of the bands.  He told me how he got into folk music by hearing American music like Dylan in the sixties.  He played the fiddle.  That makes him cool.

I love music that is close to the ground, growing up out of daily experience and fruitful, open imaginations.  It’s amazing that music that is rooted so deeply in a culture and time I haven’t grown up in still speaks to me so immediately.


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