Bonnie Kellswater

“Bonnie Kellswater” è un brano tradizionale irlandese (Irlanda del Nord) reso popolare dai Planxty (già in repertorio degli Irish Rovers nel loro album The Unicorn del 1967) . Raccolto sul campo da Sam Henry dalla voce di Jim Carmichael di Ballymena (contea di Antrim)  che lo riporta nel suo monumentale “The Song of the People” (con note di John Moulden 1979 già pubblicate sul  “Northern Constitution” tra il 1923 e il 1939) al numero H695.

[“Bonnie Kellswater” is a traditional Irish song (Northern Ireland) popularized by Planxty (formerly in Irish Rovers’ repertoire in their 1967 album The Unicorn) dedicated to the Kells Water River that runs through Antrim County. Collected on the field by Sam Henry (from Jim Carmichael of Ballymena) in his monumental “The Song of the People” (with notes by John Moulden 1979 already published in the “Northern Constitution” between 1923 and 1939) to the number H695 .]

Del brano si conoscono vari testi sempre legati alla stessa melodia con versioni sia al maschile che al femminile, nelle versioni maschili si tratta di un sereno canto d’amore dedicato a Marta (Molly) con immagini dolci e bucoliche dell’amato Kellswater; in quelle al femminile invece l’amore è contrastato dal padre della ragazza che riesce a separare i due innamorati: il canto assume così l’andamento di un farewell, triste e malinconico (emigration song), è la donna ad attendere il caro Willy nella vecchia Irlanda con la certezza nel cuore che lui ritornerà a prenderla.

“We know several texts always related to the same melody with both male and female versions, in the male versions it is a serene love song dedicated to Martha (Molly), with sweet and bucolic images; in women version instead the love is contrasted by the girl’s father who manages to separate the two lovers: the song is like a Farewell, sad and melancholy (emigration song), it is the woman to wait for her dear Willy in old Ireland with the certainty in her heart that he will return and take her.”

LA MELODIA (TUNE)
Ascoltiamola in un arrangiamento per chitarre del gruppo Cord’Accord

Planxty in The Woman I Loved So Well 1980
Loreena McKennitt in “Elemental” canta la versione dei Planxty (Planxty version)


I
Here’s a health to you, bonny Kellswater (1)
Where you’ll get all the pleasures of life,
Where you’ll get all the fishing and fowling,
And a bonny wee lass for your wife.
II
Oh, it’s down where yon waters run muddy,
I’m afraid they will never run clear.
And it’s when I dig in for to study,
My mind is on them that’s not here.
III
It’s this one and that one they court him,
but if anyone gets him but me,
It’s early and late I will curse them
That parted lovely Willie from me.
IV
Oh, a father he calls on his daughter,
“Two choices I’ll give unto thee.
Would you rather see Willie’s ship a-sailing,
Or see him hung like a dog from yon tree?”
V
“Oh, Father, dear Father, I love him.
I can no longer hide it from thee.
Through an acre of fire I would travel
Alone with lovely Willie to be.”
VI
Oh, hard was the heart that confined her,
She took from her her heart’s delight.
May the chains of old Ireland bind around them,
And soft be their pillows at night.
VII
“Oh, yonder’s a ship on the ocean
And she does not know which way to steer.
From the east to the west she’s a-going.
She reminds me of the charms of my dear.
VIII
Oh, it’s yonder my Willie will be coming,
He said he’d be here in the spring,
And it’s down by yon green shades I’ll meet him,
And among yon wild roses we’ll sing.
IX
For a gold ring he placed on my finger,
Saying “Love, bear this in your mind,
If ever I sail from Old Ireland,
You’ll mind I’ll not leave you behind.”
Traduzione italiana Cattia Salto
I
Salute a te, bel Kellswater
dove si trovano tutti i piaceri della vita
dove si trova da pescare e cacciare in abbondanza/ e una bella ragazza per moglie.
II
Oh è laggiù dove corre quel fiume dalla acque fangose,/ temo che non scorreranno mai limpide,/e quando mi metto sotto a studiare
la mia mente è con loro tranne che qui.
III
Questa e quella lo corteggiano
ma nessun’altra lo avrà tranne me,
presto o tardi  maledirò
coloro che hanno separato il bel Willy da me
IV
Un padre chiama la figlia
“Ti darò due scelte./ Preferiresti vedere salpare il tuo Willy su una nave/o vederlo impiccato ad un albero come un cane ?”
V
“Padre, caro padre io lo amo.
Non posso nascondertelo più a lungo.
In mezzo a un acro di fuoco andrei pur di stare da sola con il mio bel Willy”
VI
Oh duro era il cuore che la confinava in casa
che le toglieva la gioia del cuore.
Possano le catene della vecchia Irlanda legarsi attorno a loro
e i cuscini di notte essere soffici.
VII
“C’è una nave sull’oceano
e non sa che rotta prendere
da oriente a occidente è in partenza,
mi ricorda il fascino del mio amore.
VIII
Da laggiù il mio Willy ritornerà
diceva che sarebbe stato qui per la primavera
e tra quei verdi boschetti lo incontrerò
e tra quelle roselline selvatiche canteremo
IX
Perchè lui mi mise l’anello al dito
dicendo “Amore, tieni questo in mente
anche se parto dalla vecchia Irlanda
ricordati che non ti lascio indietro”

