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/

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

Outlander: Wool Waulking Songs

Leggi in italiano

FROM  OUTLANDER SAGA

Diana Gabaldon

“Hot piss sets the dye fast,” one of the women had explained to me as I blinked, eyes watering, on my first entrance to the shed. The other women had watched at first, to see if I would shrink back from the work, but wool-waulking was no great shock, after the things I had seen and done in France, both in the war of 1944 and the hospital of 1744. Time makes very little difference to the basic realities of life. And smell aside, the waulking shed was a warm, cozy place, where the women of Lallybroch visited and joked between bolts of cloth, and sang together in the working, hands moving rhythmically across a table, or bare feet sinking deep into the steaming fabric as we sat on the floor, thrusting against a partner thrusting back.”
(From DRAGONFLY IN AMBER, Chapter 34, “The Postman Always Rings Twice”. Copyright© 1992 by Diana Gabaldon.)
The Scottish women have developed a particular technique for the twisting of the tweed, that woolen fabric from Scotland, warm, resistant and almost indestructible, used by fishermen and shepherds to keep warmer in a climate so cold and windy.
Cloth were “mistreated” by a group of women sitting around a table with 4 beat: first, the fabric is banged on the table in front of you, then slammed towards the center of the table, then returned to the initial position and then is passed to the next woman (clockwise). To count the time and make the work less monotonous the women sang some songs, there was the ban dhuan (or the song-woman) that directed the song, while the others followed her in the refrain. After some songs the fabric was softer, thicker, and more tightly woven.

OUTLANDER TV, season I: “Rent”

In Outlander TV serie this glimpse of life in a scottish village of eighteenth-century, is developed in the Dougal Mackenzie’s journey, as he collects rents from the tenants of Castel Leoch. Claire goes on the road with Dougal, and almost by chance, she hears some voices and sees the women as they are waulking the tweeds.

Outlander I, episode 5: Mo Nighean Donn

English transaltion*
Oh how my mind is heavy
as I’m north west of the Storr (1)
[Sèist:]
My brown haired girl hò gù Hì rì rì hù lò
My brown haired girl hò gù.
My brown haired girl, I remark
thee
At the fair of the young women.
[Sèist]
Hì rì rì hù lò  My brown haired girl hò gù.
And we will walk hand in hand
[Sèist]
Hì rì rì hù lò  My brown haired girl hò gù.
Regardless of any living elders (2).

Gur e mise tha fo ghruaim
‘S mi ‘n taobh tuath dhan an Stòr.
[Sèist:]
Mo nigh’n donn hò gù Hì rì rì hù lò
Mo nigh’n donn hò gù 
Mo nigh’n donn shònruich mi fhéin thu
ann an broad nam ban òg
[Sèist]
Hì rì rì hù lò Mo nigh’n donn hò gù 
‘S bidh mo làmh na do làimh
[Sèist]
Hì rì rì hù lò Mo nigh’n donn hò gù 
Dh’aindeoin èildeir tha beò.

NOTES
1)  The Storr is a rocky hill on the Trotternish peninsula of the Isle of Skye in Scotland
2) Similar expressions are recurrent in popular songs when a young couple “swimmed against the tide” about courtship and don’t followed the tradition.  (celtic wedding)

Clair takes part in the fulling of the tweed and sings with the village women. The ban dhuan is Fiona Mackenzie

Two are the Wool Waulking Songs  in  Outlander: Season 1, Vol. 2 (Original Television Soundtrack) 
Latha Siubhal Beinne Dhomh” and “Mo Nighean Donn” (a tribute to Claire’s brown hair)

Latha Siubhal Beinne Dhomh

Originally from the island of Barra “Latha Siubhal Beinne Dhomh” (One day as I roamed the hills) is about a man roaming around the Highlands, who comes across a beautiful young girl gathering herbs; these accidental encounters on the moors (between the heather and the broom in bloom) are the subject of many traditional Scottish songs from ancient origins, and often man is not limited to the request for a kiss! The girl rejects him because she considers him a vagabond. As usual in the choice of musical tracks, the lyrics always have an affinity with the story told in the saga.

Hi ill eo ro bha ho
Hi ill eo bhòidheach
‘S na hi ill eo ro bha ho

English translation*
One day as I was traveling a hill
A day of traveling moorland
I met a girl
beautiful, tresses in her hair
A little knife in her hand
As she was reaping daisies
As she was reaping watercress
I went over to her
And I asked her for a kiss
“Oh, oh, my! (1)
O hairy old man! (2)


(It’s in my own father’s house
That the company would be found:
Twenty hatted-men
A dozen cloaked women
With white towels
Spread out on tables
With clay cups
And glasses full of beer)”


Latha siubhal beinne dhomh
Latha siubhal mòintich
Thachair orm gruagach
Dhualach, bhòidheach
Sgian bheag na làimh
‘S i ri buain neòinean
‘S i ri buain biolaire
Theann mi null rithe
Dh’ iarr mi pòg oirre
Ud! Ud! Ud-ag araidh!
A bhodachain ròmaich


(‘S ann an taigh m’ athar fhèin
Gheibht’ an còmhlan
Fichead fear adadh ann
Dusan bean cleòca
Tubhailtean geal aca
Sgaoilt’ air bhòrdaibh
Cupannan crèadh’ aca
‘S glainneachan beòraich)

NOTES
1) or “Hoots toots!”
2) or ” you shaggy old man!”, a shaggy peasant

Mo Nighean Donn

“Mo Nighean Donn” (My brown-haired lass) does not have a real meaning, it seems more than the ban dhuan to report the gossip of the moment.  Outlander: Season 1, Vol. 2 (Original Television Soundtrack) 
Dougie MacLean in Whitewash 1990 
(a Celtic song with instrumental parts and male voice)

English translation*
Oh how my mind is heavy
as I’m north west of the Storr
[choir]
My brown haired girl hò gù Hì rì rì hù lò
My brown haired girl hò gù.
Right now I’m in the loch by forest
And Effie will not be joning me.
The militia has been risen
And that will take away the young lads from us.
They will be out for a month
This will not leave us full of sadness.
My brown haired girl who gained recognition
At the fair of the young women.
My brown haired girl won a bet
Where the warriors were encamped
I’m tired of setting my nets
In the lower parts of each cove.
(I will head over the hill
Where there is the beautiful young women.
And we will walk hand in hand
Regardless of any living elders.
And my hand will be around you
Though I’d prefer to embrace you.
And if I manage to reach over to you
You’ll get a crown in your hand.
You’ll get that and something better
A good, young, strong sailor.)

