Archivi categoria: MUSICA CELTICA/ Celtic music

Skellig

Con “Skellig”(dal cd The Book of Secrets) Loreena McKennitt ripercorre gli ultimi istanti di vita di un monaco irlandese vissuto nel Medioevo, ritraendolo accanto al suo fedele discepolo: erano i tempi del primo monachesimo quando uomini asceti e mistici si ritiravano dal mondo per vivere in luoghi isolati e impervi. Così Loreena s’interroga “Qual’è il ruolo che l’isolamento gioca nell’incoraggiare qualcuno a raggiungere l’essenza divina?”

[With “Skellig” (from The Book of Secrets) Loreena McKennitt traces the last moments of life of an Irish monk lived in the Middle Ages, portraying him next to his faithful disciple: it was the time of the first monasticism when men ascetics and mystics withdrew from the world to live in isolated and inaccessible places. So Loreena wonders “What is the part that plays in encouraging some to reach closer to the essence of God?”]

Nel silenzio dei loro eremi questi monaci compilavano codici e copiavano manoscritti tutto per amore del sapere illuminato dalla parola di Dio, quasi che fosse Dio a sussurrare al loro orecchio.

[In the silence of their hermitages, these monks compiled codes and copied manuscripts all for the sake of knowledge enlightened by the word of God, as if God were whispering in their ear.]


I
O light the candle, John
The daylight has almost gone
The birds have sung their last
The bells call all to mass
Sit here by my side
For the night is very long
There’s something I must tell
Before I pass along
II (1)
I joined the brotherhood
My books were all to me
I scribed the words of God
And much of history
Many a year was I
Perched out upon the sea
The waves would wash my tears,
The wind, my memory
III
I’d hear the ocean breathe
Exhale upon the shore
I knew the tempest’s blood
Its wrath I would endure
And so the years went by
Within my rocky cell (2)
With only a mouse or bird
My friend; I loved them well
IV
And so it came to pass
I’d come here to Romani (3)
And many a year it took
Till I arrived here with thee
On dusty roads I walked
And over mountains high
Through rivers running deep
Beneath the endless sky
V(4)
Beneath these jasmine flowers
Amidst these cypress trees
I give you now my books
And all their mysteries
Now take the hourglass
And turn it on its head
For when the sands are still
‘Tis then you’ll find me dead
Traduzione italiana Cattia Salto
I
Oh accendi la candela, John
La luce del giorno è quasi svanita
Gli uccelli hanno intonato l’ultimo canto/Le campane richiamano tutti alla messa/Siediti qui accanto a me
Perché la notte sarà molto lunga
C’è qualcosa che ti devo dire
Prima di morire.
II
Mi sono unito ai fratelli
Avevo con me i miei libri
Ho scritto le parole di Dio
E tante cose del passato.
Per molti anni sono rimasto
Appollaiato in mezzo al mare
Le onde lavavano le mie lacrime
(e) Il vento i miei ricordi
III
Ho sentito il respiro dell’oceano
Evaporare sulla spiaggia
Conoscevo la linfa della tempesta
Sopportavo la sua ira
E così gli anni passavano
Nel mio eremo-scoglio (2)
Con soltanto un topo o un uccello
Come amico; Tanto li ho amati.
IV
E poi tutto finì
sono venuto qui sulla strada per Roma (3)/e ci ho messo più di un anno
per arrivare qui da te
Su strade polverose ho camminato
E su alte montagne
Attraverso le gole dove scorrono i fiumi/ Sotto al cielo infinito
V
Sotto a questo pergolato di gelsomino/Tra questi cipressi
Io ti consegno i miei libri
E tutti i loro misteri
Ora prendi la clessidra
E rigirala sottosopra
Perchè quando la sabbia si fermerà
Allora mi troverai morto

NOTE
1) Nella versione Live in Paris and Toronto (1999), la strofa è modificata
(from a live version appears on Live in Paris and Toronto)
I joined the brotherhood
It’s books were all to me
I scribed the words of God
And much of history
‘Twas not my place to lead
This life of solitude
Until the day there came
A boat of the brotherhood
(traduzione italiano:
Mi sono unito ai fratelli
e i loro libri erano tutti a mia disposizione
ho scritto le parole di Dio
e tante cose del passato.
Non era il mio posto dove condurre
questa vita di solitudine
fino al giorno in cui arrivò
una barca dei monaci)
2) come dal titolo Skellig Michael (la roccia di Michele) è un’isoletta rocciosa nell’Oceano Atlantico a una ventina di kilometri dalla coste del Kerry (Irlanda): soprannominata l’Irish Machu Picchu centro di vita monastica dal VII al XIII secolo, il monastero che si trova in cima alla roccia appollaiato a pareti quasi verticali è diventato patrimonio mondiale dell’UNESCO.
[Skellig Michael (the rock of Michael) is a rocky island in the Atlantic Ocean about twenty kilometers from the coast of Kerry (Ireland): nicknamed the Irish Machu Picchu center of monastic life from the 7th to the 13th century, the monastery that sits atop the rock perched on almost vertical walls has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.]
3) Così scrive Thomas Cahill nel suo libro How The Irish Saved Civilization : “Cambiarono il loro orizzonte ma non il loro spirito che oltrepassò l’Oceano .” Il primo insediamento in Italia fu il monastero irlandese di Bobbio in Emilia Romagna
[Thomas Cahill writes in his book How The Irish Saved Civilization: “The first settlement in Italy was the Irish monastery of Bobbio in Emilia Romagna]
Romani (Bi’r ar Rummanah) è una località sulla costa mediterranea della penisola del Sinai, oppure è un comune della Romania,  ma quando Loreena scrive la canzone (o inizia a meditare sulla sua composizione) si trova in viaggio in Italia, prima in Toscana e poi in visita al monastero irlandese di Bobbio. Ho preferito così tradurre Romani più liberamente.
[Romans (Bi’r ar Rummanah) is a town on the Mediterranean coast of the Sinai peninsula, or is a town in Romania, but when Loreena writes the song (or begins to meditate on its composition) she is traveling to Italy, first in Tuscany and then on a visit to the Irish monastery of Bobbio.]
4) Nella versione Live in Paris and Toronto (1999), la strofa è modificata
(from a live version appears on Live in Paris and Toronto)
Now beneath these jasmine flowers
Amidst these cypress trees
I give you now my books
And all their mysteries
Harken, John, my word
Let not these keys be lost
The secrets lie within
The writers of the past
(traduzione italiano:
Sotto a questo pergolato di gelsomino
tra questi cipressi
io ti consegno i miei libri
e tutti i loro misteri.
Ascolta bene John le mie parole
non lasciare che vadano perdute queste chiavi,
i segreti che conservano
gli scrittori del passato)

LINK
https://www.adventurous-travels.com/posts/how-to-get-to-skellig-islands
https://www.turistadimestiere.com/2013/11/skellig-michael-il-luogo-piu-inaccessibile-dirlanda.html
https://josvg.home.xs4all.nl/cits/lm/lorecd83.html

Never-ending Road (Amhrán Duit)

Ultima traccia del cd “An Ancient Muse” registrato da Loreena McKennitt nel 2006 “Never-ending Road (Amhrán Duit)” è apparentemente un lament in memoria del fidanzato deceduto nell’estate del  1998, in realtà è una riflessione spirituale sulla scia del cd “The Mask and the Mirror”: l’amore mistico che unisce l’anima a Dio.

[Last track from the cd “An Ancient Muse” recorded by Loreena McKennitt in 2006 “Never-ending Road (Amhrán Duit)” is apparently a lament in memory of her deceased boyfriend in the summer of 1998, in reality it is a spiritual reflection on the wake of the cd “The Mask and the Mirror”: the mystical love that unites the soul with God.]

Così scrive l’artista nelle note “L’amore è un tema universale, e in questo cammino senza fine di vita e rinascita, di sicuro è questo il sentimento che deve resistere.” (qui)
Il cammino che non ha fine è quello della vita.

[The artist writes in the notes “The universal theme is one of love, and this is the never-ending road of life and rebirth, surely this is the sentiment that must endure.” (here)
The journey that has no end is that of life.]