NOTE
1) nome di un fiume ma anche di un piccolo villaggio nella contea di Antrim vicino a Kells.John Moulden scrive “Il Kellswater, un affluente del fiume Main, diventa il fiume Glenwhinny sul versante ovest della collina di Agnews che domina Larne, e poi scorre verso ovest attraverso Kells, prendendo il suo nome mentre avanza, e si unisce al Main a circa cinque miglia a nord di Randalstown . ”
[a river and a hamlet nearby Kells in Co. Antrim. John Moulden writes “The Kellswater, a tributary of the River Main, rises as the Glenwhinny river on the west slope of Agnews hill which overlooks Larne, and then flows westward through Kells, collecting its name as it goes, and joins the Main about five miles north of Randalstown. ]

Irish Rovers in The Unicorn 1967


I
Here’s a health to you, bonnie Kellswater
For its there you’ll find the pleasures of life
And its there you’ll find a fishing and farming
And a bonnie wee girl for your wife
II (1)
On the hills and the glens and the valleys
Grows the softest of women so fine
And the flowers are all dripping with honey
There lives Martha, a true love of mine
III
Bonnie Martha, you’re the first girl I courted
You’re the one put my heart in a snare
And if ever I should lose you to another
I will leave my Kellswater so fair
IV
For this one and that one may court her
But no other can take her from me
For I love her as I love my Kellswater
Like the primrose is loved by the bee
Traduzione italiana Cattia Salto
I
Salute a te,
bel Kellswater
perchè è qui che i trovano tutti i piaceri della vita
dove si trova da pescare e
da coltivare
e una bella ragazza per moglie.
II
Sui colli, le forre e le valli
cresce la più dolce delle donne, così bella
e i fiori stillano miele
dove vive Marta,
il mio vero amore
III
Bella Marta sei la prima ragazza per cui spasimo
colei che mi ha preso al laccio,
e se mai dovessi perderti per un altro
lascerò il mio Kellswater così bello.
IV
Perchè questo e quello possono farle la corte
ma nessuno me la può togliere
perchè io l’amo come amo il mio Kellswater, come la primula è amata dall’ape

NOTE
1) verso alternativo [or]
The hills and the dales and low valleys,
are all covered with linen so fine,
and the trees are a drooping sweet honey,
and the rocks are all grown over with thyme.

LINK
https://www.revolvy.com/page/Kells-Water
https://www.itma.ie/digital-library/sound/bonny_kells_waters_dan_mcgonigle

A blacksmith courted me

Leggi in italianoblacksmiths-forge-1859-grangerIn folk songs the blacksmith is always considered a synonym of virility, a very gifted lover with a portentose force.
“A blacksmith courted me” also simply titled “The Blacksmith”, comes from the English folk tradition and is reported in many collections of the early twentieth century; a piece that is not properly found in Irish tradition but has been interpreted by various Celtic artists. It was Ralph Vaughan Williams who picked it up in the field in 1909 from Mrs. Ellen Powell of Westhope near Weobley, Herefordshire.

The Anvil Priest is a figure particularly widespread in Scotland, he declare the couple husband and wife with a hammer blow on the anvil !
http://ontanomagico.altervista.org/matrimonio-celtico-storia.html

THE BLACKSMITH

The blacksmith leaves his love in the village (to seek his fortune abroad), writes a love letter (but false) and returns married to another.

Planxty live 1979:  version and arrangement become “standard”, the instrumental part written by Andy Irvine has then further evolved into a jig that has taken on life in dance sessions.

Eddi Reader  from”Mirmama” 1991 (world music)

Loreena McKennitt from Elemental 1985

Lisa Knapp from “Wild and Undaunted” 2007

David Gibb & Elly Lucas from “Old Chairs to Mend” 2012

Sheila Chandra ( I, III, IV, V, I)

FromThe Penguin Book Of English Folk Songs, “Sung by Mrs. Powell, nr. Weobley, Herefordshire. [Collected by] Ralph Vaughan Williams 1909.”

I
A blacksmith courted me,
nine months and better
he fairly won my heart,
wrote me a letter
with his hammer in his hand (1),
he looked quite clever
and if I was with my love,
I’d live forever
II
But where is my love gone
with his cheeks like roses?
and his good black billycock on
decked round with primroses?
I’m afraid the shining sun
will shine and burn his beauty
and if I was with my love,
I’d do my duty
III
Strange news is come to town,
strange news is carried
strange news flies up and down
that my love is married
I wish them both much joy
though they can’t hear me
and may God reward him well
for the slighting of me(2)
 
IV(3)
“Don’t you remember when
you lay beside me,
and you said you’d marry me
and not deny me”
“If I said I’d marry you,
it was only for to try you
so bring your witness love
and I’ll not deny you”
V
“No, witness have I none
save God almighty
and may he reward you well
for the slighting of me”
Her lips grew pale and wan,
it made her poor heart tremble
to think she loved a one
and he proved deceitful.

NOTES
1) in the letter was to be included a photograph of him at work
2) obviously these are curses
3) the blacksmith continues to deny the evidence!

INSTRUMENTAL VERSION

The song is also played in instrumental version as a jig probably developing the version of Planxty.
“Merry Blacksmith”  is instead  a reel

LINK
http://mainlynorfolk.info/shirley.collins/songs/theblacksmith.htm
l
http://www.joe-offer.com/folkinfo/songs/2.html
http://www.joe-offer.com/folkinfo/forum/39.html
http://www.8notes.com/scores/3547.asp
http://www.pteratunes.org.uk/Music/Music/Lyrics/Blacksmith.htm
l
http://www.pteratunes.org.uk/Music/Music/Lyrics/Blacksmith2.html http://thesession.org/tunes/1526
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=10786 http://www.china2galway.com/song%20words%20Blacksmith.htm