Guth/ Vocal: Griogair Guthan taice/ Backing vocals


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Mary Ann Kennedy & Na Seòid

1. Chunna Mise Mo Leannan (I saw my Love)

Trad. arr. G. Labhruidh

Guth/ Vocal: Griogair

Guthan taice/ Backing vocals: Mary Ann & Na Seòid
Griogair Labhruidh sings mainly in the style of the Southern Hebrides. He is also piper and composer of bagpipe music and Gaelic song-poetry and belongs to a West Highland piping tradition that has been in his family for many generations. His father's family - Clann Iain Sheumais Uilleam Thomais Sheumais Uilleam are a branch of the famous Lowry/Lawrie piping family of North Argyll and his mother's people (also pipers) originate from both Skye and Argyll. He draws much of his material from Argyllshire's fabulously rich Gaelic tradition but also has a huge interest in the bardic tradition of South Uist where he has spent much of his adult life. He also considers the connections between Scottish and Irish Gaelic culture to be very important, and this shines through in his singing and playing.
Griogair: This is essentially a praise song to the Clan MacDonald which is thought to date from the Montrose wars in the 17th Century - from the battle of Auldearn which was a victory for Montrose's Royalist forces, for whom the MacDonalds fought. As with many older Hebridean folksongs, it’s possible to piece together a full song from several different versions to be found, but the story remains incomplete and is often mixed up with other stories from the oral tradition of the particular area it was sung in. This is the case with this version which I learned from Donald Joseph MacKinnon (1912-52), who came from Barra but settled in South Uist. ‘An Eòsag’ (Little Joseph) as he was known, has been a huge influence on my singing – I’d describe him as 'the forgotten genius of Gaelic music'.

Gura mise tha fo mhulad air an tulaich, ’s mòr m’eislean

Ho ro ho hi hoireannan, horo chall eile, ho ro ho hi hoireannan
Chunna mise mo leannan ’s cha do dh’aithnich e fhèin mi.

Cha d’ fhidir, ’s cha d’ fharraid, cha do ghabh e bhuam sgeula

Ach cha ruigeadh e leas e, cha robh mis’ an trom dèidh air

Dol timchioll a’ rubha, bha mi dubhach, trom-dheurach

’S iad mo rùn-sa Clann Dòmhnaill, sin an còmhlan nach trèig mi

Seun Mhoire san Dòmhnaich, le Clann Dòmhnaill nan geur-lann

Luchd nan calpannan troma, chùl dona, cheum eutrom

Luchd tharraing nam biodag fo chriosan nan fhèilidh

Luchd nan claidheamhnan caol geala, chìthte faileas dhiubh làth’ grèine

Luchd nam boghannan iubhair, dh’fhuilingeadh lùbadh ’s nach leumadh

’S nan gunnaichean dubha, chuireadh smùid air na slèibhte
I am sad on the hillock, great is my sorrow

I saw my love but he did not even recognise me

He took no notice, did not ask, did not listen to my news

He need not have, I was not so fond of him

Going round the headland, I was depressed and weeping constantly

My beloved Clan Donald, they are the band I will not betray

The blessing of Mary and the Lord’s day, with Clan Donald of the sharpest blades

Men of the stout calves, brown-haired and light of step

Men who would draw their daggers from beneath the belts of their plaids

Men of the slender white swords, glinting in the summer’s sunlight

Men of the yew longbows, that would bend without slipping its bowstring

And the black guns that would send smoke rising from the slopes
2. A Pheigi, a Ghràidh (Peggy, my love)

