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Share na Veg: Over 45 years of Manx music

Thu, 01 Apr 2021

‘Share na Veg’ has been an important centre of traditional music in the Isle of Man for over 45 years, and a new short film about the young Ramsey music group has just been released by Culture Vannin.

Created in the mid 1970s by Albert Road School teacher Mike Boulton RBV, the Manx folk group known as Share na Veg (Manx for ‘better than nothing’!) was originally called Mooinjer Veggey (little people). Over the past four decades, hundreds of students have played with the school group, and stemming from Mike’s enthusiasm, and encouragement of Manx music and the language, bands such as Mactullagh Vannin, Bee er dty Hwoaie and Paitchyn Vannin have since emerged. The interest he sparked has also remained with many of his former pupils who have gone on to assist with Share na Veg or lead their own school groups, and Mike’s contribution to Manx culture was acknowledged in 1996 when he was awarded the prestigious Reih Bleeaney Vanannan. Although Mike retired from teaching in 1998, he has continued to dedicate most of his mornings to visiting Bunscoill Rhumsaa to teach new generations of young people Manx music.

This mini documentary has fly on the wall scenes from a typical daily practice, where dozens of whistle players and harpists gather to play under the patient guidance of Mike. As a Manx music group open to anyone at Bunscoill Rhumsaa, the group has inspired decades of young people in the North to fall in love with music and their own cultural heritage of the Isle of Man. Mike has always been a keen supporter of the Guild and Manx Folk Awards, and Share na Veg perform for festivals and community events all over the Island. It is also partly due to Mike and his students that the Isle of Man currently enjoys a vibrant harp revolution, as evidenced by the likes of award-winning musician Mera Royle who discovered the harp whilst playing in Share na Veg and later excelled under the tuition of professional musician Rachel Hair who teaches young harpists for Culture Vannin. 

This film was created with thanks to the staff and pupils of Bunscoill Rhumsaa; and Mera Royle for use of her 'Graih Foalsey' from her Ballaglass Set. Viewers will enjoy listening to Mike reflect on the past 45 years spent leading the group and they will experience a glimpse of the friendly “come and try” environment in which Share na Veg has thrived for so long.

Watch the film HERE