Gur e mise tha fo ghruaim
‘S mi ‘n taobh tuath dhan an Stòr.
[Sèist]
Mo nigh’n donn hò gù Hì rì rì hù lò
Mo nigh’n donn hò gù
‘N-dràst’ an loch fada choill
‘S nach tig Oighrig nam chòir.
Thog iad a’ mhailisi suas
‘S bheir siud bhuainn gillean òg.
Cha bhi iad a-muigh ach mìos
‘S cha bhi ‘n cianalas oirnn.
Mo nighean donn choisinn cliù
Ann an cùirt nam ban òg.
Mo nighean donn choisinn geall
Far na champaich na seòid.
Tha mi sgìth cur mo lìon
Ann an iochdar gach òb.
Thèid mi null air a’ bheinn
Far eil loinn nam ban òg.
(‘S bidh mo làmh na do làimh
Dh’aindeoin èildeir tha beò.
‘S bhiodh mo làmh mud chùl bhàn
Gad a gheàrrt’ i mun dòrn.
Ach ma ruigeas mise null
Gheibh thu crùin na do dhòrn.
Gheibh thu sin is rud nas fheàrr
Maraiche math làidir òg.)

LINK
http://www.bbc.co.uk/alba/oran/orain/latha_siubhal_beinne_dhomh/
http://s3.spanglefish.com/s/10130/documents/songs/latha%20siubhal%20beinne%20dhomh.pdf
https://virtualgael.files.wordpress.com/2017/05/lathasiubhalbeinne.pdf
http://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/en/fullrecord/39128/10
http://www.smo.uhi.ac.uk/gaidhlig/alltandubh/orain/Latha_Siubhal_Beinne.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/alba/oran/orain/mo_nighean_donn/
http://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/en/fullrecord/97218/1;jsessionid=F3FF526DC4C88B40F544EE4E1332E1D6
http://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/en/fullrecord/100031/1
http://totalsketch.com/shed-life/

Outlander: Wool Waulking Songs

Read the post in English

DALLA SAGA OUTLANDER

Diana Gabaldon

Nel libro “”Il ritorno” (capitolo 11) della saga Outlander scritta da Diana Gabaldon Claire è invitata dalle donne di Lallybroch a prendere un tè e assiste alla follatura del tweed che si svolge in un apposito capanno “riservato” alle donne della tenuta
““Hot piss sets the dye fast,” one of the women had explained to me as I blinked, eyes watering, on my first entrance to the shed. The other women had watched at first, to see if I would shrink back from the work, but wool-waulking was no great shock, after the things I had seen and done in France, both in the war of 1944 and the hospital of 1744. Time makes very little difference to the basic realities of life. And smell aside, the waulking shed was a warm, cozy place, where the women of Lallybroch visited and joked between bolts of cloth, and sang together in the working, hands moving rhythmically across a table, or bare feet sinking deep into the steaming fabric as we sat on the floor, thrusting against a partner thrusting back.” continua
Le donne scozzesi hanno elaborato una tecnica particolare per la follatura del tweed, quel tessuto di lana originario dalla Scozia, caldo, resistente e pressoché indistruttibile, utilizzato dai pescatori e pastori per tenersi più al caldo in un clima così freddo e ventoso.
Per infeltrire la lana ma in modo uniforme e migliorane le prestazioni  le pezze di stoffa venivano “maltrattate” da un gruppo di donne sedute introno ad un tavolo (precedentemente immerse in grandi tinozze piene di urina); il movimento della battitura consisteva in 4 tempi: prima si sbatteva il tessuto sul tavolo davanti a sé, poi si sbatteva verso il centro del tavolo, quindi si riportava alla posizione iniziale e infine lo si passava alla donna successiva (in senso orario). Per contare il tempo e rendere meno monotono il lavoro le donne cantavano delle canzoni, c’era la  ban dhuan (ovvero la donna-canzone) che dirigeva il canto, mentre le altre la seguivano nel ritornello. Dopo qualche canzone il tessuto diventava più morbido, ma anche più compatto e resistente.

OUTLANDER TV, stagione I: “Riscossione”

Nella serie televisiva questo scorcio di vita nei villaggi della Scozia settecentesca è sviluppato nel giro di Dougal  Mackenzie di Castel Leoch presso gli affittuari per la riscossione dei tributi. Quasi per caso Clarie sentento delle voci, si avvicina alle donne mentre infeltriscono il tweed.

Outlander I episodio 5: Mo Nighean Donn

Gur e mise tha fo ghruaim
‘S mi ‘n taobh tuath dhan an Stòr.
[Sèist:]
Mo nigh’n donn hò gù Hì rì rì hù lò
Mo nigh’n donn hò gù 
Mo nigh’n donn shònruich mi fhéin thu
ann an broad nam ban òg
[Sèist]
Hì rì rì hù lò Mo nigh’n donn hò gù 
‘S bidh mo làmh na do làimh
[Sèist]
Hì rì rì hù lò Mo nigh’n donn hò gù 
Dh’aindeoin èildeir tha beò.

Traduzione inglese*
Oh how my mind is heavy
as I’m north west of the Storr
My brown haired girl hò gù
Hì rì rì hù lò
My brown haired girl hò gù.
My brown haired girl, I remark thee
At the fair of the young women.
And we will walk hand in hand
Regardless of any living elders.
Traduzione italiana Cattia Salto
Oh quali pensieri tormentati
mentre sono a nord ovest di Storr (1)
la mia brunetta hò gù
Hì rì rì hù lò
la mia bella brunetta.
O mia brunetta, ti ho notata
al mercato delle belle fanciulle
e cammineremo mano nella mano
nonostante tutti i pettegoli (2)

NOTE
1) il “vecchio uomo di Storr” (the Old Man of Storr) è un pinnacolo di basalto alto una cinquantina di metri che sorge sull’Isola di Skye, la più grande delle Ebridi Interne (Scozia)
2) letteralmente “nonostante tutti gli antenati” cioè a dispetto delle tradizioni. Espressioni simili sono ricorrenti nei canti popolari quando una giovane coppia andava “contro corrente” cioè non si seguivano le tradizioni in merito al corteggiamento: erano i genitori a combinare le unioni, in genere tra persone della stessa classe sociale e mezzi economici, i bei ragazzi ma senza arte ne parte, potevano ricevere il consenso solo in vista di un’improvvisa fortuna  (matrimonio celtico)

