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July 15, 2004

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If we're going in for stereotypical Scottish songs, I'm more of a "speed bonnie boat" man, myself. Much better for misty-eyed-ness.

(tune here)

Speed bonnie boat, like a bird on the wing
Onward, the sailors cry
Carry the lad that's born to be king
Over the sea to Skye.

Loud the winds howl, loud the waves roar
Thunder clouds rend the air
Baffled our foe's stand on the shore
Follow they will not dare.

Speed bonnie boat, like a bird on the wing
Onward, the sailors cry
Carry the lad that's born to be king
Over the sea to Skye.

Though the waves leap, soft shall ye sleep
Ocean's a royal bed
Rocked in the deep, Flora will keep
Watch by your weary head.

Speed bonnie boat, like a bird on the wing
Onward, the sailors cry
Carry the lad that's born to be king
Over the sea to Skye.

Many's the lad fought on that day
Well the claymore could wield
When the night came, silently lay
Dead on Culloden's field.

Speed bonnie boat, like a bird on the wing
Onward, the sailors cry
Carry the lad that's born to be king
Over the sea to Skye.

Burned are our homes, exile and death
Scatter the loyal men
Yet, e'er the sword cool in the sheath
Charlie will come again.

Speed bonnie boat, like a bird on the wing
Onward, the sailors cry
Carry the lad that's born to be king
Over the sea to Skye.

(P.S. That's Bonnie Prince Charlie, before you start wondering)

Well, if we're going to be all Jacobite and sh*t...

Sound the pibroch (tune)

Sound the pibroch loud and high
From John O'Groats to the Isle of Skye!
Let all the Clans their slogan cry
And rise tae follow Charlie!

(Chorus) Tha tighin fodham, fodham, fodham (3X)
To rise and follow Charlie!

And see a small devoted band
By dark Loch Shiel have taen their stand
And proudly vow wi' heart and hand
To fight for Royal Charlie!

Frae every hill and every glen
Are gatherin' fast the loyal men
They grasp their dirks and shout again
"Hurrah! for Royal Charlie!"

On dark Culloden's field of gore
Hark! They shout "Claymore! Claymore!"
They bravely fight what can they more?
They die for Royal Charlie!

No more we'll see such deeds again
Deserted is each Highland glen
And lonely cairns are o'er the men
Who fought and died for Charlie!

The White Rose blossoms forth again
Deep in sheltered Highland glens
And soon we'll hear the cry we ken
Tae rise! And fight for Charlie!

Oh well, in for a penny, in for a pound.

Scotland the Brave (tune here and here)

Hark when the night is falling
Hear! hear the pipes are calling,
Loudly and proudly calling,
Down thro' the glen.
There where the hills are sleeping,
Now feel the blood a-leaping,
High as the spirits
Of the old Highland men.

Towering in gallant fame,
Scotland my mountain hame,
High may your proud standards
Gloriously wave,
Land of my high endeavour,
Land of the shining river,
Land of my heart for ever,
Scotland the brave.

High in the misty Highlands,
Out by the purple islands,
Brave are the hearts that beat
Beneath Scottish skies.
Wild are the winds to meet you,
Staunch are the friends that greet you,
Kind as the love that shines
From fair maiden's eyes.

Towering in gallant fame,
Scotland my mountain hame,
High may your proud standards
Gloriously wave,
Land of my high endeavour,
Land of the shining river,
Land of my heart for ever,
Scotland the brave.

Far off in sunlit places,
Sad are the Scottish faces,
Yearning to feel the kiss
Of sweet Scottish rain.
Where tropic skies are beaming,
Love sets the heart a-dreaming,
Longing and dreaming
For the homeland again.

Towering in gallant fame,
Scotland my mountain hame,
High may your proud standards
Gloriously wave,
Land of my high endeavour,
Land of the shining river,
Land of my heart for ever,
Scotland the brave.

Could usefully do Charlie is ma darlin' too; another favourite from childhood. Tune's good, but not very long, so it does get a bit too repetitive.

'scuse the total ignorance, but who's Charlie?

I think they have this guy in mind.

Scots wa hae! And, gentlemen, the King across the waters!

Is this where I lead the crowd in a rousing rendition of Mull of Kintyre, or will I get my butt kicked for that?