R. Campbell arr. M.A. Kennedy & G. MacMillan

Guth/ Vocal: Gillebrìde

Clàrsach & Harmònium: Mary Ann

Giotàr/ Guitar: Norrie
Gillebrìde MacMillanmac Niall Sheonaidh Nèill from the Milton (Gearraidh Bhailteas) in South Uist. His mother is Ann Dhòmhnaill Ailean ’Illebhrìde from Boisdale and the family is one with a strong Gaelic background. Gaelic is his first language and Gaelic songs and traditions were always an important part of family life. Gillebrìde studied Celtic Studies and Geography at Glasgow University and he now works as a Gaelic distance-learning teacher and translator, as a singer and as a teacher of Gaelic songs and language at home and abroad. He is one of a select band to win both Gold Medals at the National Mòd, Gaeldom’s main cultural festival. He was based in northern Spain at the time of the recording and now lectures at Glasgow University.
Gillebrìde: A Pheigi a’ Ghràidh’ was composed by the South Uist bard Ruairidh Campbell, who was better known as ‘Ròideag’. He was a member of the Campbell family from South Lochboisdale who were famous bards. I used to hear this song being sung at cèilidhs in South Uist and it has always been one of my favourite songs.
A Pheigi, a ghràidh, ’s tu dh’fhàg mi buileach gun sunnd,
’S mi seòladh an-dràst’ thar sàil an dh’Astràilia null.
Tha ’n oidhche fliuch fuar, ’s mi shuas ga cumail air chùrs,
’S tu daonnan nam smuain a luaidh on dhealaich thu rium.

On dhealaich thu rium neo-shunndach m’aigne gach lath’,

’S mi seòladh a’ chuain ’s gach uair gam sgaradh od ghràdh;
Ma thug thu dhomh fuath ’s nach dual dhomh d’fhaighinn gu bràth,
Gu faic thu led shùil a rùin nach fhad bhios mi slàn.

Cho fad ’s thèid mi null bi dùil ‘am tilleadh a-nall

Far an do dh’fhàg mi mo rùn fo thùrs am baile nan Gall;
Gun tèid mi le sunnd a null a dh’Uibhist nam beann

Far am faigh mi ort còir le pòsadh ceangailte teann.

Ma gheibh mi ort còir rim bheò chan fhaicear ort dìth,

Gun toir mi dhut lòn gu leòr thar muir agus tìr;
’S ged chanadh an sluagh a luaidh nach dèanainn dhut nì,
Gun cuirinn am bàrr a ghràidh ged ’s maraiche mi.

Ged ’s maraiche mi tha sgìth a’ treabhadh a’ chuain,

Bha ’n iomadach àit’ is ceàrnaidh deas agus tuath,
Chan fhaca mi ann tè Ghallda sheasadh riut suas,
A bhean an fhuilt bhàin a chaidh àrach an Uibhist nam buadh.

An Uibhist nam buadh nach truagh nach mi bha leat ann,

Is fàinne dhen òr mud mheòir gar ceangal gu teann;
’S ma thilleas mi, luaidh, thar chuan an turus seo nall,
Dh’Àird Choinnich thèid sinn le cinnt gu faigh mi ort bann.
Peggy, my love, you’ve left me dispirited as I sail over the ocean to Australia. The night is wet and cold, and I’m above keeping her on course, and you are always in my thoughts, my dear, since we parted.

Since we parted, my spirit is sad every day, sailing the ocean and every hour separating me from your love; if you were averse to me, and if I’m not destined ever to win you, you will see for yourself, my love, that I will waste away.

As far as I may journey I will expect to return to where I left my love, in sadness, in the Lowland city; and I will happily go to Uist of the bens, where I will get you as mine with a strong-wedded marriage.

If I get you as mine, you will never be in need, I will give you enough food from sea and land; and even if the people would say, my dear, that I would do nothing for you, I would plant crops, my love, although I’m a seaman.

Although I am an seaman, who’s tired of sailing the ocean, who was in many a place from South to North, I never saw one who could be compared to you, o fair-haired woman who was raised in dear Uist.

It’s so sad that I am not with you in dear Uist, with a golden ring on your finger tightly binding us; and if I return, my love, over the ocean from this journey, to Ardkenneth we will go with certainty that I will make a bond with you.

