Do did you ever visit Scarborough? No, not that one in Ontario. The Scarborough that Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel sang about on their 1966 album, “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme” in the song Scarborough Fair. You’re likely humming it already: “Remember me to one who lives there…”
In the past few months, music has spoken to me in a decidedly different voice. The more I paid attention to pieces I thought I knew, the more I realised that what was pulling inside the was the emerging voice of resilience, those strengths we draw on when confronted by forces that can harm or diminish us.
Simon and Garfunkel learned Scarborough Fair from a British folk singer, who learned it as a child from someone else, someone who likely learned it from the music historian Cecil Sharp (1859-1924), who reclaimed hundreds of traditional folk songs on both sides of the Atlantic. The oral tradition is captured, preserved, recorded, and adapted – as Simon and Garfunkel also added their particular “spin” onto an old folk song.