I
The road now leads onward
As far as can be
Winding lanes
And hedgerows in threes
By purple mountains
Round every bend
All roads lead to you
There is no journey’s end
Chorus
Here is my heart and I give it to you
Take me with you across this land
These are my dreams, so simple and few/Dreams we hold in the palm of our hands
II
Deep in the winter
Amidst falling snow
High in the air
Where the bells they all toll
And now all around me
I feel you still here
Such is the journey
No mystery to fear
III
The road now leads onward
I know not where
I feel in my heart
That you will be there
Whenever a storm comes
Whatever our fears
The journey goes on
As your love ever nears
Traduzione italiana Cattia Salto
I
La strada adesso corre in avanti
assai lontano
per viottoli tortuosi
e ammassi di siepi (1),
tra montagne violacee (2)
dietro a ogni curva,
tutte le strade portano a te
non c’è fine al viaggio
Coro:
ecco il mio cuore e lo dono a te
prendimi con te (3) su questa terra;
questi sono i miei sogni, così semplici e pochi, sogni che stanno sul palmo della mano
II
Nel mezzo dell’inverno
tra la neve che cade,
nell’alto dei cieli
dove risuonano tutte le campane,
e ora tutto intorno a me
ti sento ancora qui,
è questo il viaggio
nessun mistero da temere
III
La strada adesso corre in avanti
dove non so,
sento nel mio cuore
che tu ci sarai
ogni volta che arriva una tempesta
qualunque siano le nostre paure,
il viaggio continua
così come il tuo amore si avvicina sempre più.

NOTE
1) hedgerows in threes letteralmente “siepi a tre a tre”, il tipico fitto groviglio che borda le strade di campagna
2) non si traduca purple con porpora perchè è piuttosto il colore il viola, un colore intermedio tra il rosso e il blu, ma più vicino al rosso, mentre con violet si identifica un viola più vicino al blu
3) in genere Take me with you si traduce come portami con te, ma nel contesto mi sembra più coerente l’altro significato

Belle Dame sans Merci, by John Keats in music and film

Leggi in italiano

John Melhuish Strudwick

In 1819 the English poet John Keats reworked the figure of the “Queen of Faerie” of Scottish ballads (starting with Tam Lin and True Thomas) in turn writes the ballad “La Belle Dame sans Merci”, giving rise to a theme that has become very popular among the Pre-Raphaelite painters, that of the vamp woman who has however already a consideration in the beliefs of folklore: the
Lennan or leman shee – Shide Leannan (literally fairy child) that is the fairy who seeks love between humans. The fairy, who is both a male and a female being, after having seduced a mortal abandons him to return to his world. The lover is tormented by the love lost until death.
Fairy lovers have a short but intense life. The fairy who takes a human as lover is also the muse of the artist who offers talent in exchange for a devout love, bringing the lover to madness or premature death.
The title was paraphrased from a fifteenth-century poem written by Alain Chartier (in the form of a dialogue between a rejected lover and the disdainful lady) and became the figure of a seductive woman, a dark lady incapable of feelings towards the man the which falls prey to its spell. We are in reverse of the much older theme of “Lady Isabel and the Elf Knight

John William Waterhouse – La Belle Dame sans Merci (1893)

THE SEASONS OF THE HEART

In the ballad there are two seasons, spring and winter: in spring among the meadows in bloom, the knight meets a beautiful lady, a forest creature, daughter of a fairy, who enchants him with a sweet lullaby; the knight, already hopelessly in love, puts her on the saddle of his own horse and lets himself be led docilely in the Cave of the Elves; here he is cradled by the dame, who sighs sadly, and he dreams of princes and diaphanous kings who cry out their slavery to the beautiful lady.
On awakening we are in late autumn or in winter and the knight finds himself prostrate near the shore of a lake, pale and sick, certainly dying or with no other thought than the song of the fairy.
The keys to reading the ballad are many and each perspective increases the disturbing charm of the verses

There are two pictorial images that evoke the two seasons of the heart and ballad, the first – perhaps the most famous painting – is by Sir Frank Dicksee, (dated 1902): spring takes the colors of the English countryside with the inevitable roses in the first plan; the lady has just been hoisted on the fiery steed of the knight and with her right hand firmly holding the reins, with the other hand she leans against the saddle to be able to lean towards the beautiful face of the knight and whisper a spell; the knight, in precarious balance, is totally concentrated on the face of the lady and kidnapped.

caitiffknight
Sir Frank Dicksee La Belle Dame sans merci

The second is by Henry Meynell Rheam (painted in 1901) all in the tones of autumn, which recreates a desolate landscape wrapped in the mist, as if it were a barrier that holds the knight prostrate on the ground; while he dreams of pale and evanescent warriors (blue is a typical color to evoke the images of dreams) that warn him, the lady leaves the cave perhaps in search of other lovers.

Curiously, the armors of the two knights are very similar, but both are not really medieval and more suitable for being shown off in tournaments that on the battlefields. Elaborate and finely decorated models date back to the end of the fifteenth century.

Henry Meynell Rheam La Belle Dame sans merci

BELLE DAME SANS MERCI: a “live action short” by Hidetoshi Oneda

The ballad could not fail to inspire even today’s artists, here is a cinematic story a “live action short” directed by the Japanese Hidetoshi Oneda. The short begins with giving body to the imaginary interlocutor who asks the knight “O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms …” so we find ourselves in 1819 on an island after the shipwreck of a ship and we witness the meeting between the castaway and an old decrepit kept alive by regret ..

THE PLOT (from here) 1819. The Navigator and the Doctor survive a shipwreck only to find themselves lost in a strange forest. The Navigator is challenged by the gravely ill Doctor into pursuing his true passion – art. While he protests, the ailing Doctor dies. Later, the Navigator is beside a lake, where he finds an Old Knight who tells him his story: once, he encountered a mysterious Lady, and fell in love with her. But horrified by her true form – an immortal spirit and the ghosts of her mortal lovers – the Young Knight begged for release. Awoken and alone, he realized his failure. Thus he has waited, kept alive for centuries by his regret. The Navigator considers his own crossroads. What will he be when he returns to the world?

La Belle Dame Sans Merci by Hidetoshi Oneda – 2005

BELLE DAME SANS MERCI IN MUSIC

The first to play the ballad was Charlse Villiers Stanford in the nineteenth century with a very dramatic arrangement for piano but a bit dated today, although popular in his day.
The ballad was put into music by different artists in the 21st century.

Susan Craig Winsberg from La Belle Dame 2008

Jesse Ferguson

Giordano Dall’Armellina from “Old Time Ballads From The British Isles” 2007

Penda’s Fen (Richard Dwyer)

Loreena McKennitt from “Lost Souls” 2018

POETIC READING
 Ben Whishaw

I
O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
Alone and palely loitering?
The sedge is wither’d from the lake(1),
And no birds sing.
II
O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
So haggard and so woe-begone?
The squirrel’s granary is full,
And the harvest ‘s done.
III
I see a lily(2) on thy brow thy
With anguish moist and fever dew;
And on thy cheeks a fading rose
Fast withereth too.’
IV
I met a lady in the meads,
Full beautiful — a faery’s child,
Her hair was long, her foot was light,
And her eyes were wild(3).
V
I made a garland for her head,
And bracelets too, and fragrant zone;
She look’d at me as she did love,
And made sweet moan.
VI
I set her on my pacing steed
And nothing else saw all day long,
For sideways would she lean, and sing
A faery’s song(4).
VII
She found me roots of relish sweet
And honey wild and manna(5) dew,
And sure in language strange she said,
“I love thee true (6)
VIII
She took me to her elfin grot(7),
And there she wept and sigh’d fill sore(8);
And there I shut her wild, wild eyes
With kisses four.
IX
And there she lullèd me asleep,
And there I dream’d — Ah! woe betide!
The latest dream I ever dream’d
On the cold hill’s side.
X
I saw pale kings and princes too,
Pale warriors, death-pale were they all;
They cried – “La Belle Dame Sans Merci”
Hath thee in thrall!”
XI
I saw their starved lips in the gloam
With horrid warning gapèd wide,
And I awoke and found me here,
On the cold hill’s side.
XII
And this is why I sojourn here
Alone and palely loitering,
Though the sedge is wither’d from the lake,
And no birds sing.’

