Ciod è a ghaoil a tha ort: A Soothing Croon from Eigg

This sweet lullaby is actually a fragment in Scottish Gaelic of Lord Randal ballad. The song was collected on the Isle of Eigg (Hebrides) by Frances Tolmie and Marjory Kennedy-Fraser who called it “Soothing Croon from Eigg”
Questa dolce ninna nanna è in realtà un frammento in gaelico scozzese della ballata di Lord Randal. La canzone è stata raccolta nell’isola di Eigg (Isole Ebridi) da Frances Tolmie e da Marjory Kennedy-Fraser che la intitolò “Soothing Croon from Eigg”

Mor Carmi, Eyal Freed-Man, Idan Armoni in Between East and West 2018

Jean-Luc Lenoir in Old Celtic & Nordic Lullabies” 2016

Ciod è a ghaoil a tha ort
An è do cheann a bhi goirt?
An è do mathair a ghabh ort?
O cha’n fhios a’m
ach cha’n ith mi mir an nochal!

 

English translation
What is it, love?
Oh I do not know,
But I do not eat the morning in the evening!
Is your head being sore?
Oh I do not know,
But I do not eat the morning in the evening!
Is it your mother?
Oh I do not know,
But I do not eat the morning in the evening!
Traduzione italiano Cattia Salto
Che ti è capitato caro?
Non lo so
ma sto male
E’ la testa che ti duole?
Non lo so
ma sto male!
E’ stata tua madre?
Non lo so 
ma sto male

NOTE
Una traduzione in italiano non proprio letterale

 

LINK
https://www.sheetmusicnow.com/products/soothing-croon-from-eigg-ciod-e-a-ghaoil-a-tha-ort-p261903

The Seal-woman croon/ An Cadal Trom

Marjory Kennedy-Fraser , influenced by the folk tales on the selkie, arranged a Scottish Gaelic song of the Hebrides that is at the origins of the Celtic tale “Mac Codrum of the Seals” (to read in English here)
Suggestionata dai racconti popolari sulle selkie Marjory Kennedy-Fraser arrangiò un canto in gaelico scozzese delle Isole Ebridi che è alle origini della fiaba celtica di Mac Codrum delle Foche

MacCodrum delle Foche

Il re e la regina del Mare del Nord (la leggenda dice che il loro regno si trovava in Norvegia nella Terra di Lochlan), vivevano felici con i loro numerosi figli, ma la regina morì, così nessuno si prendeva più cura dei principini e delle principessine; il  re decise di risposarsi, chiedendo in sposa una misteriosa strega marina che viveva in una oscura foresta sul fondo dell’oceano. Date le premesse la matrigna non poteva che essere gelosa dei figli del re e per pura cattiveria trasformò i loro splendidi corpi in foche, condannandoli a nuotare tra i sette mari durante tutto l’anno.
Neppure il re riuscì a sciogliere il maleficio, i suoi figli potevano riprendere la loro forma originaria solo per un unico giorno dell’anno dal tramonto del sole e fino al crepuscolo successivo (in alcune versioni della leggenda sono invece le notti di luna piena dell’anno). Così le foche cantavano la loro disperazione per il maleficio che le condannava a fuggire dal padre e dal loro reame per vagare nei mari del mondo. 
Accadde che un pescatore dell’isola di Bernaray nelle Ebridi Esterne di nome Roderic MacCodrum del clan dei Donald udisse un giorno un canto proveniente dalle rocce vicino alla scogliera, dove vide i figli e le figlie del Re del Mare ritornati in forma umana.
(leggi in Fiabe Celtiche F. Fornaciani)

Contrary to the version in which the fisherman hides the seal skin to tie the selkie to himself and convince her to marry him, here he returns her to the sea and to his fellows; here is Kenneth MacLeode who describes the legend , in the book “Songs of the Hebrides” as compendium of the gaelic song “An cadal trom” (Deeply sleep).
The seals are the children of the King of Lochlann under spells — Clann Righ Lochlainn fo gheasaibh. Beauty, wisdom and bravery were in their blood as well as in their skins, and that was why their step-mother took the bate of destruction for the, and live she would not unless she got them out of the way. Seven long years did she spend with a namely magician, a-learning of the Black Arts, until at last she was as good as her master at it, with a woman’s wit, forby. And what think ye of it! Did not the terrible carlin put her step-children under eternal spells that they should be half-fish half-beast so long as waves should beat on the shores of Lochlann!
Och! Och! That was the black deed — sure you would know by the very eyes of the seals that there is a kingly blood in them. But the worst is still untold. Three times in the year, when the full moon is brightest, the seals must go back to their own natural state, whether they wish it or no. Their step-mother put this in the spells so that there might be a world of envy and sorrow in their hearts every time they saw others ruling in the kingdom which is theirs by right of blood. And if you were to see one of them as they should be always, if right were kept, you would take the love of your heart for that one, and if weddings were in your thoughts, sure enough a wedding there would be.
Long ago, and not so long ago either, a man in Canna was shore-wandering on an autumn night and the moon full, and did he not see one of the seal lady-lords washing herself in a streamlet that was meeting the waves! And just as I said, he took the love of his heart for her, and he went and put deep sleep on her with a sort of charm that he had, and he carried her home in his arms. But och! och! when she wakening came, what had he before him but a seal! And though he needed all the goodness he had, love put softening in his heart, and he carried her down to the sea and let her swim away to her own kith and kin, where she ought to be. And she spent that night, it is said, on a reef near the shore, singing like a daft mavis, and this is one of her croons — indeed, all the seals are good at the songs, and though they are really of the race of Lochlann, it is the Gaelic they like best.

Contrariamente alla versione in cui il pescatore nasconde la pelle di foca per legare a sè la selkie e convincerla a sposarlo, qui la restituisce al mare e ai suoi simili, così descrive la leggenda Kenneth MacLeod riportandola nel libro “Songs of the Hebrides” a compendio della canzone “An cadal trom”.
Le foche sono i figli del re di Lochlann sotto un incantesimo. La bellezza, la saggezza e il coraggio erano nel loro sangue e nella loro pelle, e fu perciò che la loro matrigna decise di distruggerli, e che non sarebbe vissuta a meno di liberarsi di loro. Sette lunghi anni trascorse con un mago, per imparare la Magia Nera, finché alla fine fu brava come il suo padrone, in aggiunta all’arguzia di donna. E cosa ne pensate! La terribile megera mise i suoi figliastri sotto un eterno incantesimo per metà-bestia e per metà pesce fino a quando le onde si frangeranno sulle coste di Lochlann!
Un’azione malvagia invero- dovreste sapere dagli occhi delle foche, che c’è sangue regale in loro. Ma il peggio deve ancora venire. Tre volte all’anno, quando la luna piena è più brillante, le foche devono tornare al loro stato naturale, che lo vogliano o no. La matrigna ha fatto l’incantesimo in modo che ci fosse invidia e dolore nei loro cuori ogni qualvolta vedevano altri governare il regno che era loro per diritto di sangue. E se vi capitasse di vedere uno di loro come dovrebbe essere sempre, v’innamorereste all’istante, e se i vostri  pensieri fossero rivolti al matrimonio, di certo ci sarà un matrimonio.
Molto tempo fa, e tuttavia non molto tempo fa, un uomo di Canna vagava sulla spiaggia in una notte d’autunno con la luna piena, e chi ti vide se non una donna-foca che si lavava nella corrente! E come ho detto, il suo cuore si innamorò di lei, e lui le andò vicino e l’affascinò con lo sguardo, facendola cadere in un sonno profondo, e la portò a casa tra le sue braccia.
Ma quando lei si risvegliò lui vide solo una foca! Facendo ricorso a tutta la sua bontà d’animo, con il cuore mosso a compassione, lui la portò giù al mare e la lasciò andare a nuoto verso i suoi consimili, dove avrebbe dovuto stare. E lei trascorse quella notte, si dice, su una scogliera vicino al mare, cantando come a perdifiato, e questo è uno dei suoi lamenti- anzi, tutte le foche cantano bene, e se appartengono alla stirpe di Lochlann, è il gaelico che preferiscono!

Selkie by Jessica Shirley

Joan Busby in Songs of the Hebrides 2010 (chorus, I, III)

Chorus
Bheir mi hiù-ra bho nail-e bho (1)
Bheir mi hiù-ra bho nail-e bho ho ro
Bheir mi hiù-ra bho nail-e bho
An cadal trom ‘san deachaidh mi
I
Tha mo chlu-as ag an cras gail dhonn
Anns an lonn ar-as gheal o ho
Tha mo dhuan ag an gair-iéh thonn
‘Se’n cad-al trom a dhealaich sinn.
II
Tha mo ghru-ag ach-sa fa-da thall
Air na dàimh sgeir-e gheal o hi
Fàth mo ghruamain gu’n d’rinn mi chall
‘Se’n cad-al trom a dhealaich sinn.
III
Bidh mi mair each a’ snamh nan tonn
Thar an lonn ar-as gheal o hi
Ni mi àbh achd le gràdh-an donn
An cad-al trom cha dhealaich sinn

English version
Chorus
Bheir mi hiù-ra bho nail-e bho (1)
Bheir mi hiù-ra bho nail-e bho ho ro
Bheir mi hiù-ra bho nail-e bho
An cadal trom ‘san deachaidh mi (2)
I
Pillowed on the sea-wrack (3), brown am I (4) 
On the gleaming white-sheen sand
Lulled by the sweet croon of the waves I lie
Did slumber deep, part thee and me (5)
II
Far away, my own gruag-ach (6) lone
On the gleaming white-friend reefs
Lies that cause of all my moan
Did slumber deep, part thee and me
III
On the morrow shall I, o’er the sound (7)
O’er the gleaming white-sheen sand
Swim until I reach my loved one brown
Nor slumber deep, part thee and me
Traduzione italiano Cattia Salto
Coro
Bheir mi hiù-ra bho nail-e bho
Bheir mi hiù-ra bho nail-e bho ho ro
Bheir mi hiù-ra bho nail-e bho
il sonno profondo in cui sono caduta
I (Foca)
Avvolta nelle alghe a terra, scura sono
sulla serica sabbia bianca scintillante
cullata dal dolce mormorio delle onde rimango,
dormire profondamente o separarci?
II (pescatore)
Lontano la mia fanciulla solitaria
sulla bianca scogliera amica scintillante 
giace la causa del mio lamento:
dormire profondamente o separarci?
III (foca)
Domani dovrò, oltre la baia,
oltre la serica sabbia bianca scintillante,
nuotare fino a raggiungere i miei amati scuri
non dormirò e ci separeremo

