The Manx Music Development Officer of Culture Vannin, Chloe Woolley, brought along some of the young musicians who attend Culture Vannin’s Bree sessions, so as well as hearing about the background to the sessions, we enjoyed some live music as well as video of some of the Big Bree Workshop Weekends. Bree is the Manx word for vigour or energy, and that’s just what’s brought to Manx music and culture in the sessions.

After a music degree, Chloe completed her doctorate in ethnomusicology at the School of Scottish Studies in Edinburgh. Her doctoral thesis was on the Manx music revival from the 1970s onwards. Being in Edinburgh gave her an opportunity to see how traditional music, including Gaelic song, was supported, encouraged and developed in Scotland and she has been able to put those skills to very productive use in her work with Culture Vannin, and particularly through the Bree sessions.

As Chloe explained, the Bree sessions are a fun setting where young musicians can come and are encouraged to put their own input into developing songs, tunes, plays and presentations on a variety of themes, usually associated with the Island, but sometimes with an inter-Celtic or other international element. Without even realising it, they assimilate stories and facets of Manx culture in a way which is not only enjoyable for them, but provides entertainment for those fortunate enough to see them.

Gura mie mooar ec Chloe – thanks very much to Chloe for a really interesting and enjoyable afternoon.