NOTES
1) not by chance the landscape is lacustrine, the waters of the lake are beautiful but treacherous, but it is a desolate landscape and more like the swamp
2) the lily is a symbol of death. The knight’s brow of a deadly pallor is bathed in the sweat of fever and the color of his face is as dull as a dried rose. The symptoms are those of the consumption: the always mild fever does not show signs of diminution, turns on two “roses” on the cheeks of the sick. It is also said that Keats was a toxic addict to the use of nightshade that in the analysis of Giampaolo Sasso (The secret of Keats: The ghost of the “Belle Dame sans Merci”) is represented in the Lady Without Mercy
3) the whole description of the danger of the lady is concentrated in the eyes, they are as wild but also crazy. The rider ignores the repeated signs of danger: not only the eyes but also the strange language and the food (honey wild)
4) the elven song leads the knight to slavery
5) the manna is a white and sweet substance. It is well known that those who eat the food of fairies are condemned to remain in the Other World
6) the fairy is expressed in a language incomprehensible to the knight and then in reality could have said anything but “I love you”; yet the language of the body is unequivocal, at least as far as sexual desire is concerned
7) the elf cave is the Celtic otherworldly (see more)
8) why the fairy is sorry? Would not want to annihilate the knight but can not do otherwise? Does she know that a man’s love is not eternal and that sooner or later his knight will leave her with a breaking heart? Is love inevitably destructive?

LA BELLA DAMA SENZA PIETA’

To the disquieting fascination of the ballad could not escape Angelo Branduardi the Italian Bard, the final part of the melody of each stanza takes the traditional English song “Once I had a sweetheart.”

Angelo Branduardi from La Pulce d’acqua 1977


Guarda com’è pallido
il volto che hai,
sembra tu sia fuggito dall’aldilà…
Vedo nei tuoi occhi
profondo terrore,
che bianche e gelide dita tu hai…
Guarda come stan ferme
le acque del lago
nemmeno un uccello che osi cantare…
“è stato in mezzo ai prati
che io la incontrai
e come se mi amasse lei mi guardò”.
Guarda come l’angoscia
ti arde le labbra,
sembra tu sia fuggito dall’aldilà…
“E`stato in mezzo ai prati
che io la incontrai…”
che bianche e gelide dita tu hai…

“Quando al mio fianco
lei poi si appoggiò
io l’anima le diedi ed il tempo scordai.
Quando al mio fianco
lei poi si appoggiò…”.
Che bianche e gelide dita tu hai…”
Al limite del monte
mi addormentai
fu l’ultimo mio sogno
che io allora sognai;
erano in mille e mille di più…”
Che bianche e gelide dita tu hai…”
Erano in mille
e mille di più,
con pallide labbra dicevano a me:
– Quella che anche a te
la vita rubò, è lei,
la bella dama senza pietà”.

BELLE DAME SANS MERCI: GERMAN VERSION

Faun from “Buch Der Balladen” 2009.


“Was ist dein Schmerz, du armer Mann,
so bleich zu sein und so gering,
wo im verdorrten Schilf am See
kein Vogel singt?”
“Ich traf ein’ edle Frau am Rhein,
die war so so schön – ein feenhaft Bild,
ihr Haar war lang, ihr Gang war leicht,
und ihr Blick wild.Ich hob sie auf mein weißes Ross
und was ich sah, das war nur sie,
die mir zur Seit’ sich lehnt und sang
ein Feenlied.Sie führt mich in ihr Grottenhaus,
dort weinte sie und klagte sehr;
drum schloss ich ihr wild-wildes Auf’
mit Küssen vier.
Da hat sie mich in Schlaf gewiegt,
da träumte ich – die Nacht voll Leid!-,
und Schatten folgen mir seitdem
zu jeder Zeit.Sah König bleich und Königskind
todbleiche Ritter, Mann an Mann;
die schrien: “La Belle Dame Sans Merci
hält dich in Bann!”Drum muss ich hier sein und allein
und wandeln bleich und so gering,
wo im verdorrten Schilf am See
kein Vogel singt.”
English translation (from here)
“What ails you, my poor man,
that makes you pale and humbled so,
among the withered seashore reeds
where the song of no bird is heard (1)?”
“I met a noble lady on the Rhine,
so very fair was she – a fairy vision,
her hair was long, her gait was light,
and wild her stare.I lifted her on my white steed
and nothing but her could I see,
as she leant by my side and sang
a song of the fairies.She led me to her cave house
where she cried and wailed much;
so I closed her wild deer eyes (2)
with four kisses of mine.
She lulled me to sleep then,
and I dreamt a nightlong song!
and shadows follow me since
be it day or night (3).I saw a pale king and his son
knights pale as death, face to face;
who cried out: “The fair lady without mercy
has you in her spell!”Thus shall I remain here alone
to wander, pale and humbled so,
among the withered seashore reeds
where the song of no bird is heard”


NOTES
1) lit “(where) no bird sings”
2) I assume it’s “Aug(en)” instead of “Auf'”
3) the original says “all the time” but I opted for (hopefully) more colorful English

LINK
http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/english/melani/cs6/belle.html http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/k/keats/john/la-belle-dame-sans-merci/
http://noirinrosa.wordpress.com/tag/la-belle-dame-sans-merci/ http://zerkalomitomania.blogspot.it/search/label/Belle%20Dame%20sans%20Merci
http://www.celophaine.com/lbdsm/lbdsm_top.html
http://www.craigrecords.com/recordings/la-belle-dame/

Loreena McKennitt

Leggi in italiano

Loreena McKennitt (Morden, 1957) has often been called a goddess of Harmony for her beautifull voice (lyrical singing with the Celtic technique of the “old style” Sean-nós) combined with the charming amber-haired figure.
A clever multi-instrumentalist (piano, Celtic harp, dulcimer, accordion) and composer, as well as a tenacious supporter of her musical project defined by herself as “eclectic Celtism“.
Her activity as a musician began in the corners of the Canadian streets where she played and sang the traditional Irish music with her harp and she self-produced her CD: Elemental, Parallel Dreams and The visit are essential musical projects, practically filmed live; the breakthrough comes with “The Mask and the Mirror” (1994), a concept album immersed in world music along the path of Santiago that welds the spirituality (and music-prayer) of Islam, Christianity and Judaism.

Elemental 1985

The debut album of the Canadian singer (Irish father and Scottish mother) when she was still playing on the street with her celtic harp and the offer box, it was recorded in a Stratford barn with almost all of the traditional Irish songs.
Blacksmith
She Moved Through the Fair
Stolen Child
The Lark
Carrighfergus 
Kellswater
Banks of Claudy
Come by the Hills
Lullaby

To Drive the Cold Winter Away 1987

The album consists of winter and Christmas songs, recorded in part at Annaghmakerrig, in County Monaghan (Ireland), in the Benedictine Abbey of Glenstal in Limerick (Ireland) and in the Church of Our Lady in Guelph, Ontario, in Canada. Essential and sparse it is centered on the angelic vocalism of the artist, so the author writes in the notese “As a child my most vivid impression of music for the winter season came from songs and carols recorded in churches or great halls, rich with their own unique ambience and tradition. In that spirit, I have ventured into several similar locations that I have come to cherish in my travels.”
In Praise of Christmas 
The Seasons
The king (Hunting the Wren)
Banquet Hall
Snow (poema di Archibald Lampman)
Balulalow
Let Us the Infant Greet
The Wexford Carol
The Stockford Carol
Let all that are to Mirth Inclined

Parallel Dreams 1989

Samain Night
Moon Cradle
Huron ‘Beltane’ Fire Dance
Annachie Gordon
Standing Stones
Dickens’ Dublin (The Palace)
Breaking the Silence
Ancient Pines

The visit 1991

All Souls Night
Bonny Portmore
Between the Shadows
The Lady of Shalott
Greensleeves
Tango to Evora
Courtyard Lullaby
The Old Ways
Cymbeline

The Mask and Mirror 1994

Loreena McKennitt reads the book of Idries Shah “The Sufi” (1964) and composes an album “The Mask and the Mirror” (1994) in which she asks herself about spirituality and religion: “… Who was God? And what is religion, spirituality? What was revealed and what was hidden … what was the mask and what was the mirror?
And she does so by exploring mysticism, the violent, sudden, irruption of God in the soul.

