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- Dh’èirich mi gu moch Diluain – (I rose early on Monday)
- Peaceful Ground
- Dh’fhalbh mo rùn bho chionn seachdain – (My Love has been gone for a week)
- ‘S toil leam an Cìobair – (I love the Shepherd)
- Haidh O
- Thig an Smeòrach as t-Earrach – (The Thrush will come in the Spring)
- Cairistiona – (Christina)
- The Ewe Bughts
- Fhir an Leadain Thlàth – (Lad of the beautiful hair)
- Dh’ fhalbh mo rùn ’s dh’ fhàg e ‘n Cala – (My Love has left the Harbour)
- Nuair Bhios mi Leam Fhìn – (When I am alone)
About the Songs
Dh’èirich mi gu moch Diluain – (I rose early on Monday)
This is a song describing the beauties of the island of Mull in the spring. It describes the white swans swimming in the lochs, the mountains, the primroses on the river banks and the thrushes singing.
Words and music by Maggie MacInnes
Dh’fhalbh mo rùn bho chionn seachdain – (My Love has been gone for a week)
A love song for a man called Donald. The woman is singing about the man she loves who is away on his boat. She misses him terribly and is hoping for his safe return. She goes on to praise him saying that he is related to nobility.
In this recording you will hear the voice of my late great aunt, Mary Gillies from Barra. We have incorporated a recording of Mary which was made at my mother’s house in the late 1950s. My mother is singing with Mary on the earlier recording and again with me now. My granny and her sister, my great aunt Mary played a very big part in the singing tradition of our family and I have a lot for which to be thankful to them.
‘S toil leam an Cìobair – (I love the Shepherd)
The girl is singing of her love for the shepherd. She can’t praise him enough yet he has left her heartbroken. She says she would be better off dead than to have lost his love.
A waulking song or work song used for the process of shrinking tweed or fulling cloth. In this song the woman is saying that young Neil has taken advantage of another girl. The singer says that she wishes it had been her. She wouldn’t have screamed or shouted and if she had torn his shirt she would sew it with fine thread, wash it and dry it for him.
Thig an Smeòrach as t-Earrach – (The Thrush will come in the Spring)
A beautiful love song where the girl comments that while the birds in the trees are getting closer together in spring she and her love are growing further and further apart. She gives advice to other young girls not to fall for a man who is full of sweet talking because despite all he says, his heart can be as ice and he will always be looking for the prettiest face. My mother heard this song being sung often by Joan MacKenzie of Lewis when they would perform together in concerts in the 50s and 60s.
Cairistiona – (Christina)
This is a lament for a girl called Cairistiona. Her body is being taken by ship for burial and the singer is calling out to her. I first recorded this song in 1984 for the album (called “Cairistiona”) which I made with the late George Jackson. It remains one of my favourite songs and I have enjoyed getting the chance to re-record it here… in memory of George.
The Ewe Bughts
A song of war-torn love. I am deeply grateful to Dr. Andrew Noble for bringing this “lost” Burns song to my attention when I was preparing my show “Burns and the Gaels” for the Largs Mod of 2002. This song was recovered by Patrick Scott Hogg in the “Morning Chronicle” of 10th July 1794. He published his retrieved lyric in “Robert Burns:The Lost Poems” (Clydeside Press, 1997). It was republished in Noble and Scott’s edition of the “Canongate Burns” (Edinburgh 2001). Andrew comments;- “In a wholly typical Burns inversion, the self-satisfied lowland male voice of the original song, with its baiting of a matrimonial trap with conspicuous eighteenth-century consumption, is replaced by a highland, female voice fraught with personal destitution caused by her soldier husband’s departure to the new French war.”
The song is a reworking of a traditional song “Will ye go to the Ewe Bughts, Marion” and its tune of the same name was used by Burns for his song “Will Ye Go to the Indies, My Mary”. In this recording I have used my own tune which is an adaptation of the traditional tune.
Fhir an Leadain Thlàth – (Lad of the beautiful hair)
This is a love song where the girl is singing of her love for this very handsome man who has left her heartbroken and pregnant. I have heard my mother sing this song so often that I found I had learnt it without trying. I think it is one of the most powerful and beautiful love songs I have ever heard and I sing it here as a tribute to mum and as a thank you to her for keeping so many of these beautiful songs alive.
Dh’ fhalbh mo rùn ’s dh’ fhàg e ‘n Cala – (My Love has left the Harbour)
This is a song which my mother learned on a visit to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada. The song was taken over from this country to Canada by emigrants and although it was still known here it was rarely sung. The man in the song has gone off in his boat leaving the woman desolate. She has heard that he has got married and comments that he didn’t even invite her to his wedding.
Nuair Bhios mi Leam Fhìn – (When I am alone)
I first heard a different version of this song sung by Kathleen MacDonald from Lewis many years ago and have been meaning to learn it ever since. My mother had heard the song while growing up in Barra. The man is singing that he can’t concentrate on steering his boat for thinking of the girl he loves. He does not want her head to be turned by any other man and says that he has always been very unlucky in love. The chorus translates;- When I am alone, you come into my mind. I sing about the brown-haired girl with the beautiful eyes.