3. An Gàidheal ’s a Leannan (The Gael and his Darling)

W. MacKenzie arr. G. Labhruidh, C.A. MacMillan, M.A. Kennedy

Guth/ Vocal: Calum Alex

Giotar/ Guitar: Griogair

Guthan taice: Mary Ann & Na Seòid

Calum Alex Macmillan - Calum Ailig Seonaidh Beag Seonaidh Chiorstaidh - was born and brought up on the Isle of Lewis. From an early age he was surrounded Gaelic song and traditional music, his father Seonaidh being the lead singer in the seminal 70s Gaelic folk group 'The Lochies'. Through his school years he was fortunate to receive piping lessons from the renowned P.M. Iain Murdo Morrison, who is a great influence to Calum Alex to this day. Another double Gold medal winner, he is a graduate of Aberdeen University and now works as a Gaelic Development Officer for Fèisean nan Gàidheal, which supports the network of grassroots Gaelic and music youth tuition festivals in Scotland. He was a member for several years of the West Coast band, Dàimh, as their first permanent vocalist, and now sings as part of the trio ‘Marloch’.
Calum Ailig: I learned this song from my father early in 2007. We were going through songbooks together when we came across 'Thèid is gun Tèid i Leam' - a song that Uilleam MacCoinnich, Ionarneis, wrote about leaving his homeland to seek new fortunes, but he like many other exiles was homesick and it was his longing wish to return back home. I had heard the song many times before but dad had a variation of the tune which I really enjoyed so when the call came for Na Seòid this was the first song that came to mind for me to perform with the group.
Thèid is gun tèid i leam

Leamsa gun tèid mo leannan

Thèid is gun tèid i leam
Chionn ’s gu bheil gach gleann na fhàsach, thèid mi fhìn 's mo Mhàiri thairis

Thèid i leam a tìr nam fraoch bheann, oir tha daoin’ a’ dol a fasan

Thèid i leam a-null thar sàile, far an dean an Gàidheal beairteas

Seòlaidh sinn a tìr ar dùthchais, cur ar cùlaibh ris na beannaibh

’S ged a bhiodh gach là na shamhradh, chaoidh bidh tìr nam beann air m’aire

’Us nan càirear anns an ùir sinn, ’se mo dhùrachd tilleadh dhachaidh
Chum ’s gun tòrrar mise m’ annsachd, ’n tìr nam Beann, nan Gleann, nan Gaisgeach
She will go, she will go with me.
Because every glen is now laid waste, my Mary and I will travel abroad
She will go with me from the land of the heathered hills, where people are no longer wanted
She will go with me overseas, to where the Gael can make his fortune
We will sail from our homeland, turning our backs on the hills
And though each day were summer, the land of the hills will ever be on my mind
And if we must be buried, it is my wish to return home
So that I can bury my beloved in the land of the hills, the glens, the heroes

4. Sios Dhan an Abhainn (Down in the River to Pray)

Gaelic translation K. Campbell, Trad. arr. M.A. Kennedy
Guth: Mary Ann

Guthan taice: Na Seòid
Mary Ann Kennedy Mairi Anna nighean Alasdair Uilleam Alasdair – was brought up a Glasgow Gael with Gaelic in the house and amongst her parents’ exile Highland and island friends. She grew up in a part of the city where a second language was no great surprise with many ethnic communities living cheek-by-jowl. She studied as a classical musician from an early age, above all by the Russian-trained Australian pianist, Elisabeth Jacobs, who believed that a musician should sing any music to be able truly to perform it. This, combined with the constant songstream of her mother and her family is what she believes formed her abiding passion for the human voice. She is also a double Gold Medallist.

Màiri Anna: I love the Coen brothers’ movie, ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?’, and also the accompanying film of the concert, ‘Down From the Mountain’, which I reckon is the closest I’ve ever seen to a perfect recording of live performance of any genre of music. What will the movie that brings real Gaelic music to the masses? I heard a long-time musical friend, Kenny Thomson and his choir - Ceolraidh Gàidhlig Ghlaschu - sing this in English, and asked my mother, who has a rare gift for translating into beautiful, singable Gaelic, to write a Gaelic version. The result sat on my desk for over two years – I believe it was waiting for Na Seòid.

Nuair chaidh mi sios dhan an abhainn an dé, ’g ùrnaigh ’s a’ foghlam facal Dhé,
Is có a dhleasas crùn nan seud, Mhic Dhé, stiùir mi nad cheum.

O bhràithrean, rachamaid sios, rachamaid sios, thugnamaid sios;

O bhràithrean, rachamaid sios, dh’ùrnaigh san abhainn le chèil’.

Nuair chaidh mi sios dhan an abhainn an dé, ’g ùrnaigh ’s a’ foghlam facal Dhé,

’S có gheibh an trusgan ’s crùn nan seud, Mhic Dhé, stiùir mi nad cheum.

O pheathraichean, rachamaid sios, rachamaid sios, thugnamaid sios;

O pheathraichean, rachamaid sios, dh’ùrnaigh san abhainn le chèil’.

