The Songmaking and Placemaking projects have been taking place in the Stonehaven and Mearns schools over the past three years and startling, hilarious and educational new songs have been written, the topics ranging from a meat pie that survived the sinking of the Titanic to the visit of the Sunset Song film crew, and tales of the Auchenblae clock, through specially designed songmaking workshops run by the Ceilidhmakers project.
Ceilidhmakers organizer, noted Scots traditional singer Christine Kydd, based in the North East, explains.
"We are helping pupils celebrate, in new songs, not just the remarkable history of the Mearns and their own communities, but also the topics they are studying. We have together made songs about the natural beauty of the Mearns, the missionary Mary Slessor, the day Queen Victoria came to Fettercairn, and shopping adventures in Luthermuir.
We start with the Great Scots Song Treasure Hunt, created by my colleague Ewan McVicar, to help pupils and teachers engage with the national Scotland's Songs website he was commissioned to make. Also, our Amazing Mearns Mastermind quiz broadens and deepens their knowledge of the history of their own area.
Then we show how to use rhyme, meter and ideas, by making new fun verses for old Scots songs. "When ah wis single ah slept aa day in bed, noo ah'm merried ah feel like ah'm losin ma head". "Wha saw the Fettery kids, off on a bus tae get on a plane?" "We sent her for milk, she nearly kissed an elk".
"The smaller children get particular pleasure thinking up actions to accompany the new songs they proudly perform, and creating illustrations of their songs to be added to the new websites that Ceilidhmakers has made to celebrate and preserve their work."
The projects are funded and administered by Aberdeenshire Council through Creative Scotland's Youth Music Initiative.