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Morag Josephine Grant

Published On


Page Range

pp. 207-230

Print Length

23 pages

10. A Song Abroad

Chapter of: Auld Lang Syne: A Song and its Culture(pp. 207–230)
What happens when a song “migrates”? This chapter continues to explore the complex web of associations and tangents that has emerged as the song has travelled around the world, beginning in the late nineteenth but focusing in the main on the twentieth century. It begins by looking at a song composed using the familiar tune of Auld Lang Syne by one of the most prolific Zulu composers and musicians of the twentieth century, before exploring translations and foreign-language versions of song into Danish, Japanese and Jèrriais amongst others. Quotations from and paraphrases on the song in new songs published in the earlier twentieth century are discussed, as are a number of early recordings of Auld Lang Syne itself. The chapter discusses how clocks and bells have played a role in the song’s transmission and reinterpretation, and how its use in films can be used to trace the developing associations of the song, in particular with regard to its use at the New Year. Several poignant instances of the use of the song and its elements in the First and Second World Wars are also discussed. As divergent from one another and from their source as these practices are, the chapter argues that there is a striking commonality among many of the global practices discussed here that link them back quite directly to the song’s original eighteenth-century meanings.