NOTE
1) non sense verses [ i vocalizzi sono in simil gaelico e non hanno un significato]
2) in english “the deep sleep into which I went”
3) seaweed cast ashore in masses [le alghe spinte dal mare sulla spiaggia]
4) she is a ‘dark one.’ Unlike the many irish blondes (or with red hair), a selkie is a true ‘black Irish’ with dark long hair, wavy, full curls, skin as porcelain, and striking dark eyes [A differenza delle molte bionde irlandesi (o con i capelli rossi), una selkie è un irlandese “scuro” autentico , con capelli scuri lunghi, ondulati e ricci, pelle di porcellana e intensi  occhi scuri]
5) deachaidh =Go, proceed, move, travel, walk. – to fall; the sentence has an interrogative form; sunn= we, us
6) “The long-haired one” and also sea maiden from the Gaelic “gruag, gruagach”
7) sound geography:  is a large sea or ocean inlet

LINK
http://ontanomagico.altervista.org/sule-skerry.htm
https://terreceltiche.altervista.org/gruagach-mhara-a-gruagach-or-a-selkie/
https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Selkie_statue_in_Mikladalur.jpeg
https://www.electricscotland.com/POETRY/purves/MacCodrum.pdf
http://echoes.devin.com/selkie/croon.html

Morag and the Kelpie

Leggi in italiano

In the most placid rivers of Ireland and in the dark depths of the Scottish lakes live water demons, fairy creatures, that feed on human flesh: they are “kelpie”, “each uisge” (in English water-horse), “eich- mhara “(in English sea horse); to want to be picky kelpie lives preferably near the rapids of the rivers, fords and waterfalls, while each uisge prefers the lakes and the sea, but kelpie is the most used word for both. Similar creatures are also told in Norse legends (Bäckahästen, the river horse) – and Germanic (nix in the form of fish or frog). (first part)

MORAG AND THE KELPIE

At the summer pastures of the Highlands they are still told of the beautiful Morag (Marion) seduced by a kelpie in human form; she, while noticing the strangeness of her husband, did not understand his true nature, if not after the birth of their child and … she decided to abandoning baby in swaddling clothes and husband shapeshifter!

On the Isle of Skye they still sing a song in Gaelic, ‘Oran-tàlaidh an eich-uisge’ or ‘Oran each-uisge’ (The water kelpie’s song) the “Lullaby of the kelpie” a melancholy air with which the kelpie cradled his child without a mother, and at the same time a plea to Morag to return to them, both he and the child needed her.
Of this lament we know several textual versions handed down to today in the Hebrides. The melodies revolve around an old Scottish aria entitled “Crodh Chailein” (in English “Colin’s cattle) evidently considered a melody of the fairies.
Another song, sweet and melancholic at the same time, is entitled Song of the Kelpie or even ARRANE GHELBY

Dh’èirich mi moch, b’ fheàrr nach do dh’èirich

So translates from Scottish Gaelic Tom Thomson “I got up early, it would have been better not to” (see)

Julie Fowlis in Alterum 2017

Scottish gaelic
Dh’èirich mi moch, dh’èirich mi moch, B’fheàrr nach d’ dh’èirich
Mo chreach lèir na chuir a-mach mi.
Hill ò bha hò, Hill ò bha hò.
Bha ceò sa bheinn, Bha ceò sa bheinn, is uisge frasach
’s thachair orms’ a’ ghruagach thlachdmhor.
Hill ò bha hò, Hill ò bha hò
Bheir mi dhut fìon, Bheir mi dhut fìon, ‘S gach nì a b’ ait leat,
Ach nach èirinn leat sa mhadainn,
Hill ò bha hò, Hill ò bha hò.
’Nighean nan gamhna, ’Nighean nan gamhna, Bha mi ma’ riut,
Anns a’ chrò is càch nan cadal
Hill ò bha hò, Hill ò bha hò.
An daoidh gheal donn, An daoidh gheal donn, Rug i mac dhomh.
Ged is fuar a rinn i altram,
Hill ò bha hò, Hill ò bha hò.
[instrumental]

Bha laogh mo laoidh, Bha laogh mo laoidh, ri taobh cnocan
gun teine, gun sgàth, gun fhasgadh.
Hill ò bha hò, Hill ò bha hò.
A Mhòr a ghaoil, A Mhòr, a ghaoil, Till ri d’ mhacan,
’S bheir mi goidean breagha breac dhut.
Hill ò bha hò, Hill ò bha hò.
English translation *
I arose early
I arose early –
would that I hadn’t.
I was distressed by what sent me out (1).
Hill ò bha hò, Hill ò bha hò.
There was mist on the hill
There was mist on the hill
and showers of rain
and I came across a pleasant maiden
Hill ò bha hò, Hill ò bha hò.
I’ll give you wine
I’ll give you wine
and all that will please you
but I won’t arise with you in the morning (2).
Hill ò bha hò, Hill ò bha hò.
Girl of the calves (3)
Girl of the calves
I was with you in the cattle-fold (4)
and the rest were asleep.
Hill ò bha hò, Hill ò bha hò.
The fine brown wicked one (5)
The fine brown wicked one
bore me a son
although coldly did she nurse him
Hill ò bha hò, Hill ò bha hò.
The calf (6) of my song
The calf of my song
was beside a hillock
without fire, protection or shelter (7).
Hill ò bha hò, Hill ò bha hò.
Mòr, my love
Mòr, my love, return to your little son
and I’ll give you a beautiful speckled withes (8).
Hill ò bha hò, Hill ò bha hò.
NOTE
English translation also here
1)  the kelpie, suffering from loneliness, leaves the lake early in the morning and takes on human form
2) the shapeshifter promises food and comfort to the girl to convince her to follow him, but he warns her, he is a nocturnal creature and will not wake up with her in the morning!
3) gamhna = cattle between 1 year and 2 years translates Tom Thomson stitks; that is heifer, the cow that has not yet given birth, the verse in addition to qualifying the work of the girl (herdswoman) also wants to be a compliment, in Italian “bella manza” as a busty woman, with abundant and seductive shapes
4) the kelpie remembers the night meeting when they had sex (and obviously nine months later their son was born)
5) after the good memories of the past it comes the present, the woman has discovered the true nature of her companion and she dislikes their child
6) continuing in the comparison the kelpie calls “calf” its baby, that is “small child”
7) A typical “exposition” of fairy children is described. A practice of “birth control” widespread in the countryside of Europe, was the abandonment of newborns in the forest, so that fairies would take care of them; once the practice was widespread both against illegitimate people, and newborns with obvious physical deformations or ill-looking. The custom of “exposing” the baby was connected with the belief that he was “swapped” or kidnapped by the fairies and replaced with a changeling, a shapeshifter who for a while resembles the human child, but ultimately always takes its true appearance.
8) breagha breac dhut. Tom Thomson translates = speckled band (of withy). I searched the dictionary: it is a crown made by intertwining the branches of willow; it reminds me of the Celtic crowns of flowers and leaves

 

Margaret Stewart & Allan MacDonald recorded it under the title “Òran Tàlaidh An Eich-Uisge” in 2001 (from Colla Mo Rùn) following the collection of Frances Tolmie (‘Cumha an EichUisge’ vol I)

english translation *
I and III
Sleep my child, Sleep my child
Sleep my child, Sleep my child
Chorus
Hì hó, hó bha hó, Hì hó, hao i hà
Fast of foot you are
Great as a horse you are
II and IV
My darling son
Oh my lovely little horse
You are far from the township
You will be sought after (1)
scottish gaelic
I
O hó bà a leinibh hó, O hó bà a leinibh hà
Bà a leinibh hó bha hó, Hó bà a leinibh hao i hà
(chorus)
Hì hó, hó bha hó, Hì hó, hao i hà
‘S luath dha d’ chois thu, hó bha hó
‘S mór nad each thu, hao i hà
II
O hó m’eudail a mac hó
O hó m’eachan sgèimheach hà
‘S fhad ‘n ‘n bhail’ thu, hò bha hò
Nìtear d’iarraidh, hao i hà

NOTE
1) The kelpie sings the lullaby to its child abandoned by the human mother and comforts him by telling him that when he grows up he’ll be a little heartbreaker

With the title of ‘A Mhór, a Mhór, till ri d’ mhacan the same story is present in the archives of Tobar an Dualchais, from the voice of three witnesses of the Isle of Skye
http://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/en/fullrecord/99707/1
http://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/en/fullrecord/99703/1
http://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/en/fullrecord/99714/1

A similar story is told in the island of Benbecula with the title of Bheirinn Dhut Iasg, Bheirinn Dhut Iasg see


Caera
in Suantraighe, A Collection of Celtic Lullabies 2006 sings another fragment with the title “The Skye Water Kelpie’s lullaby” (see the version of Marjory Kennedy-Fraser below)

English translation *
Mór (1), my love! Mór, my treasure!
Come back to your little son
and you will get a speckled trout from the lake.
Mór, my darling! Tonight the night
Is wetly showering my son
on the shelter of a knoll.
Mór, my love! Mór, my treasure!
Lacking fire, lacking food, lacking shelter,
and you continually lamenting (2).
Mór, my love! Mór, my darling!
My gray, old, toothless mouth
to your silly little mouth,
and me singing  tunes by Ben Frochkie. (3)
Scottish gaelic
A Mhór a ghaoil! A Mhór a shògh!
Till gu d’mhacan is gheabh
thu’m bradan breac o’n loch.
A Mhór a shògh! Tha’n oiche nochd
Gu fliuch frasach aig mo mhacsa
ri sgath chnocain.
A Mhór a ghaoil! A Mhór a shògh!
Gun teine, gun tuar, gun fhasgadh,
is tu sìor chòineadh.
A Mhór a ghaoil! A Mhór a shògh!
Mo sheana-chab liath ri
do bheul beag baoth
is mi seinn phort dhuit am Beinn Frochdaidh.