 

Clair partecipa alla follatura del tweed e canta insieme alle donne del villaggio. La ban dhuan è Fiona Mackenzie

Le Wool Waulking Songs sono due in  Outlander: Season 1, Vol. 2 (Original Television Soundtrack) 
la prima più veloce “Latha Siubhal Beinne Dhomh“, la seconda vista nel video “Mo Nighean Donn” (un omaggio ai capelli castani di Claire)

Latha Siubhal Beinne Dhomh

Originaria dell’isola di Barra,  la canzone parla di un uomo in giro per le Highland che s’imbatte in una bella fanciulla intenta a raccogliere delle erbe, questi incontri fortuiti nelle brughiere (tra l’erica e la ginestra in fiore) sono il soggetto di molti canti tradizionali della Scozia dalle origini antiche e spesso l’uomo non si limita alla richiesta di un bacetto! La fanciulla lo respinge perchè lo reputa un vagabondo. Come consuetudine nella scelta delle tracce musicali i testi hanno sempre un’attinenza con la storia narrata nella saga.

Hi ill eo ro bha ho
Hi ill eo bhòidheach
‘S na hi ill eo ro bha ho
Latha siubhal beinne dhomh
Latha siubhal mòintich
Thachair orm gruagach
Dhualach, bhòidheach
Sgian bheag na làimh
‘S i ri buain neòinean
‘S i ri buain biolaire
Theann mi null rithe
Dh’ iarr mi pòg oirre
Ud! Ud! Ud-ag araidh! (1)
A bhodachain ròmaich
(‘S ann an taigh m’ athar fhèin
Gheibht’ an còmhlan
Fichead fear adadh ann
Dusan bean cleòca
Tubhailtean geal aca
Sgaoilt’ air bhòrdaibh
Cupannan crèadh’ aca
‘S glainneachan beòraich)

Traduzione inglese*
One day as I was traveling a mountain
A day of traveling moorland
I met a girl
beautiful, tresses in her hair
A little knife in her hand
As she was reaping daisies
As she was reaping watercress
I went over to her
And I asked her for a kiss
“Oh, oh, my! (1)
O hairy old man! (2)
(It’s in my own father’s house
That the company would be found:
Twenty hatted-men (3)
A dozen cloaked women
With white towels
Spread out on tables
With clay cups
And glasses full of beer)”
Traduzione italiana Cattia Salto
Un giorno che ero in viaggio per i monti
un giorno che ero in viaggio per la brughiera incontrani una ragazza
dalle belle trecce
con un piccolo pugnale tra le mani
stava tagliando delle margherite
e raccoglieva il crescione.
Mi sono avvicinato
e le ho chiesto un bacio.
“Smamma bello
Vattene zoticone!
(Nella mia dimora di famiglia
si trovano nobili genti
una ventina di uomini con il cappello
una dozzina di donne con il mantello
bianche tovaglie
stese sui tavoli
con tazze di percellana
e bicchieri pieni di birra.)”

NOTE
il canto è stato tramandato in una versione più estesa  e le strofe mancanti sono state messe tra parentesi
1) l’espressione tradotta anche come “Hoots toots!”  è un modo colloquiale per respingere una persona sgradita
2) anche tradotto come ” you shaggy old man!” letteralmente “piccolo vecchio peloso” vecchio ha un significato colloquiale che non necessariemnte indica una persione anziana, nel contesto la frase è un appellativo rivolto a un vagabondo malandato, dai capelli lunghi e la barba incolta, anche bifolco
3) indossare il cappello è d’obbligo per un gentiluomo

Mo Nighean Donn

La canzone “Mo Nighean Donn” (la mia ragazza castana) non ha un vero e proprio significato, sembra più altro che la ban dhuan  riferisca i gossip del momento. La versione in  Outlander: Season 1, Vol. 2 (Original Television Soundtrack)  è più lunga rispetto alla versione nelle riprese
Dougie MacLean in Whitewash 1990 
Negli anni 40-50 con il tramonto della lavorazione artigianale (in particolare dell’Harris Tweed) queste canzoni di lavoro sono diventate occasione di session dimostrative o sono passate nei repertori di alcuni gruppi di musica celtica con l’inserimento di parti strumentali e voci maschili.

Gur e mise tha fo ghruaim
‘S mi ‘n taobh tuath dhan an Stòr.
[Sèist]
Mo nigh’n donn hò gù Hì rì rì hù lò
Mo nigh’n donn hò gù
‘N-dràst’ an loch fada choill
‘S nach tig Oighrig nam chòir.
Thog iad a’ mhailisi suas
‘S bheir siud bhuainn gillean òg.
Cha bhi iad a-muigh ach mìos
‘S cha bhi ‘n cianalas oirnn.
Mo nighean donn choisinn cliù
Ann an cùirt nam ban òg.
Mo nighean donn choisinn geall
Far na champaich na seòid.
Tha mi sgìth cur mo lìon
Ann an iochdar gach òb.
Thèid mi null air a’ bheinn
Far eil loinn nam ban òg.
(‘S bidh mo làmh na do làimh
Dh’aindeoin èildeir tha beò.
‘S bhiodh mo làmh mud chùl bhàn
Gad a gheàrrt’ i mun dòrn.
Ach ma ruigeas mise null
Gheibh thu crùin na do dhòrn.
Gheibh thu sin is rud nas fheàrr
Maraiche math làidir òg.)

Traduzione inglese*
Oh how my mind is heavy
as I’m north west of the Storr
My brown haired girl hò gù Hì rì rì hù lò
My brown haired girl hò gù.
Right now I’m in the loch by the forest
And Effie will not be joning me.
The militia has been risen
And that will take away the young lads from us.
They will be out for a month
This will not leave us full of sadness.
My brown haired girl who gained recognition
At the fair of the young women.
My brown haired girl won a bet
Where the warriors were encamped
I’m tired of setting my nets
In the lower parts of each cove.
I will head over the hill
Where there is the beautiful young women.
And we will walk hand in hand
Regardless of any living elders.
And my hand will be around you
Though I’d prefer to embrace you.
And if I manage to reach over to you
You’ll get a crown in your hand.
You’ll get that and something better
A good, young, strong sailor.
Traduzione italiana Cattia Salto
Oh quali pensieri tormentati
mentre sono a nord ovest di Storr (1)
la mia brunetta hò gù Hì rì rì hù lò
la mia bella brunetta hò gù
In questo momento sono al lago vicino alla foresta
e Effie non mi sta canzonando.
La milizia è stata ripristinata
e questo porterà via i giovani da noi.
Staranno fuori per un mese
questo  non mancherà di lasciarci pieni di tristezza.
O mia moretta , ti ho notata
al mercato delle belle fanciulle
La mia ragazza bruna ha vinto una scommessa
dove erano accampati i guerrieri
Sono stanco di gettare le reti
nelle parti basse di ogni baia.
Io andrò oltre la collina
dove ci sono le belle donne
giovani.
e cammineremo mano nella mano
nonostante tutti i pettegoli(2)
E la mia mano ti terrà stretta
anche se preferirei abbracciarti
E se riuscirò a raggiungerti (3)
ti metterò una corona tra le mani.
Avrai quella e ancor meglio
un bravo marinaio, giovane e forte