The Mystic’s Dream
The Bonny Swans 
The Dark Night of the Soul
Marrakesh Night Market
Full Circle
Santiago

Cé Hé Mise le Ulaingt? The Two Trees
Prospero’s Speech

A Winter Garden – Five Songs for the Season 1995-2008

1995
Coventry Carol
God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
Good King Wenceslas
Snow (poema di Archibald Lampman)
Seeds of Love

2008
The Holly & The Ivy
Un flambeau, Jeannette, Isabelle
The Seven Rejoices of Mary
Noël Nouvelet!
Breton Carol
Gloucestershire Wassail
Emmanuel
In the Bleak Midwinter 

The Book of Secrets 1997

It is the cd that decrees the worldwide success of Loreena and leads her to face a world tour in spring 1998; in the summer of that year, near the wedding, the fiancé drowns during a boat crossing in Lake Huron, to his memory the artist dedicates the double “Live in Paris and Toronto” (1998)

Prologue
The Mummers’ Dance
Skellig
Marco Polo
The Highwayman
La Serenissima
Night Ride Across The Caucasus
Dante’s Prayer

Seven years of silence followed (with the exception of the collaboration with the Chieftains for the track YOU RAMBLING BOYS OF PLEASURE in Tears of Stone 1999) and of travels for the Mediterranean between 2000 and 2005, in particular Greece. A wanderer who wins the nickname of Irish gypsy

An Ancient Muse 2006

Some of the songs on this album were premiered at the Alhambra in Granada (Spain) on the dates 14, 15 and 16 September 2006 to inaugurate the return to the artist’s stage; of the concerts was released a memorable live album entitled “Nights from the Alhambra”.
The publication of the album An Ancient Muse was followed by a tour (in 2007)
Incantation
The Gates of Istanbul
Caravanserai

The English Ladye and the Knight (poesia di Sir Walter Scott)
Kecharitomene
Penelope’s Song
Sacred Shabbat
Beneath A Phrygian Sky
Never-ending Road (Amhrán Duit)

bonus track
Raglan Road

The Wind That Shakes the Barley 2010

collection of traditional Irish songs rearranged by the artist
As I Roved Out
On a Bright May Morning
Brian Boru’s March
Down by the Sally Gardens
The Star of the County Down
The Wind That Shakes the Barley
The Death of Queen Jane
The Emigration Tunes

The Parting Glass

Lost Souls 2018

Spanish Guitars and Night Plazas
A Hundred Wishes
Ages Past, Ages Hence
The Ballad of the Fox Hunter (poesia di William Butler Yeats)
Manx Ayre (dall’isola di Man)

La Belle Dame Sans Merci (poesia di John Keats )
Sun, Moon and Stars (da Israele)

Breaking of the Sword
Lost Souls

Loreena McKennitt

Read the post in English

Loreena McKennitt (Morden, 1957) è stata spesso definita una dea dell’Armonia per la bellezza della sua voce (il canto lirico declinato con la tecnica celtica del “vecchio stile” – in gaelico Sean-nós ) unita all’affascinante figura dai capelli ambrati.
Un’abile polistrumentista (pianoforte, arpa celtica, dulcimer, fisarmonica) e compositrice, nonchè tenace sostenitrice del suo progetto musicale da lei stessa definito “celtismo eclettico“.
La sua attività di musicista è iniziata negli angoli delle strade canadesi dove suonava e cantava le musiche tradizionali irlandesi con la sua arpa e si autoproduceva i cd (e con la sua etichetta la Quinlan Road ne ha fatta di strada!): Elemental, Parallel Dreams e The visit sono progetti musicali essenziali, ripresi praticamente in diretta; la svolta arriva con  “The Mask and the Mirror” (1994) un concept album tuffato nella world music lungo il cammino di Santiago che salda la spiritualità (e la musica-preghiera) dell’Islam, del Cristianesimo e dell’Ebraismo.

Elemental 1985

L’album d’esordio della cantante canadese (padre irlandese e madre scozzese) quando ancora andava a suonare per strada con la sua arpa e la cassetta delle offerte, fu registrato di getto in un granaio di Stratford con quasi tutte canzoni  della tradizione irlandese.
Blacksmith
She Moved Through the Fair
Stolen Child
The Lark
Carrighfergus 
Kellswater
Banks of Claudy
Come by the Hills
Lullaby

To Drive the Cold Winter Away 1987

L’album è composto da canzoni invernali e natalizie, registrate in parte a Annaghmakerrig, nella Contea di Monaghan (Irlanda), nell’abbazia benedettina di Glenstal a Limerick (Irlanda) e nella chiesa di Nostra Signora a Guelph, nell’Ontario, in Canada. Essenziale e scarno è incentrato sulla vocalità angelica dell’artista, così scrive l’autrice nelle note “As a child my most vivid impression of music for the winter season came from songs and carols recorded in churches or great halls, rich with their own unique ambience and tradition. In that spirit, I have ventured into several similar locations that I have come to cherish in my travels.”
In Praise of Christmas 
The Seasons
The king (Hunting the Wren)
Banquet Hall
Snow (poema di Archibald Lampman)
Balulalow
Let Us the Infant Greet
The Wexford Carol
The Stockford Carol
Let all that are to Mirth Inclined

Parallel Dreams 1989

Samain Night
Moon Cradle
Huron ‘Beltane’ Fire Dance
Annachie Gordon
Standing Stones
Dickens’ Dublin (The Palace)
Breaking the Silence
Ancient Pines

The visit 1991

All Souls Night
Bonny Portmore
Between the Shadows in una bellissima versione live a San Francisco nel Palazzo delle Belle Arti (con diversi solo). Anche in “Troubadours On The Rhine” con la versione trio

The Lady of Shalott
Greensleeves
Tango to Evora
Courtyard Lullaby
The Old Ways
Cymbeline

The Mask and Mirror 1994

Loreena McKennitt  legge il libro di Idries Shah “I Sufi” (1964) e compone un album  “The Mask and the Mirror” (1994) in cui s’interroga sulla spiritualità e la religione: “…Chi era Dio? E che cos’è la religione, la spiritualità? Che cos’è stato rivelato e che cos’è stato nascosto… qual era la maschera e quale lo specchio?
E lo fa esplorando il misticismo, la violenta, improvvisa, irruzione di Dio nell’anima.

The Mystic’s Dream
The Bonny Swans 
The Dark Night of the Soul (poesia del sacerdote spagnolo San Giovanni della Croce, dal trattato “La Notte Oscura”)
Marrakesh Night Market
Full Circle
Santiago

Cé Hé Mise le Ulaingt? The Two Trees
Prospero’s Speech

A Winter Garden – Five Songs for the Season 1995

integrato in e sostituito da A Winter Garden 2008
La cantautrice scrive nel libretto del CD contenente 5 sole tracce: Questa registrazione è il risultato di una collaborazione di qualche giorno, a luglio 1995, tra alcuni dei musicisti con cui lavoro abitualmente ed altri artisti ospiti. Lo scopo principale è stato quello di analizzare il potenziale presente nella nostra chimica musicale. Come veicolo, ho scelto alcune canzoni natalizie ed invernali poco note, insieme ad una lirica tradizionale inglese da me messa in musica nel 1982 (“Seeds of Love”)Questo periodo, vissuto nel clima molto rurale e confortevole dei Real World Studios nel Wiltshire, Inghilterra, è divenuto un delle esperienze di registrazione più piacevoli che io abbia mai avuto. La compagnia degli artisti e il loro talento musicale sono stati elementi magnifici e stimolanti, pertanto il mio ringraziamento speciale va a tutte le persone coinvolte
Coventry Carol
God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
Good King Wenceslas
Snow (poema di Archibald Lampman)
Seeds of Love

integrazione 2008
The Holly & The Ivy
Un flambeau, Jeannette, Isabelle
The Seven Rejoices of Mary
Noël Nouvelet!
Breton Carol
Gloucestershire Wassail
Emmanuel
In the Bleak Midwinter 

The Book of Secrets 1997

Il cd che decreta il successo di Loreena e la porta ad affrontare una tournée mondiale nella primavera del 1998 ; nell’estate di quell’anno, in prossimità delle nozze,  il  fidanzato annega durante una traversata in barca nel lago Huron, alla sua memoria l’artista dedica il doppio “Live in Paris and Toronto” (1998)

Prologue
The Mummers’ Dance
Skellig
Marco Polo
The Highwayman
La Serenissima
Night Ride Across The Caucasus
Dante’s Prayer

Seguono sette anni di silenzio (ad accezione della collaborazione con i Chieftains per la traccia YOU RAMBLING BOYS OF PLEASURE in Tears of Stone 1999)  e di viaggi per il Mediterraneo tra il 2000 e il 2005, in particolare la Grecia.  Un vagabondare che le aggiudica il nomignolo di Irish gypsy

An Ancient Muse 2006

Alcuni brani di quest’album sono stati presentati in anteprima, all‘Alhambra di Granada (Spagna), nelle date 14, 15 e 16 settembre 2006 per inaugurare il ritorno sulla scena dell’artista ; dei concerti è stato rilasciato un memorabile album live dal titolo “Nights from the Alhambra“.
La pubblicazione dell’album An Ancient Muse è stata seguita da una tournée (nel 2007)
Incantation
The Gates of Istanbul
Caravanserai

The English Ladye and the Knight (poesia di Sir Walter Scott)
Kecharitomene
Penelope’s Song
Sacred Shabbat
Beneath A Phrygian Sky
Never-ending Road (Amhrán Duit)