NOTE
1) Mhórag or Mór is the name of the maiden loved by the kelpie
2) it is the incessant cry of the child abandoned by his human mother in the cold and without food
3) mountain between Gesture and Portree on the Isle of Skye

Skye Water Kelpie’s Lullaby

With the title “Cronan na Eich-mhara”, the same fragment sung by Caera is also reported in the book of Marjory Kennedy-Fraser and Kenneth MacLeod “Songs of the Hebrides” 1909 (page 94)

Kenneth MacLeod
I
Avore, my love, my joy
To thy baby come
And troutlings you’ll get out of the loch
Avore, my heart, the night is dark,
wet and dreary.
Here’s your bairnie neath the rock
II
Avore, my love, my joy,
wanting fire here,
wanting shelter, wanting comfort
our babe is crying by the loch
III
Avore, my heart, my bridet
My gray old mouth
touching thy sweet lips,
and me singing Old songs to thee,
by Ben Frochkie (1)
NOTE
1) between Gesto and Portree in Skye
Scottish gaelic
A Mhór a ghaoil! A Mhór a shògh!
Till gu d’mhacan is gheabh
thu’m bradan breac o’n loch.
A Mhór a shògh! Tha’n oiche nochd
Gu fliuch frasach aig mo mhacsa
ri sgath chnocain.
II
A Mhór a ghaoil! A Mhór a shògh!
Gun teine, gun tuar, gun fhasgadh,
is tu sìor chòineadh.
III
A Mhór a ghaoil! A Mhór a shògh!
Mo sheana-chab liath ri
do bheul beag baoth
is mi seinn phort dhuit am Beinn Frochdaidh.
 
Theodor_Kittelsen_-_Nøkken_som_hvit_hestARCHIVE
Skye Water Kelpie’s Lullaby
Dh’èirich mi moch, b’ fheàrr nach do dh’èirich
Òran Tàlaidh An Eich-Uisge
A Mhór, a Mhór, till ri d’ mhacan
Cronan na Eich-mhara
Song of the Kelpie
Up, ride with the kelpie

Sources
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=4374 http://mudcat.org/detail_pf.cfm?messages__Message_ID=48242 http://www.kidssongsmp3.twinkletrax.com/kids-song.php?c=C02T12&kids-song=O,%20Can%20Ye%20Sew%20Cushions http://www.celticlyricscorner.net/stewart/orantalaidh.htm
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Stromkarlen_1884.jpg

Crònan Cuallaich a herding croon

Leggi in italiano

“Crònan Cuallaich” is a Scottish Gaelic song collected on the island of Benbecula (Hebrides) and also transcribed by Alexander Carmicheal in his “Carmina Gadelica” Vol I # 105.
In English “herding croon” is a prayer of protection, sung to the grazing cattle to keep it quiet. The structure, however, is that of the waulking song and as such handed down in the Hebrides.

Russet Highland Cattle, Uig Beach, Isle of Lewis. © J. Lynn Stapleton, 1st August 2013

The Highland cow looks very funny, it almost seems like a Himalayan jak, it is a bovine breed originally from Scotland, also known as Hebridean breed, Hairy Coo, Heilan Coo or Kyloe. With a long, thick and bristly fur and horns of up to one and a half meters it is docile in character, lives outdoors all year round and rarely gets sick. Its particular physical constitution is due to the adaptation to cold and even glacial climates. As far as one single race is concerned, there are two ancestors: one of black color and of smaller size, the other one of reddish color and of bigger size. The breed is very appreciated for its meat (lean and without cholesterol), and has been exported to various parts of the world in America, Australia and Europe, in Italy we find it in South Tyrol, Veneto, Liguria and Lombardy.

Distant Oaks in “Gach Là agus Oidhche: Music of Carmina Gadelica” 2003

An crodh an diugh a dol imirig,
Hill-i-ruin is o h-ug o,
Ho ro la ill o,
Hill-i-ruin is o h-ug o,
Dol a dh’ itheadh feur na cille,
Hill-i-ruin is o h-ug o,
Am buachaille fein ann ’g an iomain,
Ho ro la ill o,
Hill-i-ruin is o h-ug o,
’G an cuallach, ’g an cuart, ’g an tilleadh,
Hill-i-ruin is o h-ug o,
Bride bhith-gheal bhi ’g am blighinn,
Hill-i-ruin is o h-ug o,
Muire mhin-gheal bhi ’g an glidheadh,
Hill-i-ruin is o h-ug o,
’S Iosa Criosda air chinn an slighe,
Iosa Criosda air chinn an slighe.
Hill-i-ruin is o h-ug o.

english translation
The cattle are today going a-flitting(1),
Going to eat the grass of the burial place,(2)
Their own herdsman there to tend them,
Tending them, fending them, turning them,
Be the gentle Bride(3) milking them,
Be the lovely Mary keeping them,
And Jesu Christ at the end of their journey.
NOTE
1) escaping on the sly
2) according to the testimony of Marjory Kennedy-Fraser the locality of reference is Grimnis (Griminish) in particular a fairy hill (a burial mound)
3) the goddess Bride is syncretically approached to Jesus Christ and to the Virgin Mary. The invocation to the Gruagach, the sea maid, a sort of guardian spirit of the house and of the cattle, is inevitable

UIST CATTLE CROON

The song is among those collected by Marjory Kennedy-Fraser in his trip to the Hebrides and merged in her book “Songs of the Hebrides“. The melody is also reported by Frances Tolmie who collected it at Kilmaluagon on the Isle of Skye.
Alison Pearce in Land of Hearts Desire – Songs of the Hebrides. A classical version (soprano and harp) with the arrangement of Kennedy-Fraser


I
Today the kye win to hill pasture,
Hill-i-ruin is o h-ug o,
Sweet the grass of cool hill pastures
Hill-i-ruin is o h-ug o,
Breedja(3) fair white be at their milking,
Hill-i-ruin is o h-ug o,
Lead the kye to the hill pastures
Hill-i-ruin is o h-ug o,
II
Today the kye “flit”(1) to hill pastures
There to graze on sweet hill grasses
Mary(1), gentle be at their keeping,
Keeping all out on hill pastures
NOTE
1)Bride and the virgin Mary are confused in a single protective deity, or in this version of the rev Kenneth Macleod Mary is more prosaically a beautiful herdswiman. The task of watching cattle in the pastures was once reserved for boys and girls.

the kulning of Jonna Jinton

A pretty girl milking her cow

Sources
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/cg1/cg1114.htm
http://ontanomagico.altervista.org/imbolc.htm
https://terreceltiche.altervista.org/gruagach-mhara-a-gruagach-or-a-selkie/
https://jlstapletonphotography.me/2013/08/

A phiùthrag ‘s a phiuthar (Sister’s lament)

Leggi in Italiano

“Sister’s lament” (Sister or sister) is a Scottish Gaelic song from the Hebrides, where a young girl kidnapped by the fairies calls her sister to come to her rescue: the song describes the fairy hideout. The song is included in the collection “Songs of the Hebrides”, Vol 1 by Marjory Kennedy-Fraser with the title “A Fairy Plaint” (Ceol-brutha).

In folk tales, fairies are not benevolent creatures at all, attracted by the strength and vitality of mankind, they kidnap children and especially newborns, or seduce (for the purpose of kidnapping) a lot of beautiful youths.
The fairy abduction was once an attempt to rationalize the loss of loved ones, it was a great consolation thinking that the fairies had stolen that young life from a sad fate, or it was an explanation for abnormal behavior, such as autism or depression. Thus an “absent” behavior amounted to a rapture of the soul and the victim felt like a prisoner in the enchanted Kingdom; a great danger came from food, because it was enough a tasting to preserve a tormenting desire, very often fatal.

CELTIC TALE

Two sisters lived in a valley not far from a circle of fairies, where elves held a night market, offering a wide selection of juicy and tasty fruit. The market was invisible to human eyes, but one night the girls saw him: the older sister escaped frightened, but the younger intrigued, let himself be involved in the market and gave a lock of her golden hair for those fruits so inviting.
She returned home only after eating at will and the next night, driven by hunger that human food could no longer satisfy, she went to look for the elf market, no longer finding it. The older sister, realizing that her little sister was prey to an inexplicable malaise that consumed her, sought in turn the magical place, managing to find it; nevertheless the elves would have yielded their fruits only if the elder sister had also banquished with them; the girl fearing the end of her sister, she stubbornly refused, despite the elves, who did everything, even slamming the fruit in her face and pressing them against her mouth. So some juice remained on her lips ..

Goblin-Market-Arthur-Rackham
Goblin Market. Arthur Rackham.

At dawn the girl managed to return home to give a last farewell to her dying sister, a last sweet kiss .. that was how the little sister from her lips tasted elven food, her hunger was satisfied and she found healing.

A phiùthrag ‘s a phiuthar

The song shares the structure of the waulking songs and was originally perhaps a work song. The melody is very sad and some assume it is a funeral lament.

Flora MacNeil learned the song from a relative of the island of Mingulay
live in Tobar an Dualchais

Margaret Stewart in Togidh mi mo Sheolta (Along The Road Less Travelled)

Julie Fowlis in Alterum (follow the Calum Johnston version here)

The structure of the song repeats the last sentence as the first sentence in the next stanza. The choral part of the song is entrusted to “vocables”

English translation Flora MacNeil
I
Little sister, sister
My love, my sister [beloved sister]
Do you not pity(1)
My grief tonight
II
Do you not pity
My grief tonight
In a little hut(2) I am
Low and narrow
III
In a little hut I am
Low and narrow
With no roof of turf
and no thatch entwined (3)
IV
With no roof of turf
and no thatch entwined
But the rain from the hills
streaming into it(4)
V (english translation John Lorne Campbell)
But the rain from the hills
Streaming into it
I am a poor woman
sad and miserable.
VI
I am a poor woman
sad and miserable.
I climbed up
Ben Sgrìobain
VII
I climbed up
Ben Sgrìobain
and Laigheabhal Mhòr
with it’s spotted horses
VIII
and Laigheabhal Mhòr
with it’s spotted horses
I didn’t find there
what I wanted,
IX
I didn’t find there
what I wanted,
A girl
with hair like a golden daisy.
Irish gaelic, Flora MacNeil version
I
A phiùthrag ‘s a phiuthar, hu ru
Ghaoil a phiuthar, hu ru
Nach truagh leat fhèin, ho ho ill eo
Nochd mo chumha,
hu ru
II
Nach truagh leat fhèin, hu ru
nochd mo chumha, hu ru
Mi’m bothan beag, ho ho ill eo
ìseal cumhag, hu ru
III
Mi’m bothan beag, hu ru
ìseal cumhag, hu ru
Gun sgrath dhìon, ho ho ill eo
Gun lùb tughaidh, hu ru
IV
Gun sgrath dhìon air, hu ru
Gun lùb tughaidh hu ru, hu ru
Ach uisge nam beann, ho ho ill eo
Sìos ‘na shruth leis, hu ru
V (Calum Johnston version)
Ach uisge nam beann,
Sìos ‘na shruth leis,
’S mise bhean bhochd
chianail, dhuilich.
VI
’S mise bhean bhochd
chianail, dhuilich.
Dhìrich mi suas
Beinn an Sgrìobain,
VII
Dhìrich mi suas
Beinn an Sgrìobain,
’S Laigheabhal Mhòr (5)
nan each grìs-fhionn. (6)
VIII
’S Laigheabhal Mhòr
nan each grìs-fhionn.
Cha d’ fhuair mi ann,
na bha dhìth orm
IX
Cha d’ fhuair mi ann
na bha dhìth orm
Tè bhuidhe,
’s a 
falt mar dhìthein.

