THE EWE WITH THE CROOKED HORN

TITOLI: Ewe Reel, The / Ríl na Fóisce / Ewe Reel / The Ewe / Ewe / The Yew Reel / The Ewe with the Crooked Horn / The Ram with the Crooked Horn / Bob with the One Horn / The Foe Reel / Green Blanket / The Green Blanket / The Red Blanket / Miss Huntly’s / Marquis of Huntley / Go See the Fun / Sweet Roslea and the Sky over it / The Pretty Girl in Danger / My Love Is Far Away / The Kerry Lasses / The Merry Lasses / The Lowlands of Scotland / Peter Street.

La melodia è uno strathspey con un testo in dialetto scozzese dal titolo “The Yowie (ewie) wi the Crookit Horn”, mentre la versione irlandese s’intitola più comunemente “Ewe reel” anche se è suonata come un hornpipe

Deaf Shepherd

Mary MacNamara & Martin Hayes

ASCOLTA qui

“John Glen (1891) thought the earliest printing of the melody was in Robert Ross’s 1780 collection (pg. 16), although Bruce Olson finds the melody (under the title “Crooked Horn Ewe”) in Rutherford’s 24 Country Dances for 1758 (see abc below) and Jack Campin notes it is in the c. 1740 MacFarlane Manuscript in dorian mode under the title “An caora crom.” The title also appears in Henry Robson’s list of popular Northumbrian song and dance tunes which he published c. 1800.

Irish versions appear in reel or hornpipe form (see Ewe with the Crooked Horn [3], but in County Donegal it is popularly played as a highland (see version #5). The title appears in a list of tunes in his repertoire brought by Philip Goodman, the last professional and traditional piper in Farney, Louth, to the Feis Ceoil in Belfast in 1898 (Breathnach, 1997). Carlin (The Gow Collection), 1986; No. 55. Fraser (The Airs and Melodies Peculiar to the Highlands of Scotland and the Isles), 1874; No. 19, pg. 7. Honeyman (Strathspey, Reel and Hornpipe Tutor), 1898; pg. 17. Hunter (Fiddle Music of Scotland), 1988; No. 169. Kerr (Merry Melodies), Vol. 3; No. 187, pg. 22. McGlashan (A Collection of Reels), c. 1786; pg. 31 (appears as “Crooked Horn Ewe”). Stewart-Robertson (The Athole Collection), 1884; pg. 191. Culburnie CUL 113D, Alasdair Fraser & Tony MacManus – “Return to Kintail” (1999). Plant Life PLR017, “The Tannahill Weavers” (1979)”. (tratto da qui)

THE EWE WITH THE CROOKED HORN

Il testo è stato attribuito al reverendo John Skinner di Longside (1721-1807) che sicuramente si è basato su una canzone più antica. Il soggetto è apparentemente una pecora rubata, ma in realtà  si riferisce al trafugamento di un “pot still“, l’alambicco che assomiglia ad una specie di tinozza portatile, con cui si produce il whisky illegale (=illicit still).

He title comes an old song, in both Scots and Gaelic. Perhaps the most famous adaptation of the lyrics is by Reverend John Skinner, set to the tune of “Carron’s Reel,” although some find his set wanting. Fraser further explains: “This set of the Ewe with the Crooked Horn appears to be a standard, formed a century ago, by three neighboring gentlemen in Nairnshire, eminent performers,–Mr. Rose of Kilravock, Mr. Campbell of Budyet, and Mr. Sutherland of Kinsteary. It may not be generally known, that the Ewe thus celebrated is no other than the ‘whisky still, with its crooked horn (distilling tube),’ which gave more milk than all the sheep in the country.” (tratto da qui)

ASCOLTA Gordeanna McCulloch in Sheath & Knife 1997

Anche i Tannahill Weavers hanno registrato la loro versione (testo qui) (ascoltabile su Spotify) con un testo però abbastanza simile: il testo riportato è invece quello cantato da Gordeanna McCulloch, che segue lo scritto di John Skinner (accorciandolo), tranne per una strofa di cui non riesco a trovare una corrispondenza. -vedi testo originale qui
I
Were I but able tae rehearse
my ewie’s praise in proper verse,
I’d sound it oot as loud and fierce
as ever piper’s drone could blaw.
CHORUS
Ewie wi’ the crookit horn,
and a’ that kent her might hae sworn,
Sic a ewie ne’er was born,
here aboots nor far awa’.
II
A better or a thriftier beast,
Nae honest man could weel hae wist,
For, silly thing, she never mist
To hae ilk’ year a lamb or twa’
III
The first she had I gae to Jock,
To be to him a kind o’ stock
And now the laddie has a flock
O’ mair nor thirty head ava’
IV(????)
V
But last week, for a’ my keeping,
(Wha can speak it without greeting ?)
A villain cam when I was sleeping,
Sta’ my ewie, horn and a’
VI
I never met wi’ sic a turn
As this sin’ ever I was born,
My Ewie, wi’ the crookit horn,
Silly Ewie, stown awa’
VII
O! a’ ye bards benorth Kinghorn(1),
Call your muses up and mourn,
Our Ewie wi’ the crookit horn
Stown frae ‘s, and fell’d and a’!