Traccia bonus
Raglan Road

The Wind That Shakes the Barley 2010

raccolta di brani tradizionali irlandesi riarrangiati dall’artista
As I Roved Out
On a Bright May Morning
Brian Boru’s March
Down by the Sally Gardens
The Star of the County Down
The Wind That Shakes the Barley
The Death of Queen Jane
The Emigration Tunes

The Parting Glass

Lost Souls 2018

con i colleghi storici Caroline Lavelle al violoncello, Hugh Marsh al violino, Brian Hughes alla chitarra e Dudley Phillips al basso.
Spanish Guitars and Night Plazas
A Hundred Wishes
Ages Past, Ages Hence
The Ballad of the Fox Hunter (poesia di William Butler Yeats)
Manx Ayre (dall’isola di Man)

La Belle Dame Sans Merci (poesia di John Keats )
Sun, Moon and Stars (da Israele)

Breaking of the Sword
Lost Souls

Dark-Eyed Sailor, a reily ballad

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The song also known as “Fair Phoebe and her Dark-Eyed Sailor” originally from England, and is dated to a good approximation at the end of the nineteenth century. It is classified as a reily ballad or broken token ballad (because of the love pledge exchanged between the two lovers) on the model of a “return song” that was already the most popular in Classical times: in most of these ballads the man returns home after many years of absence at sea (war), and, not recognized by the woman, he puts her loyalty to the test. The girl, as a serious girl, refuses his courting because she has already been promised. The man so reassured, reveals himself to the woman and the two crown their love with marriage.

sailor-returnThe ballad recalls the archetypal figures of Ulysses and Penelope, when Ulysses, returned twenty years after the war (and his vicissitudes in the seas) to his Ithaca in disguise, is not recognized by his wife.

Collected in England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and North America according to A.L. Lloyd all versions have a common matrix in the ballad published on a broadside printed by James Catnach (London 1813-1838) Flanders in “The New Green Mountain Songster” observes”The air to which it is almost universally sung, both in the old-country and American tradition, belongs to another ballad, “The Female Smuggler“.

Steeleye Span from “Hark! The Village Wait” (1970)

Christy Moore from Prosperus 1972

Quilty ( I, II, IV, VI, VII)

Olivia Chaney live The Mark Radcliffe Folk Sessions

I
As I went a walking (roved out ) one evening fair,
it being the summer(time) to take the air/I spied a female (maiden) with a sailor boy/and I stood to listen, I stood to listen/to hear what they might say.
II
He said “Young maiden (fair lady)
now why do you roam
all along by yonder Lee?”
She heaved a sigh and the tears they did roll, / “For my dark eyed sailor,
he ploughs the stormy seas.”
III
“‘Tis seven long years(1) since he left this land,
A ring he took from off his lily-white hand.(2)
One half of the ring is still here with me,
But the other’s rollin’
at the bottom of the sea.”
IV
He said “You can drive him from your mind/for another young man you surely will find.
Love turns a sight and it soon grows cold/ Like a winter’s morning
the hills are white with snow.”
V
She said “I’ll never forsake my dear
Although we’re parted this many a year/ Genteel(3) he was and a rake(4) like you/ To induce a maiden
to slight the jacket blue(5).”
VI
One half of the ring did young William show
She ran distracted in grief and woe
Sayin’ “William, William, I have gold in store(6)/ For my dark-eyed sailor
has proved his honour long”
VII
There is a cottage by yonder Lee,
the couple live there and do agree.
So maids be true when your lover’s at sea,
For a stormy morning
brings on a sunny day.
NOTES
1) Seven is a recurring number in ballads to indicate the duration of a separation. The reference to the number seven is not accidental: it is a magic or symbolic number linked to death or change. If a husband left for the war and did not return within seven years, the wife could remarry.
2) in this kind of ballads often appears an object through which the two lovers are recognized, either a gift exchanged or a ring broken in half as in this case
3) for gentle
4) A “rake” was a charming young lover of women, of songs, dedicated to gambling and alcohol, but also a lifestyle of fashion among the English nobles during the 17th century. And yet it is also a term used in a positive sense
5) wearing the blue jacket of the British sailor’s uniform
6) in other versions”I’ve lands and gold For my dark-eyed sailor so manly, true and bold

LINK
https://terreceltiche.altervista.org/fair-young-maid-garden/
http://www.traditionalmusic.co.uk/maine-lumberjacks/songs-ballads%20-%200208.htm
http://history.wiltshire.gov.uk/community/getfolk.php?id=926 http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=80849 http://www.itma.ie/inishowen/song/dark_eyed_sailor_kate_doherty http://mainlynorfolk.info/peter.bellamy/songs/thedarkeyedsailor.html http://www.christymoore.com/lyrics/dark-eyed-sailor/
http://www.wtv-zone.com/phyrst/audio/nfld/13/sailor.htm http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=149660 https://www.fresnostate.edu/folklore/ballads/LN35.html

The Coasts of High Barbary

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The George Aloe and the Sweepstake o (The Coasts of) High Barbary is considered both a sea shanty and a ballad (Child ballad # 285) and certainly its original version is very old and probably from the 16th century. So ‘in the seventeenth-century comedy “The Two Noble Kinsmen” we read: “The George Alow came from the south, From the coast of Barbary-a; And there he met with brave gallants of war, By one, by two, by three-a. Well hail’d, well hail’d, you jolly gallants! And whither now are you bound-a? O let me have your company”

French_ship_under_atack_by_barbary_pirates

BARBARY PIRATES

The Muslim pirates of the African coasts came from what the Europeans called Barbary or Algeria Tunisia, Libya, Morocco (and more precisely the city-states of Algiers, Tunis and Tripoli, but also the ports of Salé and Tetuan).
The most correct definition is barbarian pirates because they attacked only the ships of Christian Europe (also doing raids in the Christian countries of the Atlantic coast and the Mediterranean to get slaves or to get the best redemptions). The term included Arabs, Berbers, Turks as well as European renegades.
In the affair there were also for good measure the Christian corsairs, which carried out the same raids along the coasts of Barbary (mainly the orders of chivalry of the Knights of Malta and the Knights of St. Stephen, but obviously in these cases it was a matter of “crusade” and not piracy !!

Although pirate activities were endemic in the Mediterranean Sea, the period of maximum activity of the barbarian pirates was the first half of the 1600s.

FIRST VERSION: a forebitter

Stan Hugill in his bible “Shanties From The Seven Seas” shows two melodies: one more ancient when the song was a forebitter and a faster one as a capstan chantey.
The oldest version of the ballad tells of two merchant ships The George Aloe, and The Sweepstake with George Aloe who avenges the sinking of the second ship using the same “courtesy” to the crew of the French pirate ship who had thrown into the sea the Sweepstake crew.
Pete Seeger

Joseph Arthur from  Rogue’s Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs, and Chanteys, ANTI- 2006 (biography and records here) rock version

There were two lofty ships
From old England came
Blow high, blow low
And so sail we
One was the Prince of Luther
The other Prince of Wales
All a-cruisin’ down the coast
Of High Barbary
“Aloft there, aloft there”
Our jolly bosun cried
“Look ahead, look astern,
Look to weather an’ a-lee”
“There’s naught upon the stern, sir
There’s naught upon our lee
But there’s a lofty ship to wind’ard
An’ she’s sailin’ fast and free”
“Oh hail her, oh hail her”
Our gallant captain cried
“Are you a man-o-war
Or a privateer?” cried he
“Oh, I’m not a man-o-war
Nor privateer,” said he
“But I am salt sea pirate
All a-looking for me fee”
For Broadside, for broadside
A long time we lay
‘Til at last the Prince of Luther
Shot the pirate’s mast away
“Oh quarter, oh quarter”
Those pirates they did cry
But the quarter that we gave them
Was we sank ‘em in the sea

SECOND VERSION: a sea shanty

The ballad resumed popularity in the years between 1795 and 1815 in conjunction with the attacks of Barbary pirates to American ships.

Tom Kines from “Songs from Shakespeare´s Plays and Songs of His Time”,1960
a version of how it was sung in the Elizabethan era

Quadriga Consort from Ships Ahoy 2013

Assassin’s Creed Black Flag  sea shanty version

The Shanty Crew

“Look ahead, look-astern
Look the weather in the lee!”
Blow high! Blow low!
And so sailed we.