NOTE
1) “Can you not pity” or” Would you not pity me my mourning tonight”
2) “Small my dwelling”, or little bothy
3) or Gun lùb sìomain, (Without a roof-rope)
gun ghad tughaidh (or a wisp of thatch.)
4) “hillside wate like a running stream” or “Water from the peaks in a stream down through it”
5)  or  Flora MacNeil version: Hèabhal mhòr= Mighty Heaval
Heaval is the highest hill of Barra Island located north-east of Castlebay, the main village.
6) or  Flora MacNeil version: Nan each dhriumfhionn= with the white-maned horses.
Horses are those of fairies and therefore white. It could be the palomino or cremello breed. The origin of the Palomino is very old, in fact it is believed that golden horses with tail and silver mane were ridden by the first emperors of China. Achilles, the mythical Greek hero, rode Balios and Xantos, which were “yellow and golden, faster than the storm winds”. The cremello instead has the particularity of the blue eye, the coat is white with silver reflections.

A Fairy Plaint (Ceol-brutha)

The version of Marjory Kennedy-Fraser (as collected by the song of Mrs. Macdonald, Skallary, Isle of Barra

Kenneth MacLeod lyrics
Would you not pity me, o sister?
O hi o hu o ho
Would you not pity me my mourning tonight?
O hi o hu o ho
My little hut
Without a bent rope or a wisp of thatch
Water from the peaks
in a stream down through it
But that’s not the cause of my sorrow

Nach truagh leat fhéin phiùthrag a phiuthar
O hi o hu o ho
Nach truagh leat fhéin nochd mo cumha
O hi o hu o ho
Nach truagh leat fhéin nochd mo cumha
‘S mise bhean bhochd chianail dhubhach
‘S mise bhean bhochd chianail dhubhach
Mi’m bothan beag iosal cumhann
Mi’m bothan beag iosal cumhann
Gun lùb siomain gun sop tughaibh
Gun lùb siomain gun sop tughaibh
Uisge nam beann sios ‘na shruth leis
Uisge nam beann sios ‘na shruth leis
Ged’s oil leam sin cha’n e chreach mi
Ged’s oil leam sin cha’n e chreach mi
Cha’n e chuir mi cha’n e fhras mi

Rory Dall’s Sister’s Lament

Cumh Peathar Ruari — Rory Dall’s Sister’s Lament was composed by Daniel Dow about 1778 (in A Collection of Ancient Scots Music for the violin, harpsichord or German flute) referring to the analysis of the melody here

Ossian in “Borders” 1984

Sources
http://www.omniglot.com/songs/gaelic/aphiuthrag.php
http://www.celticlyricscorner.net/maggiemacinnes/aphiuthrag.htmdhttp://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/en/fullrecord/62594/9;jsessionid=89A212440240A80FF960AD2D4B425BD3
http://research.culturalequity.org/get-audio-detailed-recording.do?recordingId=11984
http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/scotlandssongs/about/songs/supernatural/index.asp
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=69117

http://www.earlygaelicharp.info/tunes/CumhPeatharRuari/
https://thesession.org/tunes/15575
http://www.cynthiacathcart.com/articles/rory_dall_lament.html

Aileen Duinn, Brown-haired Alan

Leggi in italiano

“Aileen Duinn” is a Scottish Gaelic song from the Hebrides: a widow/sweetheart lament for the sinking of a fishing boat, originally a waulking song in which she invokes her death to share the same seaweed bed with her lover, Alan.
According to the tradition on the island of Lewis Annie Campbell wrote the song in despair over the death of her sweetheart Alan Morrison, a ship captain who in the spring of 1788 left Stornoway to go to Scalpay where he was supposed to marry his Annie, but the ship ran into a storm and the entire crew was shipwrecked and drowned: she too will die a few months later, shocked by grief. His body was found on the beach, near the spot where the sea had returned the body of Ailein Duinn (black-haired Alan).

 The song became famous because inserted into the soundtrack of the film Rob Roy and masterfully interpreted by Karen Matheson (the singer of the Scottish group Capercaillie who appears in the role of a commoner and sings it near the fire)

Here is the soundtrack of the film Rob Roy: Ailein Duinn and Morag’s Lament, (arranged by Capercaillie & Carter Burwelle) in which the second track is the opening verse followed by the chorus

FIRST VERSION

The text is reduced to a minimum, more evocative than explanatory of a tragic event that it was to be known to all the inhabitants of the island. The woman who sings is marked by immense pain, because her black-haired Alain is drowned at the bottom of the sea, and she wants to share his sleep in the abyss by a macabre blood covenant.

Capercaillie from To the Moon – 1995: Keren Matheson, the voice ‘kissed by God’ switches from the whisper to the cry, in the crashing waves blanding into bagpipes lament.

Meav, from Meav 2000 angelic voice, harp and flute

Annwn from Aeon – 2009 German group founded in 2006 of Folk Mystic; their interpretation is very intense even in the rarefaction of the arrangement, with the limpid and warm voice of Sabine Hornung, the melody carried by the harp, a few echoes of the flute and the lament of the violin: magnificent.

Trobar De Morte  the text reduced to only two verses and extrapolated from the context lends itself to be read as the love song of a mermaid in the surf of the sea (see also Mermaid’s croon)

It is the most reproduced textual version with the most different musical styles, roughly after 2000, also as sound-track in many video games (for example Medieval II Total War)

english translation
How sorrowful I am
Early in the morning rising
Chorus
Ò hì, I would go (1) with thee
Hi\ ri bho\ ho\ ru bhi\,
Hi\ ri bho\ ho\ rionn o ho,

Brown-haired Alan, ò hì,
I would go with thee
If it is thy pillow the sand
If it is thy bed the seaweed
If it is the fish thy candles bright
If it is the seals thy watchmen(2)
I would drink(3), though all would abhor it
Of thy heart’s blood after thy drowning
Scottish Gaelic
Gura mise tha fo éislean,
Moch `s a’ mhadainn is mi `g eirigh,
Sèist
O\ hi\ shiu\bhlainn leat,
Hi\ ri bho\ ho\ ru bhi\,
Hi\ ri bho\ ho\ rionn o ho,
Ailein duinn, o\ hi\
shiu\bhlainn leat.
Ma `s e cluasag dhut a’ ghainneamh,
Ma `s e leabaidh dhut an fheamainn,
Ma `s e `n t-iasg do choinnlean geala,
Ma `s e na ròin do luchd-faire,
Dh’olainn deoch ge boil   le cach e,
De dh’fhuil do choim `s tu `n   deidh dobhathadh,

NOTES
1) to die, to follow
2) for the inhabitants of the Hebrides Islands the seals are not simple animals, but magical creatures called selkie, which at night take the form of drowned men and women. Considered a sort of guardians of the Sea or gardeners of the sea bed every night or only on full moon nights, they would abandon their skins to reveal their human form, to sing and dance on the silver cliffs (here)
3) refers to an ancient Celtic ritual, consisting in drinking the blood of a friend as a sign of affection (the covenant of blood), a custom cited by Shakespeare (still practiced by all the friends of the heart who exchange blood with a shallow cut and joining the two cuts; it was also practiced for the handfasting in Scotland: once the handfasting was above all a pact of blood, in which the right wrist of the spouses was engraved with the tip of a dagger until the blood spurts, after which the two wrists were tied in close contact with each other with the “wedlock’s band” (see more.)

by liga-marta tratto da qui

SECOND VERSION

Here is the version of Marjory Kennedy-Fraser (1857-1930) from “Songs of the Hebrides“, see also Alexander Carmichael (1832-1912) in his “Carmina Gadelica”.

Alison Pearce & Susan Drake from “A Harris love lament”  
Quadriga Consort  from “Ships Ahoy !” 2011  

(english translation Kennet Macleod)
I am the one under sorrow
in the early morn and I arising.
Chorus
Brown-haired Alan

Ò hì, I would go with thee
Hi\ ri bho\ ho\ ru bhi\,
Hi\ ri bho\ ho\ rionn o ho,

Brown-haired Alan,
 I would go with thee
‘Tis not the death of the kine in May-month
but the wetness of thy winding-sheet./Though mine were a fold of cattle, sure, little my care for them today./Ailein duinn, calf of my heart,
art thou adrift on Erin’s shore?
That not my choice of a stranger-land,
but a place where my cry would reach thee.
Ailein duinn, my spell and my laughter,/would, o King, that I were near thee/on what so bank or creek thou art stranded,
on what so beach the tide has left thee.
I would drink a drink, gainsay it who might,
but not of the glowing wine of Spain
The blood of the thy body, o love,
I would rather,/the blood that comes from thy throat-hollow.
O may God bedew thy soul
with what I got of thy sweet caresses,
with what I got of thy secret-speech
with what I got of thy honey-kisses.
My prayer to thee, o King of the Throne
that I go not in earth nor in linen
That I go not in hole-ground nor hidden-place
but in the tangle where lies my Allan
(scottish gaelic)
Gura mise tha fo éislean,
Moch `s a’ mhadainn is mi `g eirigh
Sèist
Ailein duinn,

O\ hi\ shiu\bhlainn leat,
Hi\ ri bho\ ho\ ru bhi\,
Hi\ ri bho\ ho\ rionn o ho,
Ailein duinn,
o\ hi\ shiu\bhlainn leat