NOTE
il canto è stato tramandato in una versione più estesa  e le strofe mancanti sono state messe tra parentesi
1) il “vecchio uomo di Storr” (the Old Man of Storr) è un pinnacolo di basalto alto una cinquantina di metri che sorge sull’Isola di Skye, la più grande delle Ebridi Interne (Scozia)
2) letteralmente “nonostante tutti gli antenati” cioè a dispetto delle tradizioni. Espressioni simili sono ricorrenti nei canti popolari quando una giovane coppia andava “contro corrente” cioè non si seguivano le tradizioni in merito al corteggiamento: erano i genitori a combinare le unioni, in genere tra persone della stessa classe sociale e mezzi economici, i bei ragazzi ma senza arte ne parte, potevano ricevere il consenso solo in vista di un’improvvisa fortuna .
3) il ragazzo è partito per mare in cerca di un buon guadagno, al suo ritorno le chiederà di sposarlo

 

LINK
http://www.bbc.co.uk/alba/oran/orain/latha_siubhal_beinne_dhomh/
http://s3.spanglefish.com/s/10130/documents/songs/latha%20siubhal%20beinne%20dhomh.pdf
https://virtualgael.files.wordpress.com/2017/05/lathasiubhalbeinne.pdf
http://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/en/fullrecord/39128/10
http://www.smo.uhi.ac.uk/gaidhlig/alltandubh/orain/Latha_Siubhal_Beinne.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/alba/oran/orain/mo_nighean_donn/
http://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/en/fullrecord/97218/1;jsessionid=F3FF526DC4C88B40F544EE4E1332E1D6
http://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/en/fullrecord/100031/1
http://totalsketch.com/shed-life/

Nighean Dubh, Nighean Donn

Leggi in italiano

“Nighean Dubh, Nighean Donn” (“Black-haired Girl, Brown -haired Girl”) is a waulking song in which a sailor in love with a beautiful girl with black hair, hopes that she will not be courted by anyone else, because he wants to marry her as soon as he returns from the sea.
Although the verses in these working songs are mostly extemporaneous, the textual version examined lends itself to two interpretations: they met each other while they went to work as agricultural workers, and the boy to make some money, takes the sea and then he is desperate because he fears that his beauty in the meantime will marry another. In the second interpretation (which does not exclude the first) the sailor promises (if the girl will wait for him) to leave the sea and go back to being a farmer to stay close to her.

Mary Jane Lamond in “Orain Ghaidhlig” (Gaelic Songs of Cape Breton) 2000 
Capercaille in  “At The Heart Of It All” 2013 
(but the verses are different from those sung by Mary Jane Lamond)

English translationTom Thomson
Hò ra hù o
black-haired girl,
brown-haired girl…
Hì rì ri ò
beautiful brown-haired girl…
Hò ra hù o black-haired girl,
brown-haired girl..
Brown-haired girl with the very white bosom…
After you I am so sorrowful…
Brown-haired girl with the fair bosom…
I will meet you on Sunday…
I will meet you in the autumn…
the time when the barn is being filled .(1)…
I will meet you in the evening…
Though the rest will talk about us…
In the morning the horn was blown…
waking us up in Seònad’s house…
Here I am, going to Greenock (2)…
And struggling with the rigging…
You talking with the maiden…
Me sailing over the sea…
You talking with the girl…
who gave her heart’s love to me…
But if you wait until Mayday (3)…
No living Campbell will get you…
No Campbell under the sun will get you…
nor will any MacLean…
No more will a MacLean get you…
indeed I myself will wed you…
Mary Jane Lamond lyrics
Hò ra hù a nighean dubh, nighean donn…
Hì rì ri ò nighean donn bhòidheach…
Hò ra hù a nighean dubh, nighean donn..
Nighean donn a’bhroillich glé-ghil…
As do dhéidh tha mise brònach…
Nighean donn a’ bhroillich shoilleir…
Dheannain coinneamh riut Di-Dòmhnaich…
Dheannain coinneamh riut ‘s an t-fhoghar…
Ám an t-sabhail a bhi ‘ga bhòrdadh…
Dheannain coinneamh riut ‘s an anmoch…
Ged ‘bhiodh càch a seanachas oirnn…
Anns a’ mhadainn shéid an dùdach…
Bha’gar dùsgadh an taigh Seònaid…
Mise seo a’ dol a Ghriannaig…
‘S mi gam riasladh aig na ròpan…
Thusa bruidhinn ris a’ gruagaich…
Mis’ air bhàrr a’ chuain a’ seòladh…
Thusa bruidhinn ris an nighean…
A thug gaol a cridhe dhomhsa…
Ach ma dh’fhanas tu gu Bealltainn…
Chan fhaigh Caimbeulach tha beò thu…
Chan fhaigh Caimbeulach fon ghréin thu…
Chan fhaigh Mac ‘Illean nas mòth’, thu…
Chan fhaigh Mac ‘Illean nas mòth’, thu…
‘S ann a ní mi fhín do phòsadh…

NOTES
1) it describes the activity of the seasonal laborer who was going to harvest for the big farmers. See The Band o’ shearers
2) In the eighteenth century Greenock became the main port on the west coast of Scotland and prospered through trade with the Americas, importing sugar from the Caribbean.
3) the Celtic festival of the May

OUTLANDER LESSON

How to pronounce Mo nighean donn?