“I see a wreck to windward,
And a lofty ship to lee!
A-sailing down along
The coast of High Barbary”
“O, are you a pirate
Or a man o’ war?” cried we.
“O no! I’m not a pirate
But a man-o-war,” cried he.
“We’ll back up our topsails
And heave vessel to.
For we have got some letters
To be carried home by you”.
For broadside, for broadside
They fought all on the main;
Until at last the frigate
Shot the pirate’s mast away.
“For quarter, for quarter”,
the saucy pirates cried
But the quarter that we showed them
was to sink them in the tide
With cutlass and gun,
O we fought for hours three;
The ship it was their coffin
And their grave it was the sea
But O! ‘Twas a cruel sight,
and grieved us, full sore,
To see them all a drownin’
as they tried to swim to shore

LINK
http://www.contemplator.com/england/barbary.html
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=137331 https://mainlynorfolk.info/peter.bellamy/songs/barbaree.html http://www.ilportaledelsud.org/barbareschi.htm http://www.ilportaledelsud.org/pirati.htm
http://71.174.62.16/Demo/LongerHarvest?Text=ChildRef_285

Corn Rigs are bonnie

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Corn Rigs  (Rigs o’Barley) was written entirely by Robert Burns in 1782 adapting it to an old Scottish dance air entitled “Corn Rigs are bonnie“. It seems to be particularly dear to the poet: it tells of the night of love with a beautiful girl among the sheaves of wheat, a magical full moon night…

The Annie of the song has been identified in Anne Rankie, the youngest daughter of a tenant farmer, John Rankine of Adamhill, of the farm that was a short distance from the Burns in Lochlea. In 1782, in September, the woman married a innkeeper, John Merry of Cumnock, so some doubt that in August she was among the sheaves of barley with the handsome Robert; others, however, point out that after 4 years (and once again in August) the poet, being in the neighborhood, was staying right at the inn of the two!
Burns gave Anne Rankie a lock of his hair and his portrait, which she kept together with the song.
Very bravely Burns, however, is silent on the identity of the beautiful Annie.

William Adolphe Bouguereau 1865
William Adolphe Bouguereau 1865

LAMMAS NIGHT

rigsThe analysis of the text unravels the dynamics of the relationship between the two lovers (according to my point of view): the night of Lammas, as usual in the Celtic tradition, is the night of August 1, a day of celebration for the farmers of the Scotland, day of rest and party before the beginning of the harvest.
Among the young it was customary to spend the night in the fields of wheat (or barley) but our Robert at first keeps away from such custom, the beautiful Annie is promised to another …
However, the youthful ardor finally wins and even the girl (without even being asked too much, reveals the bard) consents: the two meet in the fields of barley, at dusk, on a warm summer evening with the moon full to illuminate the night, and what a “happy night”!
The final verse takes up a concept dear to the poet: the best time is spent to love! And on that magical night it seems that the young Robert did it three times!

Ossian from Seal Song 1981 with the traditional Corn Rigs Are Bonnie melody, the video is very well done with the scrolling text, movies and vintage photos as well as “portraits” of the bard, all well structured in the evocation for images of the text

Paul Giovanni from The Wicker Man but with another melody

I
It was upon a Lammas(1) night,
When the corn rigs(2) were bonnie,
Beneath the moon’s unclouded light,
I held awa’ to Annie;
The time flew by wi’ tentless heed,
‘Til ‘tween the late and early,
Wi’ small persuasion she agreed
To see me thro’ the barley.
chorus
Corn Rigs and barley rigs,
Corn rigs are bonny:
I’ll ne’eer forget that happy night,
Amang the rigs wi’ Annie.
II
The sky was blue (3), the wind was still,
The moon was shining clearly;
I set her down wi’ right good will,
Amang the rigs o’ barley:
I ken’t(4) her heart, was a’ my ain(5);
I loved her most sincerely;
I kissed her o’er and o’er again,
Amang the rigs o’ barley.
III
I locked her in my fond embrace;
Her heart was beatin’ rarely:
My blessing on that happy place,
Amang the rigs o’ barley!
But by the moon and stars so bright,
That shone that hour so clearly!
She aye shall bless that happy night
Amang the rigs of barley.
IV
I hae been blythe(6) wi’ comrades dear;
I hae been merry drinking;
I hae been joyful gath’rin’ gear(7);
I hae been happy thinking:
But a’ the pleasures e’er I saw,
Tho’ three times doubled fairly,
That happy night was worth them a’,
Amang the rigs wi’ Annie.

NOTES
1) Lammas is the harvest festival that is celebrated on the first of August, whose origins date back to the Celtic festival of Lugnasad, a festival that marks the beginning of the first harvest (wheat and barley). In the Scottish country tradition it is like our day in San Martino, when the land is rented and the contracts are renewed.(see more)
2) The term Rigs describes an old cultivation technique that involves working the land in long and narrow strips of raised land (the traditional drainage system of the past): the fields were divided into earthen banks raised, so that the excess water drained further down the deep side furrows.
3) the indicated hour is that of twilight
4) knew
5) own
6) joyous
7) earning money

MELODY

Alasdair Fraser · Paul Machlis · Barry Phillips · Martin Hayes

SCOTTISH COUNTRY DANCE

This song is best known with the title of Corn Rigs or Corn Rigs Are Bonnie and it is also a scottish country dance (see more) taken from the old traditions. During the harvest it was customary to dance among the sheaves of wheat, as shown in this vintage movie by the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society.
VIDEO

LINK
http://ontanomagico.altervista.org/lugnasad.html
https://giulsass.wordpress.com/istruzione/esperienza-antica/gest_terra_p_s/

I’ll meet thee on the lea-rig by Robert Burns

ritratto di Robert Burns
Robert Burns – by Alexander Nasmyth 1787

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The lea-rig (The Meadow-ridge) is a traditional Scottish song rewritten by Robert Burns in 1792 under the title “I’ll Meet Thee On The Lea Rig“.
The term Rigs describes an old cultivation technique that involves working the land in long and narrow strips of raised land (the traditional drainage system of the past): the fields were divided into earthen banks raised, so that the excess water drained further down the deep side furrows. These bumps could reach up to the knee and hand sowing was greatly facilitated: the grass grew in the lea rigs.

THE TUNE

We find the beautiful melody in many eighteenth-century manuscripts, known by various names such as An Oidhche A Bha Bhainis Ann, The Caledonian Laddy, I’ll Meet Thee On The Lea-rig, The Lea Rigg, The Lea Rigges, My Ain Kind Dearie, My Ain Kind Deary O

Tony McManusAlasdair Fraser & Jody Stecher in Driven Bow 1988

John Carnie

Julian Lloyd Webber

THE LYRICS

rigsA “romantic” meeting in the summer camps declined in many text versions with a single melody (albeit with many different arrangements) that has known, like so many other Scottish eighteenth-century songs, a notable fame among the musicians of German romanticism and in good living rooms over England, France and Germany.

The oldest text can be found in the manuscript of Thomas D’Urfey, “Wit and Mirth, or Pills to Purge Melancholy” 1698, by anonymous author who starts like this:
I’ll lay(rowe) thee o’er the lea rig,
My ain kind dearie O.
Although the night were ne’er sae wat,
And I were ne’er sae weary, O,
I’ll rowe thee o’er the lea-rig,
My ain kind dearie, O;

With the title “My Ain Kind Dearie O” it is published later in the Scots Musical Museum vol I (1787) (see here) on Robert Burns’ dispatch to James Johnson with the note that it was the version originally written by the edinburgh poet Robert Fergusson ( 1750-74).
‘Will ye gang o’er the leerigg, my ain kind deary-o! And cuddle there sae kindly wi’ me, my kind deary-o!
220px-Alexander_Runciman_-_Robert_Fergusson,_1750_-_1774__Poet_-_Google_Art_ProjectRobert Fergusson died only 24 years old in the grip of madness while he was hospitalized in the Edinburgh Asylum because subject to a strong existential depression (and yet there are those who insinuate it was syphilis); he had just enough time to write about eighty poems (published between 1771 and 1773) and was the first poet to use the Scottish dialect as a poetic language; he lived for the most part a bohemian life, sharing the intellectual ferment of Edinburgh in the period known as the Scottish Enlightenment, always in contact with musicians, actors and editors; in 1772 it joined the “Edinburgh Cape Club”, not a Masonic lodge but a club for men only for convivial purposes (in which tables were laid out with tasty dishes and above all large drinks); for Robert Burns he was ‘my elder brother in Misfortune, By far my elder brother in the muse’.