First song I ever learned to play on guitar (possibly because it only has three chords, but I'm a big McCartney fan anyway).

Six chords, if you count the key change. :)

This is the first thread, possibly anywhere, that has ever made me wish it were in audio blogging.

I am, actually, highly influenced, and moved by, music. I also don't translate words at all well into music in my head.

I also have a great affection for the Scots.

And have heard various versions of Charlie is ma darlin', of which, of course, the most embarassing is that the one that sticks is in the Star Trek:TOS episode.

I'm a sad geek.

Ah, Speed Bonnie Boat. My father used to sing me to sleep with that one.

I'd just like to mention that as of a couple of months ago, I'm a proud kilt owner.

Bless you, Moe. What a great way to start a Friday!

My favorite traditional Scottish band is The Tannahill Weavers. If you don’t have any of their recordings, please get hold of some…you’ll be glad you did. I’ve picked two samples here. The first is “The Atholl Highlanders”, and from the liner notes:

“This song tells of one of the Scot's early successes at the battle of Prestonpans, near Edinburgh. The English general, Johnnie Cope, seems to have been so afraid of the sound of the Scottish bagpipes that he disappeared faster than a five pound note in an off license and also, unfortunately, got back to England considerable faster than his troops. Being asked why he ran so fast he replied that unfortunately he couldn't fly.”

This tune will definitely get your pulse up.
*****
LYRICS:

Jock sent a letter tae Dunbar
Sayin' Cherlie meet me gin ye daur
It's I'll learn ye the erts o' war
If ye meet me here in the morning

Cherlie read the letter upon
He drew his sword its scabbard from
Sayin' follow me my merry men
And we'll meet Johnny Cope in the morning

Chorus:

Hey Johnnie Cope are ye walking yet?
And are your drums a-beating yet?
If you were walking I would wait
Tae gang tae the coals in the morning

Come noo Johnnie be as good as your word
And let us try baith fire and sword
Dinnae flee like a frightened bird
Thats gone frae its nest in the morning

When Johnnie Cope he heard o' this
He said tae himself it widnae be amiss
Gin I saddle my horse in readiness
Tae gang a flee in the morning

Chorus

Bye noo Johnnie get up and rin
The heiland bagpipes mak a din
Its better tae sleep wi' a hale skin
It'll be a bloody morning

When Johnnie Cope tae Dunbar came
They speired at him, "where's a' your men?"
The deil confound me I dinnae ken
I left them a' in the morning

Chorus

Come noo Johnnie ye werenae plait
Tae come wi' the news o' your ane defeat
And leave your men in sic a state
Sae early in the morning

Wait quo' Johnnie I got sic' flegs
Wi' their claymores and philabegs
Gin I meet them again Deil brak' my legs
I bid you all good morning
*****

In my opinion, their most beautiful song is “Farewell to Fiunary”. It is the loveliest Scottish Air you’ll ever hear:

*****
LYRICS:

The air is clear the day is fine, and swiftly swiftly flows the time
The boat is floating on the tide that rocks me off from Fiunary

Chorus:

We must up and haste away, we must up and haste away
We must up and haste away, farewell, farewell tae Fiunary

A thousand, thousand tender ties awake this day my plaintive sighs
My heart within me almost dies, at thocht of leaving Fiunary

Chorus

But I must leave these happy vales, see how they fill, the spreading sails
Adieu, adieu, my native dales, farewell, farewell tae Fiunary
*****

The Tannahill Weavers are on a US tour Sept through Oct, by the way, and they are a marvelous band to see live.

I find myself regretting my own ignorance of the Scots part of my Scots-Irish ancestry. Thanks for the history lesson.

I'm part Scots -- actually a descendant of Robert the Bruce if my parents are to be believed -- but I don't really know their music. I do, however, know the music of my other Celtic ancestors, the Welsh. In the spirit of pan-Celtic harmony, then, I present the great Welsh hymn "Llef", also known as "Iesu Mawr":


O ! Iesu mawr, rho’d anian bur
I eiddil gwan mewn anial dir,
I’w nerthu drwy’r holl rwystrau sy
Ar ddyrys daith i’r Ganaan fry.

