BBC Trusadh – Whistling (2016)

BBC Trusadh 2016 Whistling

Gaelic title: Feadaireachd

Why do people whistle? Is it a dying art? It’s something that has been part of people’s lives the world over, and is in fact the most international of all languages. For some it’s a hobby. For whistling postie James MacDonald it’s a case of whistle while you work. Others like Pat McAleer enjoy whistling just as much, but prefer to whistle when the work is done. He takes part in a weekly music session, putting his whistling skills to use.

For Sheila Harrod, it’s been much more than a hobby. Her whistling talents have seen her make a living from it and she’s travelled all over the world during a long career. Shepherd Iain MacDonald also whistles as part of his work.

The ancient whistling language Silbo Gomera can be found in La Gomera in the Canary Islands. It was originally used by farmers to communicate from village to village in the island’s valleys in the days before telephones. Once thought to be dying out, the language is now enjoying a revival and is now taught in school.

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