Burn rewrote the poem in October 1792 for the publisher George Thomson, to be published in the “Selected Collection of Original Scottish Air” (in what will be the most commonly known version of The Lea Rig) published with the musical arrangement of Joseph Haydn (who also arranged the traditional My Ain Kind Deary version); and he also wrote a more bawdy version published in “The Merry Muses of Caledonia” (1799) under the title My Ain Kind Deary (page 98) (text here)
I’ll lay thee o’er the lea rig, Lovely Mary, deary O

Andy M. Stewart 1991, live

Roddy Woomble

Paul McKenna Band

and in the classic version on arrangement by Joseph Haydn
ASCOLTA Jamie MacDougall & Haydn Eisenstadt Trio JHW. XXXII/5 no. 372, Hob. XXXIa no. 31ter

Robert Burns
I
When o’er the hill the eastern star(1)
Tells bughtin time(2) is near, my jo,
And owsen frae the furrow’d field
Return sae dowf and weary, O,
Down by the burn, where scented birks(3)
Wi’ dew are hangin clear, my jo,
I’ll meet thee on the lea-rig,
My ain kind dearie, O.
II
At midnight hour in mirkest glen
I’d rove, and ne’er be eerie(4), O,
If thro’ that glen I gaed to thee,
My ain kind dearie, O!
Altho’ the night were ne’er sae wild(5),
And I were ne’er sae weary, O,
I’ll(6) meet thee on the lea-rig,
My ain kind dearie, O.
III
The hunter lo’es the morning sun
To rouse the mountain deer, my jo;
At noon the fisher takes the glen
Adown the burn to steer, my jo:
Gie me the hour o’ gloamin grey –
It maks my heart sae cheery, O,
To meet thee on the lea-rig,
My ain kind dearie, O.
english translation
I
When over the hill the eastern star
Tells the time of milking the ewes is near, my dear,
And oxes from the furrowed field
Return so lethargic and weary O:
Down by the burn where scented birch trees
With dew are hanging clear, my dear, I’ll meet thee on the grassy ridge, My own kind dear, O!
II
At midnight hour, in darkest glen,
I’d rove and never be frightened O, If thro’ that glen I go to thee,
My own kind dear, O:
Altho’ the night were  never so wild,
And I were never so weary O,
I’ll meet thee on the grassy ridge, My own kind dear, O!
III
The hunter loves the morning sun,
To rouse the mountain deer, my dear,
At noon the fisher takes the glen,
down the burn to steer, my dear;
Give me the hour o’ gloamin grey,
It maks my heart so cheary O
on the grassy ridge, My own kind dear, O!

NOTES
1) the morning star
2) milking time is early in the morning
3) or “birken buds”
4) or irie
5) in the copy sent to Thomson Robert Burns wrote “wet” then corrected with wild: a summer night with severe air with lightning in the distance
6) or “I’d”

Compare with the version attributed to the poet Robert Fergusson

SMM 1787
I
‘Will ye gang o’er the leerigg(1),
my ain kind deary-o!
And cuddle there sae kindly
wi’ me, my kind deary-o!
At thornie dike(2), and birken tree,
we’ll daff(3), and ne’er be weary-o;
They’ll scug(4) ill een(5) frae you and me,
mine ain kind deary o!’
II
Nae herds, wi’ kent(6) or colly(7) there,
shall ever come to fear ye, O!
But lav’rocks(8), whistling in the air,
shall woo, like me, their deary, O!
While others herd their lambs and ewes,
and toil for warld’s gear(9), my jo(10),
Upon the lee my pleasure grows,
wi’ you, my kind deary, O!
english translation
I
Will you go the over the lea rigg,
My own kind dear, O
And cuddle there so kindly
with me, my kind deary-o!
At thorn dry-stone wall and birche tree,
we will make merry, and never be weary-o;
They’ll screen unfriendly eyes from you and me,
My own kind dear, O!
II
No herds, with sheep-dogs there,
shall ever come to fear ye, O!
But larks whistling in the air,
shall woo, like me, their deary, O!
While others herd their lambs and ewes,
and toil for world’s riches, my sweetheart,
Upon the lee my pleasure grows,
with you, my kind deary, O!

NOTES
1) lea rigg = grassy ridge
2) thornie-dike= a thorn-fenced dike along the stream below the ridge
3) Daff = Make merry
4) ‘Scug’ is to shelter or take refuge. It can also refer to crouching or stooping to avoid being seen.
5) Een = evil eyes
6) Kent = sheperd’s crook
7) Colly = Schottisch sheep-dog
8) Lav’rocks =larks
9) Gear = riches, goods of any kind
10) Jo = sweetheart, my dear

Scottish country dance: “My own kind deary”

The Scottish Country dance entitled “My own kind deary” with music and dance instructions appears in John Walsh’s Caledonian Country Dances (vol I 1735)


for dance explanation see

LINK
http://www.tunearch.org/wiki/Annotation:Lea_Rig_(The) http://www.tunearch.org/wiki/Lea_Rig_(The) http://www.cobbler.plus.com/wbc/poems/translations/497.htm http://www.burnsscotland.com/items/v/volume-i,-song-049,-page-50-my-ain-kind-deary-o.aspx http://www.electricscotland.com/burns/songs/14MyAinKindDearieO.jpg http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/robertburns/works/my_ain_kind_dearie/ http://www.forgottenbooks.com/readbook_text/ The_Poetical_Works_of_Robert_Fergusson_With_Biographical_1000304352/187 https://thesession.org/tunes/13977 http://www.recmusic.org/lieder/get_text.html?TextId=3380 http://www.recmusic.org/lieder/get_text.html?TextId=90757
http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/w/103940/Franz-Joseph-Haydn-The-lea-rig

John Barleycorn must die!

Leggi in italiano

John Barleycorn (in Italian Giovanni Chicco d’Orzo) is a traditional song spread in England and Scotland, focused on this popular character, embodiment of the spirit of beer and whiskey. (see)
There are several text versions collected at different times; the oldest known is from 1460.
As often happens with the most popular ballads we talk about family in reference to a set of texts and melodies connected to each other or related.

The plot traced by Pete Wood is well documented and we refer you to his John Barleycorn revisited for the deepening: the first ballad that identifies a man as the spirit of barley is Allan-a-Maut (Allan del Malto) and it comes from Scotland .
The first ballad that bears the name John Barleycorn is instead of 1624, printed in London “A Pleasant new Ballad.To be sung evening and morn, of the bloody murder of Sir John Barleycorn” shortened in The Pleasant Ballad: as Pete Wood points out, all the elements that characterize the current version of the ballad are already present, the oath of the knights to kill John, the rain that quenches him, and the sun that warms him to give him energy, the miller who grinds him between two stones.

Originale screenprint by Paul Bommer (da qui)

THE DEATH-REBIRTH OF KING BARLEY

spirito-granoIt is narrated the death of the King of Barley according to myths and beliefs that date back to the beginning of the peasant culture, customs that were followed in England in these forms until the early decades of the ‘900.
According to James George Frazier in “The Golden Bough“, anciently “John” was chosen among the youth of the tribe and treated like a king for a year; at the appointed time, however, he was killed, following a macabre ritual: his body was dragged across the fields so that the blood soaked the earth and fed the barley.

More recently in the Celtic peasant tradition the spirit of the wheat entered the reaper who cut the last sheaf (who symbolically killed the god) and he had to be sacrificed just as described in the song (or at least figuratively and symbolically). see more

However, the spirit of the Wheat-Barley never dies because it is reborn the following year with the new crop, its strength and its ardor are contained in the whiskey that is obtained from the distillation of barley malt!

JOHN BARLEYCORN

“The Pleasant ballad” was set to the tune “Shall I Lie Beyond Thee?” on the broadside.63  This tune is quoted by a number of sources by a variety of very similar titles, including “Lie Lulling Beyond Thee” .  It is this writer’s belief from a variety of considerations, including Simpson 64 that these are one and the same tune.  There has been some confusion regarding the use of the tune “Stingo” for various members of the family.  Several publications say that John Barleycorn should be sung to this tune, (including Dixon), and some people have assumed this was the tune for “The Pleasant Ballad.”  These impressions seem to have originated from Chappell 65, who meant that “Stingo” was the tune for another member of the family “The Little Barleycorne”, a view which accords with his own comments on the version in the Roxburghe Ballads 66, with Simpson, and Baring-Gould who says ‘[Stingo] is not the air used in the broadsides nor in the west of England’ 67.  Two further tunes, “The Friar & the Nun” and “Twas when the seas were roaring”, are mentioned by Simpson.  Mas Mault has been suggested to be set to the tune “Triumph and Joy”, the original title of “Greensleeves”. 68 (Pete Wood)

In fact, as many as 45 different melodies have been used for centuries for this ballad, and Pete Wood analyzes the four most common melodies.