Cha’n e bàs a’ chruidh ‘s a’ chéitein
Ach a fhichead ‘s tha do leine.
Ged bu leam-sa buaile spréidhe
‘s ann an diugh bu bheag mo spéis dith.
Ailein duinn a laoigh mo chéille
an deach thu air tir an Eirinn?
Cha b’e sid mo rogha céin-thir
ach an t-àit’ an ruigeadh m’ éigh thu.
Ailein duinn mo ghis ‘s mo ghàire
‘s truagh, a Righ, nach mi bha làmh riut.
Ge b’e eilb no òb an tràigh thu
ge b’e tiurr am fàg an làn thu.
Dh’ òlainn deoch ge b’ oil le càch e,
cha b’ ann a dh’ fhion dearg na Spàinne.
Fuil do chuim, a ghraidh, a b’ fhearr leam,
an fhuil tha nuas o lag do bhràghad.
O gu’n drùchdadh Dia air t’ anam
na fhuair mi de d’ bhrìodal tairis.
Na fhuair mi de d’ chòmhradh falaich,
na fhuair mi de d’ phògan meala.
M’ achan-sa, a Righ na Cathrach,
gun mi dhol an ùir no ‘n anart
an talamh-toll no ‘n àite-falaich
ach ‘s an roc an deachaidh Ailean

Another translation in English with the title “Annie Campbell’s Lament”
Estrange Waters from Songs of the Water, 2016

Chorus
Dark Alan my love,
oh I would follow you

Far beneath the great sea,
deep into the abyss

Dark Alan, oh I would follow you
I
Today my heart swells with sorrow
My lover’s ship sank deep in the ocean
I would follow you..
II
I ache to think of your features
Your white limbs
and shirt ripped and torn asunder
I would follow you..
III
I wish I could be beside you
On whichever rock or shore where you’re sleeping
I would follow you..
IV
Seaweed shall be as our blanket
And we’ll lay our heads on soft beds made of sand
I would follow you..

THIRD VERSION

The most suggestive and dramatic version is that reported by Flora MacNeil who she has learned  from her mother. Born in 1928 on the Isle of Barra, she is a Scottish singer who owns hundreds of songs in Scottish Gaelic. “Traditional songs tended to run in families and I was fortunate that my mother and her family had a great love for the poetry and the music of the old songs. It was natural for them to sing, whatever they were doing at the time or whatever mood they were in. My aunt Mary, in particular, was always ready, at any time I called on her, to drop whatever she was doing, to discuss a song with me, and perhaps, in this way, long forgotten verses would be recollected. So I learned a great many songs at an early age without any conscious effort. As is to be expected on a small island, so many songs deal with the sea, but, of course, many of them may not originally be Barra songs”

A different story from Flora MacNeil’s family: the woman is married to Alain MacLeann who dies in the shipwreck with all the other men of her family: her father and brothers; the woman turns to the seagull that flies high over the sea and sees everything, as a witness of the misfortune; the last verse traces poetic images of a funeral of the sea, with the bed of seaweed, the stars like candles, the murmur of the waves for the music and the seals as guardians.

Flora MacNeil from  a historical record of 1951.


English translation
O na hi hoireann o ho
Hi na hi i ri u hu o
Endless grief the price it cost me
‘Twas neither sheep or cattle
But the load the ship took with her
My father and my three brothers
As if this wasn’t all my burden
The one to whom I gave my hand
MacLean of the fair skin
Who took me from the church on Tuesday(1)
“Little seagull, seagull of the ocean
Where did you leave the fair men?”
“I left them in the island of the sea
Back to back, no longer breathing”
Scottish Gaelic
Sèist:
O na hi hoireann o ho
Hi na hi i ri u hu o
S’ goirt ‘s gur daor a phaigh mi mal dhut
Cha chrodh laoigh ‘s cha chaoraich bhana
Ach an luchd a thaom am bata
Bha m’athair oirre ‘s mo thriuir bhraithrean
Chan e sin gu leir a chraidh mi
Ach am fear a ghlac air laimh mi
Leathanach a’ bhroillich bhainghil
A thug o ‘n chlachan Di-mairt mi
Fhaoileag bheag thu, fhaoileag mhar’ thu
Cait a d’fhag thu na fir gheala
Dh’fhag mi iad ‘san eilean mhara
Cul ri cul is iad gun anail

NOTES
(1) Tuesday is still the day on which traditionally marriages are celebrated on the Island of Barra

FOURTH VERSION

Still a version set just like a waulking song and yet a different text, this time the ship is a whaler and Allen is shipwrecked near the Isle of Man.

Mac-Talla, from Gaol Is Ceol 1994, only the female voices and the notes of a harp, but what immediacy …

English translation
I am tormented/I have no thought for merriment tonight
Brown-haired Allen o hi, I would go with thee.
I have no thought for merriment tonight/But for the sound of the elements and the strength of the gales
Brown-haired Allen o hi,
I would go with thee.

CHORUS
Hi riri riri ri hu o, horan o o, o hi le bho
Duinn o hi, I would go with thee
But for the sound of the elements and the strength of the gales
Which would drive the men from the harbor
Brown-haired Allen, my darling sweetheart
I heard you had gone across the sea
On the slender, black boat of oak
And that you have gone ashore on the Isle of Man
That was not the harbor I would have chosen
Brown-haired Allen, darling of my heart
I was young when I fell in love with you
Tonight my tale is wretched
It’s not a tale of the death of cattle in the bog
But of the wetness of your shirt
And of how you are being torn by whales
Brown-haired Allen, my dear beloved
I heard you had been drowned
Alas, oh God, that I was not beside you
Whatever tide-mark the flood will leave you
I would take a drink, in spite of everyone
Of your heart’s blood,
after you had been drowned
Scottish Gaelic
S gura mise th’air mo sgaradh
Chan eil sugradh nochd air m’aire
Ailein Duinn o hi shiubhlainn leat
Chaneil sugradh nochd air m’air’
Ach fuaim nan siantan ‘s miad na gaillinn
Ailein Duinn o hi shiubhlainn leat
Hi riri riri ri hu o, horan o o, o hi le bho
Ailein Duinn o hi shiubhlainn leat~Ailein.
Ach fuaim nan siantan ‘s miad na gaillinn
Dh’fhuadaicheadh na fir bho’n chaladh
Ailein Duinn o hi shiubhlainn leat
Ailein Duinn a luaidh nan leannan
Chuala mi gun deach thu thairis
Ailein Duinn o hi shiubhlainn leat
Chuala mi gun deach thu thairis
Air a’ bhata chaol dhubh dharaich
Ailein Duinn o hi shiubhlainn leat
‘S gun deach thu air tir am Manainn
Cha b’e siod mo rogha caladh
Ailein Duinn o hi shiubhlainn leat
Ailein Duinn a luaidh mo cheile
Gura h-og a thug mi speis dhut
Ailein Duinn o hi shiubhlainn leat
‘S ann a nochd as truagh mo sgeula
‘S cha n-e bas a’ chruidh ‘san fheithe
Ailein Duinn o hi shiubhlainn leat
Ach cho fliuch ‘s a tha do leine
Muca mara bhith ‘gad reubach
Ailein Duinn o hi shiubhlainn leat
Ailein Duinn a chiall ‘s a naire
Chuala mi gun deach do bhathadh
Ailein Duinn o hi shiubhlainn leat
‘S truagh a Righ nach mi bha laimh riut
Ge be tiurr an dh’fhag an lan thu
Ailein Duinn o hi shiubhlainn leat
Dh’olainn deoch, ge b’oil le cach e
A dh’fhuil do chuim ‘s tu ‘n deidh do bhathadh
Ailein Duinn o hi shiubhlainn leat

LINK
http://www.celticlyricscorner.net/murray/ailean.htm
http://www.celticlyricscorner.net/capercaillie/ailein.htm
http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=8239
http://folktrax-archive.org/menus/cassprogs/001scotsgaelic.htm

Eriskay Love Lilt by Marjorie Kennedy-Fraser

Leggi in italiano

Diana Gabaldon

From “Drums of Autumn” of the Outlander saga written by Diana Gabaldon chapter 4.
In the future Roger sings many popular airs at the Celtic Festival in New England (Outlander Season 4, episode 3)
“He’d got them going with “The Road to the Isles,” a quick and lively clap-along song with a rousing chorus, and when they’d subsided from that, kept them going with “The Gallowa’ Hills” and a sweet slide into “The Lewis Bridal Song,” with a lovely, lilting chorus in Gaelic. He let the last note die away on “Vhair Me Oh,” and smiled, directly at her, she thought. ”
But in this point of the book we find an error because with the title “The Lewis Bridal Song” we mean the Marie’s Wedding, while the song to which Gabaldon refers (English text and refrain in Gaelic “Vair me o, ro van o”) is” Eriskay Love Lilt “!

It was Marjorie Kennedy-Fraser who popularized this sweet melody that she heard during her vacation on the island of Eriskay : “Bheir mi ò” (aka “Gradh Geal Mo Chridhe”) a song in Scottish Gaelic with a very sweet slow air; Marjorie arranged the melody and added a text in English (always from the pen of the rev. Kenneth MacLeod) titling Eriskay Love Lilt.

Judith Durham & The Seekers  ‘The Seekers At Home’ TV special (1967)

Siobhan Owen 

Alfred Deller 

Which woman would not want to hear so sweet verses?

Chorus
Vair me o, ro van o (1)
Vair me o ro ven ee,
Vair me o ru o ho
Sad I am without thee.
I
When I’m lonely, dear white heart (2),
Black the night and wild the sea;
by love’s light my foot finds
The old pathway to thee.
II
Thou’rt the music of my heart,
Harp of joy, o cruit mo chridh'(3),
Moon of guidance by night,
Strength and light thou’rt to me
III
In the morning, when I go
To the white and shining sea,
In the calling of the seals
Thy soft calling to me.