LINKS
http://www.celticlyricscorner.net/lamond/nighean.htm
http://www.celticartscenter.com/Songs/Scottish/Orain_Luaidh/NigheanDubhNigheanDonn.html
http://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/en/fullrecord/2032/4

Nighean Dubh, Nighean Donn

Read the post in English

“Nighean Dubh, Nighean Donn” (in inglese “Black-haired Girl, Brown -haired Girl”) è una waulking song in cui un marinaio innamorato di una bella ragazza dai capelli neri, spasima per lei, e spera che non si faccia corteggiare da nessun altro, perchè la vuole sposare non appena sarà di ritorno dal mare.
Anche se le strofe in questi canti di lavoro  (la tecnica d’infeltrimento del tweed scozzese) sono per lo più  estemporanee, la versione testuale esaminata si presta a due interpretazioni: i due si sono conosciuti mentre andavano a lavorare come braccianti agricoli e il ragazzo per fare un po’ di soldi prende il mare e poi si dispera perchè teme che la sua bella nel frattempo si sposi con un altro. Nella seconda interpretazione (che non esclude la prima) il marinaio si ripromette (se la ragazza lo aspetterà) di  lasciare il mare  e ritornare a fare il contadino per poter starle sempre vicino.

Mary Jane Lamond in “Orain Ghaidhlig” (Gaelic Songs of Cape Breton) 2000 
Capercaille in  “At The Heart Of It All” 2013 
(ma le strofe sono diverse da quelle cantate da Mary Jane Lamond la waulkin song “Nighean Dubh, Nighean Donn” è seguita nella traccia da un’altro canto che al momento non ho ancora identificato)

Versione Mary Jane Lamond in gaelico scozzese
Hò ra hù a nighean dubh, nighean donn…
Hì rì ri ò nighean donn bhòidheach…
Hò ra hù a nighean dubh, nighean donn..
Nighean donn a’bhroillich glé-ghil…
As do dhéidh tha mise brònach…

Nighean donn a’ bhroillich shoilleir…
Dheannain coinneamh riut Di-Dòmhnaich…

Dheannain coinneamh riut ‘s an t-fhoghar…
Ám an t-sabhail a bhi ‘ga bhòrdadh…

Dheannain coinneamh riut ‘s an anmoch…
Ged ‘bhiodh càch a seanachas oirnn…

Anns a’ mhadainn shéid an dùdach…
Bha’gar dùsgadh an taigh Seònaid…

Mise seo a’ dol a Ghriannaig…
‘S mi gam riasladh aig na ròpan…

Thusa bruidhinn ris a’ gruagaich…
Mis’ air bhàrr a’ chuain a’ seòladh…

Thusa bruidhinn ris an nighean…
A thug gaol a cridhe dhomhsa…

Ach ma dh’fhanas tu gu Bealltainn…
Chan fhaigh Caimbeulach tha beò thu…

Chan fhaigh Caimbeulach fon ghréin thu…
Chan fhaigh Mac ‘Illean nas mòth’, thu…

Chan fhaigh Mac ‘Illean nas mòth’, thu…
‘S ann a ní mi fhín do phòsadh…

Traduzione inglese di Tom Thomson
Hò ra hù o
black-haired girl,
brown-haired girl…
Hì rì ri ò
beautiful brown-haired girl…
Hò ra hù o black-haired girl,
brown-haired girl..
Brown-haired girl with the very white bosom…
After you I am so sorrowful…
Brown-haired girl with the fair bosom…
I  would meet you on Sunday…
I would  meet you in the autumn…
the time when the barn is being filled…
I will meet you in the evening…
Though the rest will talk about us…
In the morning the horn was blown…
waking us up in Seònad’s house…
Here I am, going to Greenock…
And struggling with the rigging…
You talking with the maiden…
Me sailing over the sea…
You talking with the girl…
who gave her heart’s love to me…
But if you wait until Mayday…
No living Campbell will get you…
No Campbell under the sun will get you…
nor will any MacLean…
No more will a MacLean get you…
indeed I myself will wed you…
Traduzione italiana Cattia Salto
Hò ra hù o
ragazza mora
ragazza castana (1) …
Hì rì ri ò
mia bella brunetta..
Hò ra hù o moretta,
ragazza castana
Brunetta
dal candido petto
Mi tormento a causa tua.
Brunetta
dal bel seno
Ci incontreremo domenica.
Ci incontreremo in autunno
Quando ci sarà la fienagione (quando si riempiranno i fienili).(2)
Ci incontreremo la sera
Anche se gli altri sparleranno di noi.
Al mattino il suono del corno
ci sveglierà nella casa di Seònad.
Ed eccomi diretto a  Greenock (3)
alle prese con le manovre.
tu parli con la mia ragazza
e io navigo sul mare.
tu parli con la ragazza
che mi ha dato l’amore del suo cuore.
Ma se aspetti fino a Beltane (4)
Nessun Campbell che respira ti prenderà.
Nessun Campbell sotto il sole ti prenderà
E nemmeno un MacLean .
MacLean non ti prenderà più
infatti io stesso ti sposerò.

NOTE
1) letteralmente ragazza dai capelli neri, ragazza dai capelli castani, per noi sono sinonimi di moretta e brunetta. Il colore castano nei capelli definisce una vasta gamma di sfumature in italiano  il termine descrive la tipica colorazione della buccia di una castagna.
2)si descrive l’attività del bracciante stagionale che andava a mietere per le grandi fattotie. vedasi ad esempio The Band o’ shearers
3) Nel Settecento Greenock diventò il porto principale della costa occidentale della Scozia e prosperò grazie ai traffici con le Americhe, importando zucchero dai Caraibi.
4) la festa celtica del Maggio

OUTLANDER LESSON

Come si pronuncia Mo nighean donn? (mia bella mora.. letteralmente “la mia ragazza cai capelli neri”)

continua

WAULKING SONGS
i canti tradizionali delle donne scozzesi intente nella lavorazione del tweed: https://terreceltiche.altervista.org/worker-songs/waulking-the-tweed/

FONTI
http://www.celticlyricscorner.net/lamond/nighean.htm
http://www.celticartscenter.com/Songs/Scottish/Orain_Luaidh/NigheanDubhNigheanDonn.html
http://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/en/fullrecord/2032/4

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/

‘S FLIUCH AN OIDHCHE

La waulking song dal titolo “‘S Fliuch an Oidhche” (Wet the Night) è ambientata nelle isole Ebridi (isola di Uist) e si riferisce a un passato mitico delle isole quando i sea raiders andavano per mare a prendersi il bottino e la gloria. Condivide la melodia e la struttura del canto con un’altra waulking song dal titolo Coisich a rùin e talvolta le due canzoni sono unite insieme.