Pob gras sydd yn yr Eglwys fawr,
Fry yn y nef, neu ar y llawr,
Caf feddu oll — eu meddu’n un,
Wrth feddu d’anian Di dy Hun.

Mi lyna’n dawel wrth dy draed,
Mi ganaf am rinweddau’r gwaed,
Mi garia’r groes, mi nofia’r don,
Ond cael dy anian dan fy mron.

actually a descendant of Robert the Bruce if my parents are to be believed

We all are. He got around.

Speaking of pan-Celtic harmony, the greatest Celtic song I've ever heard was sung by Carys Lane of I Fagiolini at a concert of theirs last year. It was an Irish lament, a girl mourning the loss of her lad to the sea IIRC, and I'd never heard 300 people genuinely making no sound whatsoever until that moment; absolutely no one wanted to break the spell. I don't think they (or she) have recorded it, but their CDs are well worth the listen nonetheless -- though their usual repertoire is hardly "Celtic" in any meaningful sense.

I only know one phrase in Gaelic, passed on to me by my grandfather, who once toasted a whole room of sassanachs with it: Póg mo thóin (pronounced something like "poch m'hone", with "poch" rhyming with "loch").

Means "kiss my ass." That's not what he told them, though.

aireachail:

Interesting story—my wife and I stayed in a B&B owned by the mom and dad of one of the Tannahill Weavers in Fort William. Very nice folks. Very Scottish Nationalist.

double-plus-ungood:

In Irish Gaelic it's pronounced "pug ma hone". At least that's how it was pronounced by my best high school buddy's rather salty Irish grandmother.

What an educational blog this is. Where else on the net can you learn to swear in Gaelic? Two varieties of Gaelic, as a matter of fact.

Where else on the net can you learn to swear in Gaelic?

And pray in Welsh, for goodness sake!

That's Welsh? I thought the cat walked across the keyboard or something.

Dave:

Must have been the parents of Colin Melville, their piper.

The sole shot I have at seeing the Tannies when they tour this year is Las Vegas (11 Sept). But that ain't a bad trip to make...

Silly Wizard, The Battlefield Band and Old Blind Dogs are also favorites of mine. I would rather listen to traditional Scottish fiddle music than just about anything, and so though not a "band", Alasdair Frasier is on that list as well.

Slainte!

It's actually quite a lovely prayer. Something like "O dear Jesus may your spirit guide a poor weakling in the wilderness." And so on. My Welsh isn't as good as it should be.

Must have been the parents of Colin Melville, their piper.

Indeed. He was just a kid when we were there. He and his sisters (fiddlers IIRC) played for us. I have one of their CD's somewhere about. Great stuff.

Ah, Mae Dave yn siarad yr hen iaith, te?

My favorite is the anthem.

Os treisiodd y gelyn fy ngwlad tan ei droed,
Mae hen iaith y Cymry mor fyw ag erioed.
Ni luddiwyd yr awen gan erchyll law brad,
Na thelyn berseiniol fy ngwlad.

For tho' the fierce foeman has ravaged your realm,
The old speech of Cymru he cannot o'erwhelm,
Our passionate poets to silence command
Or banish the harp from your strand.

(Translation not mine)

actually a descendant of Robert the Bruce if my parents are to be believed

Didn't he murder someone in a near-ritual fashion? Inside a church?

I've seen that spelled Robert the Brus, too. My family tree has Wallace in it, so I'm wondering when you're going to betray me to the English.

sidereal:

Ah, Mae Dave yn siarad yr hen iaith, te?

When travelling in Europe where polyglots frequently adjust the language they speak to the audience, my father—fluent as a native in German—was asked what languages my mother spoke. He responded (auf Deutsch) "Only English. But she understands all languages." It's a quality I hope I've inherited.

Translation: Ah, my Dave you speak the Old Tongue?

Sure enough. But 'Mae' is just the helping verb.

In my youth I had a girlfriend whose parents were Welsh immigrants, so I studied enough to have basic conversations. Oh, were they impressed. ch-ching.

Och, aye, the Bruce killed a forefather o' mine in the kirk at Dumfries - John Comyn, rightful King o' Scots! Hard to be king with a knife in your back!

What Gid Ye Daur Means ??

Of sorry

Gin De Daur .. :)

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