 MELODY 1

The 1906 version of John Stafford published by Sharp in English Folk Songs is probably the melody that comes closest to the time of James I
The Young Tradition

MELODY DIVES AND LAZARUS

The Shepherd Haden version became “standard” for being included in The Penguin Book of English Folk Songs.T

Traffic (Learned by Mike Waterson)

Traffic lyrics
I
There was three men come out of the West
Their fortunes for to try
And these three men made a solemn vow
John Barleycorn(1) must die.
II
They ploughed, they sowed, they harrowed him in
Throwing clods all on his head
And these three men made a solemn vow
John barleycorn was Dead.
III
They’ve left him in the ground for a very long time
Till the rains from heaven did fall
Then little Sir John’s sprung up his head
And so amazed them all
IV
They’ve left him in the ground till the Midsummer
Till he’s grown both pale and wan
Then little Sir John’s grown a long, long beard
And so become a man.
V
They hire’d men with their scythes so sharp
To cut him off at the knee.
They’ve bound him and tied him around the waist
Serving him most barb’rously
VI
They hire’d men with their sharp pitch-forks
To prick him to the heart
But the drover he served him worse than that
For he’s bound him to the cart.
VII
They’ve rolled him around and around the field
Till they came unto a barn
And there they made a solemn mow
Of Little Sir John Barleycorn
VIII
They’ve hire’d men with their crab-tree sticks
To strip him skin from bone
But the miller, he served him worse than that,
For he’s ground him between two stones.
IX
Here’s Little sir John in the nut-brown bowl(2)
And brandy in the glass
But Little Sir John in the nut-brown bowl’s
Proved the stronger man at last
X
For the hunts man he can’t hunt the fox
Nor so loudly blow his horn
And the tinker, he can’t mend Kettles or pots
Without a little of Sir John Barleycorn.
NOTES
1)  the spirit of beer and whiskey
2) The cask of walnut or oak used today to age the whiskey

Jetro Tull live


Damh The Bard from The Hills They Are Hollow

JOHN BARLEYCORN, MELODY 3

The version of Robert Pope taken by Vaughan Williams in his Folk Song Suite
version for choir and orchestra

JOHN BARLEYCORN, MELODY 4

from Shropshire
Fred Jordan live

Jean-François Millet - Buckwheat Harvest Summer 1868
Jean-François Millet – Buckwheat Harvest Summer 1868

JOHN BARLEYCORN BY ROBERT BURNS

The version published by Robert Burns in 1782, reworks the ancient folk song and becomes the basis of subsequent versions

The first 3 stanzas are similar to the standard version, apart from the three kings coming from the east to make the solemn oath to kill John Barleycorn, in fact in the English version the three men arrive from the West: to me personally the hypothesis that Burnes he wanted to point out the 3 Magi Kings … it does not seem pertinent to the deep pagan substratum of history: Christianity (or the cult of the God of Light) doesnt want to kill the King of the Wheat, unless you identify the king of the Grain with the Christ (a “blasphemous” comparison that was immediately removed from subsequent versions).

History is the detailed transformation of the grain spirit, grown strong and healthy during the summer, reaped and threshed as soon as autumn arrives, and turned into alcohol; and the much more detailed description (always compared to the standard version) of the pleasures that it provides to men, so that they can draw from the drink, intoxication and inspiration. Burns was notoriously a great connoisseur of whiskey and the last verse is right in his style!

The indicated melody is Lull [e] Me Beyond Thee; other melodies that fit the lyrics are “Stingo” (John Playford, 1650) and “Up in the Morning Early”
The version of the Tickawinda takes up part of the text by singing the stanzas I, II, III, V, VII, XV

Robert Burns
I
There was three kings into the east,
Three kings both great and high,
And they hae sworn a solemn oath
John Barleycorn should die.
II
They took a  plough and plough’d him down,
Put clods upon his head,
And they hae sworn a solemn oath
John Barleycorn was dead
III
But the cheerful Spring came kindly on,
And show’rs began to fall;
John Barleycorn got up again,
And sore surpris’d them all
IV
The sultry suns  of Summer came,
And he grew  thick and strong,
His head weel   arm’d wi’ pointed spears,
That no one  should him wrong.
V
The sober Autumn enter’d mild,
When he grew wan and pale;
His bending joints and drooping head
Show’d he began to fail.
VI
His coulour sicken’d more and more,
He faded into age;
And then his enemies began
To show their deadly rage.
VII
They’ve taen a weapon, long and sharp,
And cut him by the knee;
Then ty’d him fast upon a cart,
Like a rogue for forgerie(1).
VIII
They laid him down upon his back,
And cudgell’d him full sore;
They hung him up before the storm,
And turn’d him o’er and o’er.
IX
They filled up a darksome pit
With water to the brim,
They heaved in John Barleycorn,
There let him sink or swim
X
They laid him out upon the floor,
To work him farther woe,
And still, as signs of life appear’d,
They toss’d him to and fro.
XI
They wasted, o’er a scorching flame,
The marrow of his bones;
But a Miller us’d him worst of all,
For he crush’d him between two stones.
XII
And they hae taen his very heart’s blood,
And drank it round and round;
And still the more and more they drank,
Their joy did more abound.
XIII
John Barleycorn was a hero bold,
Of noble enterprise,
For if you do but taste his blood,
‘Twill make your courage rise.
XIV
‘Twill make a man forget his woe;
‘Twill heighten all his joy:
‘Twill make the widow’s heart to sing,
Tho’ the tear were in her eye.
XV
Then let us toast John Barleycorn,
Each man a glass in hand;
And may his great posterity
Ne’er fail in old Scotland!
NOTES
1) the condemned to death were transported to the place of the gallows on a cart for the public mockery

Steeleye Span from Below the Salt 1972


I (Spoken)
There were three men
Came from the west
Their fortunes for to tell,
And the life of John Barleycorn as well.
II
They laid him in three furrows deep,
Laid clods upon his head,
Then these three man made a solemn vow
John Barleycorn was dead.
III
The let him die for a very long time
Till the rain from heaven did fall,
Then little Sir John sprang up his head
And he did amaze them all.
IV
They let him stand till the midsummer day,
Till he looked both pale and wan.
The little Sir John he grew a long beard
And so became a man.
CHORUS:
Fa la la la, it’s a lovely day
Fa la la la lay o
Fa la la la, it’s a lovely day
Sing fa la la la lay
V
They have hired men with the scythes so sharp,
To cut him off at the knee,
The rolled him and they tied him around the waist,
They served him barbarously.
VI
They have hired men with the crab-tree sticks,
To cut him skin from bone,
And the miller has served him worse than that,
For he’s ground him between two stones.
VII
They’ve wheeled him here,
they’ve wheeled him there,
They’ve wheeled him to a barn,
And thy have served him worse than that,
They’ve bunged him in a vat.
VIII
They have worked their will on John Barleycorn
But he lived to tell the tale,
For they pour him out of an old brown jug
And they call him home brewed ale(1).
NOTES
1) The oldest drink in the world obtained from the fermentation of various cereals. The beer originally was classified out as “beer” (with hops) and “ale” (without hops) . Its processing processes start with a spontaneous fermentation of the starch (ie the sugar) that is the main component in cereals, when they come into contact with water, due to wild yeasts contained in the air. And just as in bread, female food, EARTH, WATER, AIR and FIRE combine magically to give life to a divine food that strengthens and inebriates.
The English term of homebrewing or the art of home-made beer translates into Italian with an abstruse word: domozimurgia and domozimurgo is the producer of homemade beer in which domo, is the Latin root for “home”; zimurgo is the one who practices “zimurgy”, or the science of fermentation processes. The domozimurgo is therefore the one who, within his own home, studies, applies and experiments the alchemy of fermentation. Making beer for your own consumption (including that of the inevitable friends and relatives) is absolutely legal as well as fun and relatively simple although you never stop learning through the exchange of experiences and experimentati
on
see more

And finally the COLLAGE of the versions of Tickawinda, Avalon Rising, John Renbourn, Lanterna Lucis Viriditatis, Xenis Emputae, Travelling Band, Louis Killen, Traffic

LINK
http://ontanomagico.altervista.org/barleycorn.htm
http://www.musicaememoria.com/JohnBarleycorn2.htm
http://www.mustrad.org.uk/articles/j_barley.htm
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=14888
http://www.omniscrit.com/2013/01/who-was-john-barleycorn-folk-song-and.html