Si conoscono diverse versioni testuali tramandate dalla tradizione orale (vedere archivi di tobar an dualchais nelle fonti), ma non conoscendo il gaelico non riesco a seguire il testo.

immagine tratta da https://www.behance.net/gallery/West-Highland-(Hebridean)-Galley-Reconstruction/5296087
immagine tratta da https://www.behance.net/gallery/West-Highland-(Hebridean)-Galley-Reconstruction/5296087

ASCOLTA Catherine-Ann Macphee in The Barra MacNeils

ORIGINALE GAELICO  (tratto da qui con fonetica)
‘S Fliuch an oidhche, Hù ill oro
Nochd ‘s gur fuar i, O hì a bhò
Ma thug Cloinn Nìll, Hù ill oro
Druim a’ chuain orr’ Boch ho rinn o.

Luchd nan seòl àrd,
‘S na long luatha
‘S nam brataichean
Dearg is uaine
‘S nan gunnaichean
Glasa cruadhach
‘S iomadh sgeir dhubh
Ris na shuath i
Agus bàirneach
Ghlas a ghluais i.
Agus duileasg
Gorm a bhuain i.
Bheir thu mach i
Dh’uisge fuaraidh
Bheir thu steach i
Dh’Abhainn Chluaidh i.
Mo bheannachd siud
Dhan t-saor a dh’fhuadhail i
Dh’fhag i dìonach
làidir luath i.

TRADUZIONE INGLESE
Wet is the night
Tonight is cold
If Clan Neil
They of the tall sails
And the fast ships
And the banners,
red and green
And the guns,
grey and hard.
Many a dark rock
Has she brushed against.
And grey limpet
Has she shifted.
And seaweed
Green she reaped.
You’ll take her out
To cold water.
You’ll bring her in
To River Clyde.
My blessing to the sawyer
Who made her.
She would leave water-tight,
Strong and swift.
TRADUZIONE ITALIANO di Cattia Salto
Umida è la notte
stanotte è freddo
se gli O’Neil
quelli delle vele alte
e dalle navi veloci
e le insegne
rosse e verdi
e le pistole
grigie e metalliche.
Più di una roccia scura
essa ha sfiorato
e le patelle grigie
ha spostato
e le alghe
verdi ha raccolto.
Tu la farai uscire
dal fiordo
e la condurrai
al fiume Clyde
le mie benedizioni al carpentiere
che l’ha costruita
essa fenderà la marea
con forza e velocità

FONTI
https://www.behance.net/gallery/West-Highland-(Hebridean)-Galley-Reconstruction/5296087
http://www.celticartscenter.com/Songs/Scottish/SFliuchAnOidhche.html
http://www.bbc.co.uk/alba/oran/orain/fliuch_an_oidhche/
http://tobarandualchais.co.uk/en/fullrecord/23944/2
http://tobarandualchais.co.uk/en/fullrecord/97571/2
http://tobarandualchais.co.uk/en/fullrecord/13132/2

KISHMUL’S GALLEY OR MISTY MOUNTAIN? A BARDIC CHANT FROM THE CELTIC PAST

La stessa canzone in gaelico scozzese originaria dalle isole Ebridi è stata tradotta in inglese con due diversi titoli e qualche lieve differenza tra le due traduzioni.
Inizio con il dire che la canzone era una waulking-song raccolta prima come melodia da Marjory Kennedy-Fraser da Mary Macdonald, Mingulay nel 1907 e integrata dal testo come appreso dalla signora Maclean, Barra l’anno seguente, Marjory la fa tradurre dal fidato reverendo e il titolo che viene data alla versione in inglese diventa Kishmul’s Galley. (in “Songs of the Hebrides” Vol I, 1909): Marjory utilizza il nome di un mitico condottiero dell’isola, per assonanza con il nome del castello Kisimul presso Castelbay roccaforte degli O’Neil di Barra.

Anche in gaelico la stessa canzone porta titoli diversi e i più diffusi sono:” a’ Bhirlinn Bharrach” [the Barra Galley], “Beinn a’ Cheathaich” o più estesamente “Latha dhomh ‘s mi beinn a ‘ cheathaich”.

LA GALEA SCOZZESE

Una Bhirlinn o birlinn è 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.

scottish-galley-castleAt one time, these vessels were the principal mode of transportation around the western isles of Scotland. The terrain was too rugged with large forests. There were no roads. So the sea lochs and minches of the western isles were the equivalent of today’s motorways at that time.
The Birlinn is said to have been developed from the Norse Galley by Somerled, who led the Kingdom of the Isles in the 1100s. These were clinker-built wooden boats that could be rowed or sailed, with a single mast and square sail. These small but sturdy seagoing ships were an improvement on the Norse Longship.
They were used for everything from ferrying people and cargo to going to war. The design was more manouverable than that of the Norse boats and suited to both rough seas and shallow water. The boats were light, but could be weighted with ballast to make them more stable in rougher conditions and the shallow draught made them easy to haul out of the sea. (tratto da qui)

KISIMUL’S CASTLE

E’ un pittoresco castello medievale costruito su un isolotto al largo di Castlebay , Barra , nella Ebridi Esterne della Scozia. Abbandonato dal 1838 è stato riacquistato dal capo clan dei MacNeil nel 1937 per dare il via al restauro, nel 2001 è stato ceduto in comodato d’uso per mille anni alla società Historic Scotland per la somma annua di 1 cent e 1 bottiglia di whisky. “..prende il nome dal gaelico cìosamul che significa “castello isola” Kisimul si siede su un isolotto roccioso nella baia al largo della costa di Barra, completamente circondato dal mare, è raggiungibile solo in barca ed è quasi inespugnabile. Kisimul ha i suoi pozzi di acqua dolce, la leggenda vuole che questa è stata la roccaforte dei MacNeils dal II secolo“. (tratto da qui)

Kisimul’s Castle was built in the thirteenth century at the southern end of the Isle of Barra and was the stronghold of the MacNeills of Barra. The chiefs of the MacNeills were famous for their self-esteem and it is said that every evening after the chief had eaten the MacNeill piper was sent out onto the battlements to announce “The MacNeill has dined. The other potentates of the earth may now dine.” They even have their own version of the story ‘The Flood’, in which God is said to have told Noah to invite, as well as a pair of each species of animal, the MacNeill chief and his wife. A messenger was sent to Barra and returned with the chief’s thanks but the reply “The MacNeill has a boat of his own.” (Peter Hall, notes Norman Kennedy ‘Scots Songs and Ballads’)

VIDEO di Patricia Hovey

LA VERSIONE IN GAELICO SCOZZESE: LATHA DHOMH ‘S MI BEINN A ‘ CHEATHAICH

La versione originale risale al XVIII secolo e fu composta da Nic Iain Fhinn (‘daughter of fair-haired John’), una poetessa del clan MacNeil. Il capo clan risiedeva a Kisimul Castle sull’isola di Barra ed era famoso per essere con i suoi uomini un sea raider, ovvero un predone del mare. Del testo esistono tuttavia molte versioni che si possono ascoltare negli archivi sonori di “Tobar an dualchais” con le registrazioni dalla viva voce degli Highlanders scozzesi.