NOTE
1) no meanings only sounds
2)  a good, honest and generous person.
3) from scottish gaelic “harp of my heart”

ERISKAY

Eriskay  from the Old Norse for “Eric’s Isle”, is a small island of the Outer Hebrides. It is a rocky island connected to the largest South Uist island by a causeway: white beaches, crystal clear waters, seals and dolphins, hawks, buzzards, breathtaking views!

eriskay

A poem of remote lives:  Werner Kissling 1934 http://ssa.nls.uk/film.cfm?fid=1701
So you understand how music is an integral part of the harsh rural life of the past: a collective work acquired from a centuries-old experience and in balance with the earth, underlined by the traditional songs!!

http://www.visit-uist.co.uk/default.asp?page=39
http://www.eriskayselfcatering.co.uk/html/exploring.html

Eriskay Love Lilt: Vair me o, ro van o (Nenia d’amore di Eriskay)

Read the post in English

Diana Gabaldon

In “Tamburi d’Autunno” della saga “La Straniera” di Diana Gabaldon, capitolo 4.
Nel futuro Roger canta molti brani popolari al Festival Celtico nel New England (Outlander stagione 4, terzo episodio)
“Li aveva scaldati con “The Road to the Isles” una canzone ritmata e vivace con un ritornello stimolante da accompagnare con il battimani e, quando il suo effetto stava per affievolirsi, ecco che aveva riacceso gli entusiasmi con “The Gallowa’ Hills” per poi scivolare dolcemente in “The Lewis Bridal Song” con un bel refrain melodico in gaelico. Dopo aver lasciato svanire l’ultima nota su “Vhair Me Oh” sorrise, direttamente a lei, le parve.

Però in questo punto del libro troviamo un errore perchè con il titolo “The Lewis Bridal Song” s’intende la Marie’s Wedding, mentre la canzone a cui la Gabaldon si riferisce (testo in inglese e ritornello in gaelico “Vair me o, ro van o” ) è “Eriskay Love Lilt”!

E’ stata Marjorie Kennedy-Fraser a rendere popolare tra il grande pubblico questa dolce melodia che ascoltò durante la sua vacanza nell’isola di Eriskay: si trattava di “Bheir mi ò  (nota anche come “Gradh Geal Mo Chridhe”) un canto in gaelico scozzese con una dolcissima slow air; Marjorie arrangiò la melodia e aggiunse un testo in inglese (sempre dalla penna del poeta-reverendo Kenneth MacLeod) intitolandola Eriskay Love Lilt ( in italiano “Nenia d’amore di Eriskay”). 

Judith Durham & The Seekers per ‘The Seekers At Home’ TV special (1967)

Siobhan Owen voce da uccello del paradiso, una giovanissima cantane e arpista gallese (il suo sito qui)

Alfred Deller (nel video immagini dell’isola, un incanto)

Quale donna non vorrebbe sentirsi sussurrare così dolci versi?


Chorus
Vair me o, ro van o (1)
Vair me o ro ven ee,
Vair me o ru o ho
Sad I am without thee.
I
When I’m lonely, dear white heart (2),
Black the night and wild the sea;
by love’s light my foot finds
The old pathway to thee.
II
Thou’rt the music of my heart,
Harp of joy, o cruit mo chridh’ (3),
Moon of guidance by night,
Strength and light thou’rt to me
III
In the morning, when I go
To the white and shining sea,
In the calling of the seals
Thy soft calling to me.
Traduzione italiano Cattia Salto
Ritornello 
Vair me o, ro van o
Vair me o ro ven ee,
Vair me o ru o ho
triste sono, senza te
I
Quando sono solo, caro cuore puro
oscura la notte e scatenato il mare,
i passi trovano, illuminati dall’amore,
il vecchio sentiero verso te.
II
Tu sei la musica del mio cuore
Arpa di gioia ” o cruit mo chridh‘”
luna che guidi nella notte
forza e luce tu sei per me
III
Al mattino quando vado
verso il mare spumoso e rilucente,
nel richiamo delle foche
(trovo) il tuo dolce richiamo per me.

NOTE
1) le parole non hanno significato in quanto sono solo suoni ossia la pronuncia delle corrispondenti frasi nella versione in gaelico scozzese
2) letteralmente “cuore bianco” ovvero una persona buona, onesta e generosa.
3) in gaelico scozzese letteralmente “arpa del mio cuore”

PER SAPERE TUTTO SULL’ISOLA

Eriskay è una piccola isola che fa parte delle Ebridi (le Ebridi Esterne) qui vi sbarcò il Bel Carletto nel 1745 alla volta della conquista del trono di Scozia. E’ un isola rocciosa collegata da una strada rialzata alla più grande isola South Uist: spiagge bianche, acque cristalline, foche e delfini, falchi, poiane, panorami mozzafiato!

eriskay

A poem of remote lives: i filmati di Werner Kissling nel 1934 http://ssa.nls.uk/film.cfm?fid=1701
Nel vedere il filmato si comprende come la musica sia parte integrante della dura vita contadina di un tempo: un lavoro collettivo acquisito da una secolare esperienza e in equilibrio con la terra, scandito dai canti della tradizione!

http://www.visit-uist.co.uk/default.asp?page=39
http://www.eriskayselfcatering.co.uk/html/exploring.html

FONTI
http://www.raretunes.org/performers/patuffa-kennedy-fraser/

Gruagach-Mhara: Oran mu’n Gruagaich (a song about the Gruagach)

In the Hebrides there are several songs that contain the term “Gruagach“, a sea maiden who could be a selkie or perhaps a mermaid.
Ultimately the Gruagach is another name of the Cailleach, the primeval goddess of creation as it is called in Scotland, whose memory has left a trace in Celtic folklore and speaks of a primordial cult preserved almost unchanged even during the rise of Christianity and practiced above all by women with shamanic powers (see introduction)
Nelle Isole Ebridi si trovano diverse canzoni che contengono il termine Gruagach, una fanciulla del mare che potrebbe essere una selkie o forse una sirena.
La Gruagach è un altro nome della Cailleach, la dea primigenia della creazione come viene chiamata in Scozia, il cui ricordo ha lasciato una traccia nel folklore celtico e ci parla di un culto primordiale conservatosi pressoché immutato anche durante l’affermarsi del Cristianesimo e praticato soprattutto dalle donne con poteri sciamanici (vedi prima parte)

Hill ò ho, Hù ill ò ho – Oran Luadhaidh

I found this text in Scottish Gaelic (although not yet an audio documentation) transcribed with musical line in the “Puirt-A-Beul” by Keith Norman MacDonald (1901) – the second great source for songs in Scottish Gaelic next to the collection of Frances Tolmie: the song is classified as a waulking song titled ORAN MU’N GHRUAGAICH (A SONG ABOUT THE GRUAGACH), or “Hill ò ho, Hù ill ò ho – Oran Luadhaidh”
Ho trovato il testo originario in gaelico scozzese (sebbene non ancora una documentazione audio) trascritto con rigo musicale nel “Puirt-A-Beul” di Keith Norman MacDonald (1901) -la seconda grande fonte per i canti in gaelico scozzese accanto alla raccolta di Frances Tolmie: la canzone è classificata come una waulking song dal titolo ORAN MU’N GHRUAGAICH (A SONG ABOUT THE GRUAGACH), sottotitolata “Hill ò ho, Hù ill ò ho – Oran Luadhaidh” 

The *Gruagach* here is a female.  Although a ‘maid of the sea’, she must not be pictured as the conventional golden-haired nude terminating in a fish’s tail.  The spectator, while searching for sheep, sees a grey-robed maiden sitting on a distant rock.  Raising her head, she stretches herself and assumes the form of the ‘animal without horns’.  Then ‘she went cleaving the sea on every side…towards the spacious region of the bountiful ones’.  Although the literal word ‘seal’ is not used, ‘the hornless animal’ whose form the mermaid took, one may suppose to be a seal.  The ‘grey robe’ of the maiden further points to her seal character, the seal being often described as ‘grey’.  ‘In the superstitious belief of the North,’ says Mr W.T. Dennison in his *Orcadian Sketch-book*, the seal held a far higher place than any of the lower animals, and had the power of assuming human form and faculties …  every true descendent of the Norseman looks upon the seal as a kind of second-cousin in disgrace.” ( Ethel Bassin “The Old Songs of Skye: Frances Tolmie and her Circle”, 1997 )
Così scrive Ethel BassinIl Gruagach qui è una femmina, sebbene sia una “fanciulla del mare” non la si deve immaginare come la solita donna nuda dai capelli biondi con la coda di pesce. Lo spettatore mentre bada alla pecore vede una fanciulla dal mantello grigio seduta su uno scoglio al largo. Nell’alzare la testa si allunga e prende la forma di  “un animale senza le corna”.  Poi “Fendette il mare da ogni lato .. verso l’immensità dell’oceano”. Sebbene non si usi il termine “seal” si suppone che ‘the hornless animal’ dalla coda di sirena potrebbe essere una foca. L’abito grigio è un ulteriore aggiunta alla sua caratteristica di foca grigia, il cui nome è spesso abbreviato in “grey”. ‘Nelle credenze del Nord- scrive  W.T. Dennison nel suo *Orcadian Sketch-book*- la foca occupava un posto privilegiato rispetto ad ogni altro animale inferiore e aveva il potere di assumere sembianze umane.. ogni vero discendete dai Norvegesi considera la foca come una specie di cugino di secondo grado caduto in disgrazia”

John Duncan (1866-1945), “The Kelpie”

Hill ò ho, Hù ill ò ho
‘S mis’ a chunnaic,
Hù ill ò ho
I
An diugh an t-iongnadh,
‘Sa ‘mhadainn mhoich ‘s mi
‘G irraidh chaorach!
Chunnacas Gruagach,
Chuailein chraobhaich
‘S i ‘na suidh air
Sgeir ‘na h-aonar,
Trusgan glas oirr’
Airson aodaich
II
Cha b’ fhad a bha
Sud a’ caochladh,
Thog i ‘ceann ‘s gu’n
D’ rinn i straoinadh,
‘S chaidh i ‘n riochd na
Béisde maoile (1).
III
Sgoltadh i ‘n cuan
Aig gach taobh dhi (2),
Troimh chaol Mhuile,
Troimh chaol Ile,
Troimh chaol Othasaidh
Mhic-a-Fitheadh
Gu tir fharsuinn
Nam fear fialaidh


