Men in Kilts: The Music of Scotland

The idea of two men riding around Scotland in a camper van is still a popular idea but one has to wonder if they’re really staying in the van as much as is implied or if, like a lot of reality shows, they’re actually being kept in very posh surroundings and the van is just for show. To be fair, who cares? The van is a way to get around and a part of the show that allows people to see Sam and Graham conversing between segments and even if it’s real or not, the fun is in watching, not in trying to tear the whole thing apart. There are some reality shows that present themselves as pure reality without fail and don’t admit that they’re faking it behind the scenes, and then there are those that you don’t really care if they are because they’re still fairly entertaining. In this episode of Men in Kilts that continues since the back and forth banter between the two men gets a little dry at times but every now and then they get a zinger in on each other that one can’t help but laugh at. But it’s also the history of Scotland that’s interesting to hear about as they recollect their days on the series Outlander, a shameless plug obviously as well as a callback to some of the subjects they’ve covered. But this time around the guys did take on something that a lot of people might not know that much about and it was fairly interesting since it also looked like a lot of fun. 

Many people at least know what the bagpipes look and sound like and while some people might not care for them, others happen to love them since they give that old-world kind of feel and on top of that, if you’ve ever had someone play a set of bagpipes for you, you’ll know just how impressive they can be. Having listened to a group of pipers lead my class into the gymnasium during my college graduation, the first time at the institution, it was a rather heady experience to be certain. The thing about this instrument is that it’s been used for many different purposes as it’s laid out in the show and while it looks like a simple operation, playing the instrument does take practice and it does pay to take good care of the pipes since they’re a spendy item like many instruments. But the sound of them when they’re played by someone that’s spent years practicing to reach this level of mastery…it’s simply magical in its own way. 

The dancing that Sam and Graham were taught might look complex to those that don’t know much about it, but the few steps that they were taught look interesting, and finding out that they were used to test strength, agility, and coordination is pretty interesting since one can see that it’s not quite as easy if they don’t know how to do it. Believing that one would be injured or die on the battlefield since the sword dance that is shown in the episode is a war dance, is something that likely held far more credence in the days when open warfare took place on a blood-soaked battlefield but seeing it performed in this manner today is still fun to watch since it speaks highly of the culture that still exists. Obviously, Graham and Sam are not quite as versed in these ways, despite the fact that both were born and raised in Scotland. If one takes a look though, Graham and his family left Scotland when he was still a child, and unless his family kept to the culture it’s likely he missed out on a lot of it unless he kept up with it later on. It’s easy to think that since a person is born and raised in a place or has lived there that they might know everything about it, but this isn’t the case, since many Americans have trouble retelling any type of American history unless they’re schooled in it or it’s been something that has become obvious over the years. The point is, seeing that Graham and Sam are now learning more about the culture of their homeland, it’s fair to say that they don’t know that much. One has to remember that much of what they’re learning has a limited place in the modern world, as many of these things, even though they’re still practiced, don’t really have a place in the world of today apart from being used as a part of historical reference. 

But it’s still fun to learn and to understand the ways of another country, and in all honesty, the dancing the guys did at the cielidh, the gathering that took place near the end, looked like a lot of fun, not to mention a lot to remember in a short amount of time. 

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