Nuair chaidh mi sios dhan an abhainn an dé, ’g ùrnaigh ’s a’ foghlam facal Dhé,

Is có a dhleasas crùn nan seud, Mhic Dhé, stiùir mi nad cheum.

O, athraichean, rachamaid sios, rachamaid sios, thugnamaid sios;

O, athraichean, rachamaid sios, dh’ùrnaigh san abhainn le chèil’.

Nuair chaidh mi sios dhan an abhainn an dé, ’g ùrnaigh ’s a’ foghlam facal Dhé,

Is có gheibh an trusgan ’s crùn nan seud, Mhic Dhé, stiùir mi nad cheum.

Mhàthraichean, rachamaid sios, thugnamaid sios, nach tig sibh sios;

Mhàthraichean, rachamaid sios, dh’ùrnaigh san abhainn le chèil’.

Nuair chaidh mi sios dhan an abhainn an dé, ’g ùrnaigh ’s a’ foghlam facal Dhé,

Is có a dhleasas crùn nan seud, Mhic Dhé, stiùir mi nad cheum.

As I went down in the river to pray, studyin’ about that good ol’ way
and who shall wear the starry crown? Good Lord, show me the way!

O brothers, let’s go down, let’s go down, come on down,

O brothers, let’s go down, down in the river to pray.

As I went down in the river to pray, studyin’ about that good ol’ way,

And who shall wear the robe & crown? Good Lord, show me the way.

O sisters, let’s go down, let’s go down, come on down,

O sisters, let’s go down, down in the river to pray.

As I went down in the river to pray, studyin’ about that good ol’ way

And who shall wear the starry crown? Good Lord, show me the way.

O fathers, let’s go down, let’s go down, come on down,

O fathers, let’s go down, down in the river to pray.

As I went down in the river to pray, studyin’ about that good ol’ way,
And who shall wear the robe and crown? Good Lord, show me the way.

O mothers, let’s go down, come on down, don’t you wanna go down?

O mothers, let’s go down, down in the river to pray.

As I went down in the river to pray, studyin’ about that good ol’ way,

And who shall wear the starry crown? Good Lord show me the way.

5. Puirt-a-beul – Bodach Innse Chrò (The Old Man of Inchcro), Maoileas Mòr na Guailne (Big Myles), Inns’ Dhòmh-sa Ca’il Thu Cadal (Tell me Where you’re Sleeping), Na Tri Aonghais (The Three Anguses Off A-Courting), O Gur Duine Truagh Mi (Poor Man I Am)

Trad. arr. G. MacMillan, N. MacIver, J. Graham
Guthan/ Vocals: Gillebrìde, Norrie, James

Màiri Anna: My mother Kenna Campbell’s family, Clann a’ Ghnìoba – singers and pipers - are known above all as the great exponents of puirt-a-beul, or vocal dance-tunes. It’s no surprise as singers who are instrumentalists themselves, many of them pipers, that Na Seòid should sing a great set of puirt. This is one of two sets that Kenna generously shared with us. ‘Bodach Innse Chrò’ is also known as ‘The Dusty Miller’ - RSAMD lecturer Eric Rice has suggested that it could stem from an unusual hybrid which was known as a ‘strathspey minuet’. ‘Maoileas Mòr’ is a strathspey which was collected from James MacDonald, a crofter from Kilmuir in SKye and appears in the collection ‘Clò Dubh, Clò Donn’, compiled by Morag MacLeod of the Isle of Scalpay and the School of Scottish Studies, a song collector and researcher, and one of Gaeldom’s national treasures. ‘Inns Dhòmhsa Cà’il thu Cadal’ is a popular strathspey while ‘Na Trì Aonghais’ is a port whose tune was also used by Robert Burns for his song, ‘Corn Rigs’ - the words here are a neater twist to the more commonly-sung ones, from Keith Norman MacDonald’s collection, ‘Puirt a Beul’ (1901). ‘O Gur Duine Truagh Mi’ was written by Morag MacLeod’s brother Angus – one of the greatest singers of his generation.

Bodach Innse Chrò
Bodach Innse Chrò, Bodach Inbhir-Seile,

Bodach Innse Chrò, Bodach Inbhir-Seile.

Thuirt an dara bodach ris a’ bhodach eile,

Cuiridh mi do cheann ann an lag an teine.

The old man of Inchcro, the old man of Invershiel.

