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date: 22 October 2019

Isle of Manlocked

  • Fenella Bazin


Island located in the Irish Sea, off the north-west coast of England.

Manx music has been shaped by the Isle of Man's unique political status and its position at the cultural crossroads of the British Isles. Manx Celts had been Christian for nearly 400 years before the arrival in about 800 ce of pagan Scandinavian settlers, who were converted to Christianity and founded the Tynwald (parliament). From the early 15th century onwards English rule was to have a profound effect on cultural life. Manx Gaelic, a dialect of Irish and Scots Gaelic, was still the majority language in the early 1800s; the influx of English-speaking holidaymakers hastened its decline, although it was still spoken in the 20th century. Trading and commercial links with Britain and Ireland as well as further afield helped shape a distinctive musical life.

Little music has survived from before the 18th century, although documentary evidence indicates that there was an active musical life at all levels of Manx society. The English Lords of Man (the earls of Derby and their successors the dukes of Atholl, ...

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