The composer of this well-known waulking song tells how she went to the Misty Mountain to round up sheep. She sees MacNeil’s galley coming from the land of the MacLeans to Cìosamul castle. She goes on to describe life in the castle. Wine is drunk and there is feasting and piping. The women are dressed in brown silk. The composer lists some of the men on the galley. At this point, there is a change of subject. The composer states that if she happened to be a girl with flowing hair, she would not go with a peasant lad. She would prefer a handsome hunter of the roedeer, the antlered stag, and the moor-hen. (tratto da qui)

Prima di passare alle versioni cantate però mi voglio soffermare sulla melodia.
ASCOLTA Albannach, la versione strumentale in stile “barbaro” con cornamusa e tanti e vari tamburi

La melodia è interpretata a volte come una slow air, ma anche una march song più spesso come una waulking song, secondo Jim Carrol si trattava di un’antica rowing song, ossia il canto dei barcaioli o rematori per dare il ritmo alla voga. “It comes from the days when the Gaelic pirates of the Islands so controlled the stormy waters of the Minch, that Elizabeth I was forced to make a peace treaty with them. The castle of one of these Gaelic sea-rovers still stands on an island in the middle of the harbour of Barra, unassailable except by water. (Out of its dark archway and) past its grim walls sailed galleys manned by [brawny] Scottish sea fighters, pulling at the oars to the tune of songs like this [one – songs that celebrated the doughty fighters aboard and their leaders.]” (tratto da qui)

Il canto racconta del ritorno a Barra e l’approssimarsi al castello di Kisimul della galea del clan O’Neil ricca di bottino: sarà festa per il successo della razzia nel castello con fiumi di vino, suoni d’arpa e di cornamuse, belle donne fasciate di seta che danzano con i guerrieri.
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; siamo in un epoca remota in cui la gloria era tributata ai guerrieri anche se combattevano non certo per nobili ideali, ma soprattutto per il bottino.

Se nella struttura del canto è una tipica waulking song, il contesto e il contenuto sono tipici dei canti bardici.

ASCOLTA Flora McNeil che la intitola BEINN A’ CHEATHAICH (THE MISTY MOUNTAIN) parte da  [2’04”]


Latha dhomh ’s mi ’m Beinn a’ cheathaich(1)
Air far al il leo
Ro hu bhi ho
Hoireann is o
Ho ro hi o ho
Hi ri ho ro hu bha
Ho hug o ro
Gun deach bata Chlann Nill seachad
Gun cheann cumaidh aig a h-astar
Le dá mhac lain’ ic a’ Phearsain
Murchadh Mor a ceann a ‘clachain
S’Ruaraidh og an t-oighne maiseach
S’teach a duthaich mhic Ill’eathain
S’teach gu Ciosmul(2) an aigheir
Far am faighte chuirm ri gabhail
Fíon a ‘dhoidche gu látha
TRADUZIONE INGLESE
One day as I was on the misty mountain(1),
MacNeill’s Galley was passing
At great speed.
On board were two sons of John MacPherson,
Big Murdo from the head of the hamlet
And fair young Roderick, the heir,
Coming from the Land of the MacLean(2)
Going to Kishmul(3) of the mirth.
Where there will be feasts
Wine from night till day(4).
tradotto da Cattia Salto
Un giorno mentre ero sulla montagna avvolta dalla nebbia
la galea di Mac Neill stava passando
muovendosi velocemente
a bordo c’erano i due figli di John MacPherson,
il grande Murdo alla testa del villaggio
e il giovane Roderick, il biondo erede
venuti dalla Terra dei MacLean
verso il ridente castello di Kisimul
dove saranno festeggiati
con vino notte e giorno

NOTE
1) pronunciata come Benachie, ‘Benniche’ ha dato origine a molte confusioni, essendo il nome delle montagne nel Aberdeenshire, più propriamente è Beinn Cheathaich che essendo una cima alta è avvolta nella nebbia. Marjory Kennedy-Fraser la traduce come “Ben A Heaval”. In altre versioni si aggiunge un verso Ruagbhal nan caorach ’s ga faighinn=Rounding up the sheep, gathering them (qui) chi canta è un pastore o una pastorella che dalla cima del monte vede in lontananza la barca di ritorno a Barra
2) così come scritto si lascia intendere che il clan MacLean sia un clan rivale
3)Kisimul’s Castle: un pittoresco castello medievale costruito su un isolotto al largo di Castlebay , isola di Barra (Ebridi)

4) la prodigalità nell’elargire ospitalità e allestire banchetti era, nel periodo pre-medievale e non solo, requisito essenziale del capo clan.

Old Blind Dogs con il generico titolo di “Gaelic song” (come se non ci fosse già abbastanza confusione tra i titoli tradizionali!) in Four on the Floor (2007)

ASCOLTA The Selkie Girls che riprendono l’arrangiamento degli Old Blind Dogs


Latha dhomh’s mi ‘m Beinn a’ Cheathaich
CHORUS
farail ill eo, ro a bji ho
Hoirreann is o ho ro hi o ho
Hi ri ho ro a bha ho hug o ro
‘S ann agam ‘s a bha ‘n sealladh
Gun deach bata Chlann Nill seachad
Mach bho dhùthaich MhicGill-Eathain
Steach gu Cìosamul an aighir
Far am faighte chuirm ri gabhail
Fíon a ‘dhoidche gu látha
Pìobaireachd nam feadan àrd’ laghach
Clàrsach bhinn ga gleusadh mar ris
Sìoda donn ga chur air na mnathan
Gill’Eòghanain(5) mòr an gaisgeach
Ruairi òg(6) an t-oighre maiseach
TRADUZIONE INGLESE
One day as I was on the misty mountain
I saw a wonderful sight
The Clan MacNeill’s ship passed by
Away from MacLean country
Towards joyful Kisimul
Where the feasting takes place
Drinking wine from night to day
The piping of the tall, lovely drones
The sweet harp being tuned alongside
Russet silk being worn by the ladies
Gilleonan(5), the great hero
Young Rory(6), the handsome heir
tradotto da CATTIA SALTO
Un giorno mentre ero sulla montagna nebbiosa
vidi una meravigliosa nave
la galea di Mac Neill stava passando
dalla Terra dei MacLean
verso il ridente Kisimul
dove il banchetto si svolge
bevendo vino notte e giorno
l’acuto lamento delle amate cornamuse,
con l’accordo della dolce arpa accanto,
seta rossa indossata dalle dame
Gilleonan, il grande eroe,
il giovane Rory il bell’erede

