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The British Isles come to Hammond


HAMMOND — A little piece of the British Isles is coming to Hammond this evening.

Singer Rene E. Corbin will perform traditional folk songs from Scotland, Ireland and Britain and Abigail Carter will perform Scottish Highland dancing at 7 p.m. outside the Hammond Museum, 1 North Main St.

Ms. Corbin, of Portland, Ore., has visited Hammond every summer since she was a child. Her mother, Carol MacDougall, a resident of Hammond, sang show tunes and church music.

British Isles music was something Ms. Corbin fell into.

“I started playing folk music when I was in my twenties,” she said. “I had friends that introduced me to Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span, they were a mix of Celtic rock and folk. I loved that they took traditional songs and put a different twist on them. I realized I could do that. All the songs are in the public domain so you don’t have to worry about copyright and I can experiment with them as much as I like.”

British Isles music highlights her range as a singer, she said.

“I think the thing that attracted me to this type of music is the vocal range so many of these songs are set to fiddle tunes. They go from very low to very high. It’s different from the folk music we are used to and where the vocal range is not as broad.”

Many of the songs Ms. Corbin sings are based on poems and old songs that are familiar to her audience. She draws her inspiration from poets like Robert Burns. One of the most traditional songs, “Auld Lang Syne,” is one example. “Auld Lang Syne” also happens to be Ms. Corbin’s favorite song to sing.

“But when I sing it, I don’t use the tune that most people know,” she said. “He set it to several different tunes — the first tune is much prettier so that is the tune that I use. There is a lot of Scotts dialect.

The songs also allow her to connect and learn about her Scottish heritage.

“I am proud of my Scottish heritage,” she said. “I feel like I learn a little bit about where my ancestors are from with each song.”

The concert will take place outside the museum. Don’t forget your lawn chairs.

Before the concert, visitors are encouraged to check out the Hammond Farmers and Artisan Market, open from 3:30 to 7 p.m.

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