I Once Loved A Lass (Orkney Blackening)

The following images are video still-frames showing Orcadian weddings and blackenings taking place around the Merkit Cross and St Magnus Cathedral on Broad Street in Kirkwall. These events feature in a forthcoming music video produced for Sikkersnapper – an arrangement of the ancient ballad I Once Loved A Lass (aka The False Bride). The video will be released to coincide with the song release on all major music streaming platforms on the 1st of September 2023.

The music video is inspired by the song lyrics, which include some evocative imagery and ask possibly the oldest riddle recorded in the English language:

“The men o’ yon forest

They askit o’ me

How many strawberries grow in the saut sea?

I askit ’em back

Wi’ a tear in my e’e

How many ships sail in the forest?”

I Once Loved A Lass (traditional)

I Once Loved A Lass is an unhappy love song about a man who must watch as the woman he loves marries another. A blackening is a pre-wedding Scottish custom in which a bride or groom are “tarred and feathered” and paraded through the streets in the back of a flatbed truck, before being tied up and publicly humiliated (usually far from sober). In Summer, people banging the sides of a flatbed truck is a very common sound in Kirkwall.

Sikkersnapper‘s version of the ballad is currently available to listen to on Bandcamp. Spotify, Apple Music, etc. will follow on the 1st of September.