NOTE
5) Gilleonan fu capo clan dal 1655 to 1670
6) il giovane Rory era il figlio di Gilleonan

Questa seconda versione cambia la struttura del canto: il coro è breve e riprende ogni verso con dei “vocablesin due gruppi di suoni sillabici ripetuti in sequenza.

ASCOLTA

Latha dhomh am Beinn a’ Cheathaich
Air fal-il-o ho-ri-o-hu
Gu’n deach bàta Chloinn Neill seachad
O-hi-o-hu-o fail-u-o
B’ait leam do bhàta ‘si gabhail
‘Mach ò dhùthaich Mhic ‘Illeathain
‘Steach gu Ciosmul an aigheir
Far am faighteadh cuirm ri gabhail
Fion ò oidhche ‘gus an latha
Is clarsach bhinn ‘ga gleusadh mar ris
TRADUZIONE INGLESE
One day I was on the misty mountain
Clann MacNeill’s boat went past
I loved to see your boat on its journey
Out from the MacLean Country
Into Kisimul of the mirth
Where there will be feasts to be had
wine from night to day
And the sweet harp serenading
tradotto da CATTIA SALTO
Un giorno mentre ero sulla montagna ricoperta dalla nebbia
la galea di Mac Neill stava passando
amavo vedere la vostra nave in viaggio
dalla Terra dei MacLean
verso il ridente Kisimul
ci saranno festeggiamenti e si avrà
vino notte e giorno
al suono della dolce arpa

seconda parte qui

FONTI
https://castlesintheworld.wordpress.com/2016/03/12/castello-kisimul/
http://scotsongs.blogspot.it/2005/10/kishmuls-galley-kishmul-was-legendary.html

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

Crònan Cuallaich (la canzone del mandriano)

Read the post in English

“Crònan Cuallaich” è una canzone in gaelico scozzese raccolta nell’isola di Benbecula (isole Ebridi) e trascritta anche da Alexander Carmicheal nel suo “Carmina Gadelica” Vol I # 105.
“La canzone del mandriano” (in inglese “herding croon”) è una preghiera di protezione, cantata al bestiame al pascolo per tenerlo tranquillo. La struttura però è quella della waulking song e come tale tramandata nelle isole Ebridi come canto delle lavoratrici del tweed.

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

La vacca delle Highland  ha un aspetto molto buffo, sembra quasi uno jak dell’Himalaya, è una razza bovina originaria dalla Scozia, nota anche come Hebridean breed, Hairy CooHeilan Coo o Kyloe. Di pelo lungo, folto e ispido, con corna fino a un metro e mezzo è docile di carattere, vive all’aperto tutto l’anno  e si ammala di rado. La sua particolare costituzione fisica è dovuta all’adattamento ai climi freddi e persino glaciali. Per quanto si consideri un’unica razza, due sono i progenitori: uno di colore nero e di taglia più piccola, l’altro di colore rossastro e di taglia più grande. La razza è molto apprezzata per la sua carne (magra e senza colesterolo), ed è stata esportata in varie parti del mondo in America, Australia e Europa, in Italia la troviamo in Alto Adige, Veneto, Liguria e Lombardia.

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.

traduzione inglese
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.
traduzione italiano Cattia Salto
Le mucche sono fuggite(1) oggi
per andare a mangiare l’erba sul tumulo(2)
il loro guardiano è là a sorvegliarle
a sorvegliarle, difenderle e riportale indietro.
Sarà la dolce Bride(3) a mungerle,
sarà la bella Maria a prendersene cura,
e ci sarà Gesù Cristo alla fine del loro viaggio

NOTE
1) “volate via”, “fuggite alla chetichella”
2) secondo la testimonianza di Marjory Kennedy-Fraser la località di riferimento è Grimnis (Griminish) in particolare una collina delle fate ovvero un tumulo sepolcrale
3) la dea Bride è sincreticamente accostata a Gesù Cristo e alla Vergine Maria. Inevitabile il richiamo alla Gruagach, la fanciulla del mare sorta di spirito guardiano della casa e del bestiame

LA VERSIONE INGLESE: UIST CATTLE CROON

La canzone è tra quelle raccolte da Marjory Kennedy-Fraser nel suo viaggio nelle isole Ebridi e confluita nel libro “Songs of the Hebrides”. La melodia è riportata anche da Frances Tolmie che la collezionò a Kilmaluagon nell’isola di Skye.
Alison Pearce in Land of Hearts Desire – Songs of the Hebrides. La versione è quella “classica” (voce soprano e arpa) con l’arrangiamento di 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(3), gentle be at their keeping,
Keeping all out on hill pastures
traduzione italiano Cattia Salto
I
Oggi il bestiame andrà a pascolare sulla collina(2),
Hill-i-ruin is o h-ug o,
dolce l’erba del fresco pascolo collinare,
Hill-i-ruin is o h-ug o,
Bride(3) la luminosa le mungerà,
Hill-i-ruin is o h-ug o,
conduce(i) il bestiame a pascolare sulla collina
Hill-i-ruin is o h-ug o,
II
Oggi il bestiame andrà segretamente(1) sulla collina, là a pascolare sulla dolce erba,
sarà la bella Maria(3) a prendersene cura,
a tenere tutti lontano dai pascoli sulla collina

NOTE
3) Bride e la vergine Maria sono confuse in un unica divinità protettrice, oppure in questa versione del rev Kenneth Macleod Mary è più prosaicamente una bella mandriana. Il compito di sorvegliare il bestiame nei pascoli era un tempo riservato per lo più a ragazzi e fanciulle.

Ed ecco l’effetto che queste antiche invocazioni fanno sul bestiame: il kulning di Jonna Jinton

continua A pretty girl milking her cow

FONTI
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/