TRADUZIONE INGLESE
I
Were I but able to rehearse
my ewe’s praise in proper verse,
I’d sound it out as loud and fierce
as ever piper’s drone could blow.
CHORUS
Ewe with the crooked horn,
and all that knew her might have sworn,
Such a ewe never was born,
hereabouts nor far away.
II
A better or a thriftier beast,
Not honest man could well have wait,
For, silly thing, she never mist
To have each year a lamb or two
III
The first she had I go to Jock,
To be to him a kind of stock
And now the boy has a flock
O’ more nor thirty head away
IV(????)
V
But last week, for all my keeping,
(Who can speak it without weeping ?)
A villain came when I was sleeping,
Stole my ewe, horn and all
VI
I never met with such a turn
As this since ever I was born,
My Ewe, with the crooked horn,
Silly Ewe, stolen away
VII
O! all you bards to the north of Kinghorn,
Call your muses up and mourn,
Our Ewe with the crooked horn
Stolen from us, and felled and all!
TRADUZIONE ITALIANO DI CATTIA SALTO
I
Se fossi capace di recitare
le lodi della mia pecora con versi appropriati
vorrei pronunciarle forte e fiero
come mai bordone di piper potrebbe risuonare
CORO
La pecora con il corno ricurvo
e tutti coloro che la conoscevano avrebbero potuto giurare che una pecora così non sia ancora nata
in lungo e in largo
II
Una migliore o più frugale bestia
nessun brav’uomo vedeva l’ora di avere
perchè, sciocchina, non ha mai fatto mistero
di avere ogni anno un agnello o due
III
Il primo che ebbe lo diedi a Jack
perchè si facesse una scorta
e ora il ragazzo ha un gregge
di più di trenta capi
IV
V
Ma la settimana scorsa che ero di guardia
(chi potrebbe parlarne senza rimpianti)
un cattivo venne quando stavo dormendo
e rubò la mia pecora con tutto il corno.
VI
Non mi è mai capitato un cambiamento
come questo da quando sono nato
la mia pecora con il corno ricurvo
sciocca pecora, rubata
VII
Voi tutti bardi a nord di Kinghorn(1)
chiamate le vostre muse e piangete
la nostra pecora con il corno  ricurvo
che ci hanno rubato e abbattuto.

NOTE
1) Kinghorn, è una città del Fife, Scozia, si trova 3 km a sud di Kirkcaldy, sulla sponda nord del Firth of Forth di fronte a Edimburgo.

Nella versione del reverendo (trascritta nello Scots Musical Museum vol III) la “ewie” è decisamente solo una pecora, ma le versioni più antiche come quelle preservate nelle comunità dei Travellers contengono strofe ben più esplicite (dalla voce di Lucy Stewart vedi dalla voce di Jeannie Robertson vedi). Questa versione invece sempre presa dall’archivio di Tobar an Dualchais  inserisce il ritornello in gaelico già visto per “Tha bainn’aig na caoirich uile (all the ewes have milk)” qui

The Highland Whisky Still, 1826-9 Sir Edwin Henry Landseer

The nicht is cauld the hoolets screamin
Thirsty men and thirsty weemin
There’s thirsty men and thirsty weemin
Since my ewie’s stown awa

FONTI
http://www.gaolnaofa.org/library/music/tha-bainn-aig-na-caoraich-uile/
http://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/gd/fullrecord/75864/1;jsessionid=4F413B0C523F525C48BDA06EFAAA3898
http://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/en/fullrecord/76690/9;jsessionid=329AE05551069D3B82A96C4304979E41
http://www.ramshornstudio.com/crookit_horn.htm
https://thesession.org/tunes/5610
https://thesession.org/tunes/3438
http://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/en/fullrecord/39053/
http://www.tannahillweavers.com/lyrics/1226lyr4.htm
http://tunearch.org/wiki/Annotation:Ewie_Wi’_the_Crooked_Horn_(1)_(The)
http://svenax.net/files/sheetmusic/strathspeys/ewe_with_the_crooked_horn.pdf
https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Ewie_wi%27_the_Crookit_Horn
http://www.spiersfamilygroup.co.uk/Yowie%20wi%20the%20crookit%20horn.pdf
http://www.fresnostate.edu/folklore/ballads/K271.html
http://www.bagpipe-tutorials.com/crooked-horn.html
http://www.bdot-inc.com/crooked-horn.pdf
http://www.springthyme.co.uk/ah03/ah03_16.htm

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