Hill ò ho, Hù ill ò ho
‘Twas I who beheld
Hù ill ò ho
I
Today the wonder
In the morning early
When seeking sheep
A maiden was seen
Of flowing hair
And she was sitting
On a rock alone
A grey robe on her
For her clothing
II
‘Twas not long
Before that changed
She raised her head
And stretching herself
She took the form of
A hornless brute (1)
III
She clove the sea
Upon each side (2)
Thro’ the Sound of Mull
Thro’ the Sound of Islay
Thro’ the Sound of Oransay
Of MacPhee!
To the wide territory
of the munificent ones
Traduzione italiano Cattia Salto
Hill ò ho, Hù ill ò ho
‘sono io il testimone
Hù ill ò ho
I
Oggi un evento meraviglioso
all’alba
mentre cercavo le pecore
vidi una fanciulla
dai capelli fluenti
che era seduta
su una roccia solitaria
con un manto grigio
come vestito
II
Non ci volle molto
prima che mutasse
alzò la testa
e si allungò
e prese la forma di 
un animale senza le corna
III
Fendeva il mare
con la pinna della coda
dallo stretto di Mull
dallo stretto di Islay
dallo stretto di Oransay
di MacPhee!
all’immensità
dell’oceano

NOTE
Puirt-A-Beul “Mouth-tunes,” or “Songs for Dancing.” By Dr. Keith N. MacDonald
1) in the popular tradition the gruagach is associated with a sacred cow from the sea and with a hollowed-out stones, a supernatural creature originally surely of female gender, guardian of the cattle of a given territory, its shape when it dives into the sea is however shrouded in mystery.
nella tradizione popolare la gruagach è associata ad una vacca sacra giunta dal mare e ad una pietra coppellata, una creatura soprannaturale in origine sicuramente di genere femminile,  guardiana del bestiame di un determinato territorio, la sua forma quando si getta in mare è tuttavia avvolta nel mistero. 
2) probable reference to the typical seal swimming which gives its movement with the short and webbed front legs to form a single “fin”
letteralmente “da ogni lato” probabile riferimento al tipico nuoto della foca che imprime il suo movimento con le zampe corte e palmate anteriori a formare un’unica “pinna”

The Seal-Maiden (Gruagach-Mhara): Ho eel yo

The English version of the previous song is arranged by Marjory Kennedy-Fraser in her “Songs of the Hebrides”. In this context the term “Gruagach” coupled with “mhara” means a sea maiden, a selkie.
La versione in inglese del precedente canto è arrangiata da Marjory Kennedy-Fraser nel suo “Songs of the Hebrides“. In questo contesto il termine “Gruagach” accoppiato a “mhara” è usato nel senso di fanciulla del mare che sta a indicare una selkie
A shepherd has the good fortune to witness the mutation of a black-haired girl: in a moment she wears the gray coat and turns into a seal and throws herself into the sea to swim towards the wild sea. The musical structure is derived from a waulking song, in which the part of the choir is mostly formed by nonsense phrases that are transcribed phonetically.

Un pastore ha la ventura di assistere alla trasformazione di una fanciulla dai capelli neri: in un attimo ella indossa il grigio manto mutandosi in foca e si getta nel mare per nuotare verso il vasto oceano. La struttura musicale è derivata da una waulking song, in cui la parte del coro è formata per lo più da frasi non-sense che vengono trascritte foneticamente.


Early one morning Ho eel yo
stray sheep a seeking Ho eel yo
Great wonder saw I Ho eel yo
fair seal-maiden Ho eel yo
Glossy her dark hair Ho eel yo
Veiling her fair form Ho eel yo
Heel yo heel yo rova ho
lone on sea-rock sat the maiden.
Heel yo heel yo rova ho
Grey her long robe closely clinging
Heel yo heel yo rova ho
When great wonder! Ho eel yo
Suddendly changed she Ho eel yo
Heel yo heel yo rova ho
raised her head she,
stretched she outward
Heel yo heel yo rova ho
Diving seaward Ho eel yo
Smooth seal-headed she Ho eel yo
Out by the teal-tracks Ho eel yo
Cleaving the sea-waves Ho eel yo
Heel yo heel yo rova ho

Through Chaol Mhuille
Through Chaol Ile
Heel yo heel yo rova ho
To the far blue bounteous ocean!
Traduzione italiano Cattia Salto
Al mattino presto
in cerca di una pecora smarrita
vidi con grande stupore
una bella fanciulla-foca.
Lucidi i suoi neri capelli
che coprivano il suo bel corpo,
Heel yo heel yo rova ho
da sola sulla roccia sedeva la fanciulla.
Heel yo heel yo rova ho
Grigia la sua lunga veste aderente,
Heel yo heel yo rova ho
quando oh meraviglia!
All’improvviso lei è cambiata
Heel yo heel yo rova ho
rialzando la testa
si protese in avanti
Heel yo heel yo rova ho
verso il mare
la levigata testa di foca
sulle tracce dell’alzavola
a fendere le onde del mare
Heel yo heel yo rova ho
per l’Isola di Mull,
per l’Isola di Isla
Heel yo heel yo rova ho
verso il lontano oceano meravigliosamente blu!

ORAN MU’N GHRUAGAICH (A SONG ABOUT THE GRUAGACH)

But with the same title, and always in the waulking songs, another song has also been handed down, in which, however, the gruagach is of male gender. Frances Tolmie writes “The subject of this song is the lamentation of a mother over her daughter, who had died in a strange manner when they were staying together at a sheiling in a lonely part of Glen Macaskill- One evening when gathering the cows into the fold, a cow becoming restive, the young woman drove her in with rude words and blows. But the Friend of the Cattle, know as the Gruagach (occasionally assuming the appeareance of a beautiful youth with long golden hair and a wonderfully white bosom) was at that moment, though invisible, standing near, and on his smiting the girl with a rod which always had in his hand, she straightway fell down dead. Her mother was mourning iver her all night, and the Gruagach, leaning against the upper beam of the dwelling, gazed at her till break of day, when he vanished.”
Ma con lo stesso titolo, e sempre nelle waulking song si è tramandata anche un’altra canzone, in cui però il gruagach è di genere maschile. Scrive Frances Tolmie“L’argomento di questa canzone è il lamento di una madre per la figlia,  morta in uno strano modo quando erano insieme ai pascoli in una parte solitaria del Glen Macaskill. Una sera mentre radunavano le mucche nel recinto, la giovane spinse una mucca ritrosa colpendola con male parole. Ma il Protettore del bestiame, noto come il Gruagach (che assume occasionalmente l’apparenza di una bella fanciulla con lunghi capelli dorati e un seno meravigliosamente bianco) si trovava in quel momento, anche se invisibile, in piedi vicino e lei e con un bastone che aveva sempre in mano colpì la ragazza , che cadde immediatamente a terra morta. La madre la pianse per tutta la notte, e il Gruagach, appoggiato alla trave del capanno, la fissò fino allo spuntar del giorno, e poi scomparve

Jo Morrison in “A Waulking Tour of Scotland” 2000

Christine Primrose in “Gun Sireadh, Gun Iarraidh‘ (‘Without Seeking, Without Asking’) 2001 

♪ (Spotify)

I
Chaor-ain nach deàn thu sol us dhomh
E-hò hi ri, rith ibh ò hò
Gus am faic mi fear àrd a bhroill-ich ghil!
E-hò hi ri, rith ibh ò hò, hi rì, hò rionn ò
II
Buachaille luaineach mu bhruachan a’ ghlinne-s’ thu,
Air an d’ fbàs a’ ghruag ‘na clannaoibh air
III
‘S mis a’ bhean bhochd tha gu brònach
‘S mis a’ ghleannan so ‘nam ònar (sonar)
IV
‘S mis a’ bhean bhochd tha gu cràidhteach,
‘S mi ‘gad cbàradh, laoigh do mhàthar.
V
‘S mi gun phiuthar! ‘S mi gun bhràthair.
Rìgh nan dùl! Bi teachd làimh rium


I
O Ember , do you give me light
so that I may behold him
who is of lofty stature and white bosom (1)
II
Swift-footed herdsman (2) on the slopes of the glen, on whose head the hair has grown in curling locks
III
Oh a sorrowful woman am I,
mouring solitary in this glen
IV
Sorely afflicted and in anguish,
laying thee out, thou darling of thy mother
V
Having no sister nor a brother,
King of Nature, be thou near me! (3)
Traduzione italiano Cattia Salto
I
O fiammella, fammi luce
affinchè io possa vederlo
colui che è alto potente e dal petto chiaro
II
Custode del gregge dal rapido piè sui pendii della valle, dal capo su cui crescono capelli lunghi e fluenti
III
Che donna trista sono
piangente sola in questa forra
IV
Tanto afflitta e angosciata
ti sto accanto, caro tesoro di mamma,
V
senza sorella o fratello;
Re della Natura, stammi vicino

NOTE
from the testimony of Effie Ross (Cottar) of Bracadale, Skye 1861
dalla testimonianza di Effie Ross (Cottar) di Bracadale, Skye 1861
1) the mother is alone in the hut of the mountain pasture to watch over the body of the dead daughter because struck by the staff of the gruagach, and looking through the embers of the semi-extinguished fire she invokes the vision
la madre si trova sola nel capanno dell’alpeggio a vegliare il corpo della figlia morta perchè colpita dal bastone del gruagach, e guardando tra la brace del fuoco semi spento ne invoca la visione 
2) the gruagach is a tutelary deity, the protector of the cattle that in the background of history has crushed the life of a young (and inexperienced) girl who went with her mother on the high pastures with the cattle, the girl has abused a cow reluctant to return into the fence for the night and she is killed by the gruagach
il gruagach è il nume tutelare protettore del bestiame che nell’antefatto della storia ha stroncato la vita di una giovane (e inesperta) fanciulla andata con la madre sui pascoli alti con il bestiame, la fanciulla ha maltrattato una mucca riluttante a rientrare nel recinto per la notte ed è punita con la morta dal gruagach 
3) Just as it protects the cattle, the gruagach also protects the shepherds and in particular the children left alone by their mothers to watch over the grazing animals. The mother, though saddened by the death of her only daughter, is not embittered towards the gruagach who has done nothing but act according to his inscrutable divine nature
Così come protegge il bestiame il gruagach protegge anche i pastori e in particolare i bambini lasciati soli dalle madri per sorvegliare gli animali al pascolo. La madre pur addolorata per la morte dell’unica figlia non è amareggiata verso il gruagach che non ha fatto altro che agire secondo la sua natura divina imperscrutabile

LINK
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=51669
http://www.celticlyricscorner.net/cormack/gruagach.htm
http://www.booksfromscotland.com/Authors/Stuart-McHardy
http://www.aniodhlann.org.uk/documents/t1999-157-3d.html?CFID=24022064&CFTOKEN=66534791
http://www.templerecords.co.uk/products/christine-primrose-gun-sireadh-gun-iarraidh
http://pmjohngrant.com/2018/02/ot-2-march-1901-keith-n-macdonald-puirt-a-beul-mouth-tunes-or-songs-for-dancing-mus/

KISHMUL’S GALLEY OR THE STORY OF ‘UNA THE LONELY’

Beinn A’ Cheathaich,  canzone in gaelico scozzese delle isole Ebridi, è stata tradotta in inglese con due diversi titoli e qualche lieve differenza tra le due traduzioni. Nelle note a corollario dello spartito pubblicato nel suo “Songs of the HebridesMarjory Kennedy-Fraser favoleggia la storia di ‘Una the Lonely’ che dopo aver perso (come tante altre spose dei border reivers) padre, marito e figli, si reca sulla cima del Beann a’ Cheathaich con l’intento di buttarsi giù.
Ma mentre scruta il mare per l’ultima volta vede la galea di Kishmul che ritorna a Barra, lottando tra i flutti di un mare minaccioso e avverso, così dalla tenacia degli uomini, trova la forza per continuare a vivere.
Scrive Marjory Kennedy-Fraser “Una the lonely sat on a hill top on the isle of Barra, thinking of the queer things of life–the heath that is plucked ere it comes to bloom, the boat that goes down in the mouth of the harbour, the great sea that brings wealth to one and death to the other.
She had drunk her fill of the three sorrows of a woman, the sorrow of the orphan, the sorrow of a widow and the sorrow of the mother, and sure, having nothing now to work or hope for in this life, it would be no sorrow at all for her to sleep with the other tired women in the quiet kirkyard.
Una the lonely looked out to sea and looking forgot her thoughts. The waves were boiling with rage because the wind was laughing and mocking them; and far out, Kishmul’s Galley, with Macneill of Barra and the bravest of his lads on board, was turning her head towards the bay and the old castle of the clan. But Oh Great being of the graces, as soon as the waves and wind noticed the galley, they straightaway forgot their own quarrel and must need join hands to drown the pluckiest galley in the Isles. Let me swallow her said the sea, opening it, s great mouth–but like the mountain stag, Kishmul’s galley bounded to the top of the nearest wave. Let me topple her over said the wind, loud blowing with all its might, but like the seal of Lochlann, the galley darted down into a sea-glen. Wild with anger the waves sprang at her planks and the wind tattered her sails and snapped her rigging–but let them do their worst, Kishmul’s Galley was ever the darling to carry her dear ones safely home. And Macneill of Barra and his men began to sing a song of triumph–they could see the old castle now, where the good things in life were waiting for them; the red wine, the feasting, the harping, and the best of all, the love of women and the prattle of children. Don’t be so sure said the wind, drawing its whole breath into its lungs. But ere the great effort came, the galley suddenly darted into the quiet of the bay, leaving wind and wave taunting each other with defeat. And Una the lonely, watching from the hilltop, leapt to her feet and–O Mother of God cried she what if yon galley be me”

ASCOLTA Alistair Reese la versione più cadenzata che richiama quella dei Corries

ASCOLTA Muriel Brunskil nella versione d’antan con l’arrangiamento di Marjory Kennedy-Fraser

VERSIONE CORRIES
I
High on the Benachie(1)
On that day of days,
seaward I gaze
Watching Kishmul’s Galley(2) sailing
CHORUS
Ah-hee Ah-hoo-oh
Vall-eee Ah-hoo-oh
II
Bravely against wind and tide
They have brought us to ‘neath Kishmul’s walls
Kishmul’s castle(3) of ancient glory
III
Homeward she bravely battles,
‘Gainst the hurtling waves,
Nor hoop nor yards,
Anchor, cable nor tackle has she.
IV
Here’s red wine, a toast to heroes(4)
And harping too, and harping too
Watching Kishmul’s galley sailing
VERSIONE KENNEDY-FRASER
I
High from the Ben a Hayich
On a day of days
Seaward I gaz’d,
Watching Kishmul’s galley(2) sailing.
CHORUS
O hio huo faluo!
Vall-eee Ah-hoo-oh
II
Homeward she bravely battles
‘Gainst the hurtling waves
Nor hoop nor yards,
Anchor, cable, nor tackle has she.
III
Now at last ‘gainst wind and tide
They’ve brought her to
‘Neath Kishmul’s walls,
Kishmul Castle(3) our ancient glory.
IV
Here’s red wine(4) and feast for heroes(5)
And harping too, O hio hu!
Sweet harping too! O hio huo faluo!

NOTE
1) Kennedy-Fraser scrisse  “Ben a Hayich”, come fonetica dal gaelico ma fu storpiato in Benachie
2) una scottish galley ovvero una galea a vela costruita nel Medioevo dagli scozzesi delle isole  ma con le caratteristiche proprie della nave vichinga, lunga e bassa che si muoveva a remi e dotata di una vela quadrata, la quale poteva portare un equipaggio di una sessantina di guerrieri.
3) Kisimul’s Castle è un pittoresco castello medievale costruito su un isolotto al largo di Castlebay , sede del capo clan O’Neil di Barra
4) la prodigalità nell’elargire ospitalità e allestire banchetti era, nel periodo pre-medievale e non solo, requisito essenziale del capo clan.
5) Ovviamente siano festeggiati gli eroici guerrieri e cantate le loro imprese, anche se ribaltando la prospettiva, essi erano niente più che dei predoni del mare che non si facevano scrupolo a saccheggiare le altre navi (e non solo quelle degli odiati inglesi) o i villaggi delle coste dei clan rivali o dell’Irlanda

TRADUZIONE ITALIANO DI CATTIA SALTO: Dall’alto del monte un giorno di quelli scrutavo il mare, per guardare la galea di Kishmul che navigava dritta verso casa, combatteva con ardimento, contro le onde minacciose, senza vedetta, pennone, ancora, cime, né traino. Poi alla infine contro vento e marea, l’hanno condotta sotto le mura di Kishmul, castello di Kishmul gloria dei nostri antenati. Ecco il vino rosso e il festino per gli eroi al dolce suono dell’arpa.

Una versione più estesa è raccolta in “Hebridean Folksongs“, volume I, (1969), di Dr. John Lorne Campbell (1909-1996) e Francis James Montgomery Collinson (1898-1984),
Nel testo la nave non sta ritornando a casa ma è rivolta verso il vasto oceano


One day on the misty mountain,
Rounding up the sheep to get them,
Not the pair of the two sisters,
Nor the small pair of the road’s end,
‘Twas I myself beheld the vision,
Seeing thy galley going past me,
Setting her head to the wide ocean,
From MacNeil of Barra’s country,
Out from Cíosamul’s joyful Castle,
Where we used to be a-feasting,
Drinking wine from dawn till nightfall,
Shouts of men their ale a-drinking,
With women wearing brown silk dresses;
‘Tis I am who am afflicted
If Clan Neil’s boat has passed me,
She broke the cable and left the anchor,
She broke the best rope that was on her;
I knew the men engaged upon her,
Great Gill’ Eoghanain(6) the hero,
Gloomy Neil(7), son of noisy Rory(8),
And the handsome heir, young Rory,
Fair Rory, apt for manly action,
Red Murdo from the end of the clachan,
Little Murdo, wed to Lachlan’s daughter,
And the two sons of John MacPherson,
Gun(9) and shield befit your handgrasps,
And dark blue bonnet on curling back-locks(10).
TRADUZIONE ITALIANO DI CATTIA SALTO
Un giorno sul monte avvolto dalla nebbia
a radunare il gregge
non la coppia delle due sorelle
e nemmeno la biforcazione alla fine della strada
contemplai io stesso una visione
vidi la galea passarmi accanto
con la prora verso il vasto oceano
dalla terra dei MacNeil di Barra
dal ridente castello di Kisimul
dove siamo soliti banchettare
bevendo vino dall’alba al tramonto,
il grido degli uomini per bere la loro birra
le donne che indossano seta rosso scuro;
Sono io che sono rammaricato
se la barca del clan Neil mi è passata accanto,
ha spezzato la cima e lasciato l’ancora
ha spezzato la migliore cima che aveva;
conoscevo gli uomini imbarcati
Gilleonan(6), il grande eroe,
Neil(7) il taciturno, figlio di Rory(8) il chiaccherone
e il bell’erede, il giovane Rory
Rory il biondo versato nelle imprese virili,
Murdo il Rosso alla testa del villaggio
il piccolo Murdo, sposato alla figlia di Lachlan
e i due figli di John MacPherson,
pistola(9) e scudo si adattano alle vostre prese
e il berretto blu scuro sui riccioli raccolti indietro(10)

NOTE
6) Gilleonan fu capo clan dal 1655 to 1670
7) il giovane Rory era il figlio di Gilleonan
8) ‘Noisy Rory’ (‘the tartar’) il capo precedente risalente al c.1594-1620.
9) immersi in una visione mitica dei prodi guerrieri veniamo bruscamente riportati all’epoca in cui probabilmente è stato scritto il canto ovvero il 1700!
10) un’altra descrizione dei capelli portati con i dreadlocks (vedi)! Una moda che era antica se già nelle statue della Grecia arcaica possiamo ammirare i fluenti capelli in boccoli (e non solo) dei guerrieri. L’acconciatura descritta con due parole è quella dei capelli “intrecciati” (alcuni direbbero aggrovigliati) in lunghe ciocche e riuniti sul dietro in modo che restino aderenti alla nuca e lascino la fronte libera (non fosse mai che il guerriero ci lasciasse la pelle a causa di una ciocca caduta sugli occhi nella foga del duello )

kroisos-grrecia-attica
Kouros di Kroisos (da Anavyssos), 530-520 a.C. circa

la prima parte qui

FONTI
https://castlesintheworld.wordpress.com/2016/03/12/castello-kisimul/
https://anglofolksongs.wordpress.com/2015/10/22/beinn-a-cheathaich-the-misty-mountain/
http://ingeb.org/songs/highfrom.html
http://www.celticlyricscorner.net/oldblinddogs/gaelic.htm
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=20960
http://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/en/fullrecord/24097/8;jsessionid=C0743594FFFEB061E5D693912BB1BA55
http://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/fullrecord/22602/1;jsessionid=295446BC486F5AC49B5BCCD69074FFDB
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=8189
http://scotsongs.blogspot.it/2005/10/kishmuls-galley-kishmul-was-legendary.html