The one old man said to the other, I’ll shove your head in the hearth.
Maoileas Mòr na Guailne
Maoileas Mòr na Guailne a-null Blàr a’ Bhuailte,

Maoileas Mòr na Guailne a-null Glaic a’ Ghrògair.

Tha seann bhriogais lachdan air, tha seann dosag liath air,

Tha seann bhriogais lachdan air, ’s chan fhaigh e bean gu siorraidh.

Big Myles of Gualainn, heading along Blàr a’ Bhuailte,

Big Myles heading along Glaic a’ Ghrògair.

He wears old grey breeks, his ageing forelock is grey,

He wears old grey breeks, he’ll never get himself a wife.
Inns Dhòmhsa Cà’il Thu Cadal
Inns dhòmhsa cà’il thu cadal, cà’il thu cadal, cà’il thu cadal,

Inns dhòmhsa cà’il thu cadal, ’s cò tha cadal còmh riut.       

Leabaidh àrd an cùil an teine, leabaidh àrd an cùil an teine,

Leabaidh àrd an cùil an teine, còmhla ri mo sheanmhair.       

Tell me where you’re sleeping, and who’s sleeping with you.

A tall bed beside the fire, along with my granny.
Na Trì Aonghais
Tha na trì Aonghais a’ togairt dol a shuirighe,

Tha na trì Aonghais a’ togairt dol air sràid,

Tha na trì Aonghais a’ togairt dol a shuirighe,

’S mur a faigh iad duin’ aig baile, cumaidh iad gu h-àrd.

Suirighichean, suirighichean, feadh a’ bhaile timcheall,

Suirighichean, suirighichean, timcheall an àit;

Suirighichean, suirighichean, feadh a’ bhaile timcheall,

’S mur a faigh iad duin’ aig baile, cumaidh iad gu h-àrd.

The three Anguses are setting off a-courting,

The three Anguses are taking to the road,

The three Anguses are setting off a-courting,

And should they find no-one at home, they’ll keep to the high road.
Suitors, suitors all around the town,

Suitors, suitors, all around the place;

Suitors, suitors, all around the town,

And should they find no-one at home, they’ll keep to the high road.
O Gur Duine Truagh Mi
O gur duine truagh mi, nach eil agaibh truas rium;

’S mios’ e na gach buaireadh a bhuaileas mac màthar.

Chuir e na mo cheò mi, ’s gann is duine beò mi;

Mulachan gun dòigh mi is spòrs air mo shàilleabh.

Co-dhiù bhithinn togarrach, co-dhiù bhithinn deònach,

Co-dhìu bhithinn togarrach air Raonaid no Seònaid;

A Rìgh nach robh fios agam gu cinnteach is dòigheil,

’S mi bhiodh sgiobalta air m’ fhìrinn ga pòsadh.

O poor man am I, have you no pity for me;

Worse than any trouble that affects a man.

It put me in a spin, it just about killed me;

A great unhappy lump, me, with fun being had at my expense.
Would I be happy, would I be willing,

Would I be happy with the choice of Rachel or Janet;

Lord, if I knew for certain,

I’d waste no time on my honour in marrying her.

6. Mo Chailin Dìleas Donn (My Faithful Brown-haired Girl)

H. MacKenzie arr. N. MacIver, M.A. Kennedy

Guth/ Vocal & Djembe: Norrie

Clàrsach: Mary Ann

Bocsa/ Accordion: Angus

Fìdeag/ Whistle: Calum Alex

Guma slàn a chì mi mo chailin dìleas donn,

Bean a’ chuailein réidh air an deis’ a dh’eireadh fonn;

’S i cainnt do bheòil bu bhinne leam an uair bhiodh m’inntinn trom,

’S tu thogadh suas mo chridh’ nuair a bhiodh tu bruidhinn rium.

Gur muladach a ta mi ’s mi nochd air aird a’ chuain;

Neo-shunndach mo chadal dhomh ‘s do chaidreamh fada bhuam;

Gur tric mi ort a’ smaointinn, as t’eugmhais tha mi truagh,

Is mur a dèan mi d’fhaotainn, cha bhi mo shaoghal buan.

Tacan mun do sheòl sinn is ann a thoisich càch

Ri innseadh do mo chruinneag-sa nach tillinn-sa gu bràth;

Na cuireadh siud ort gruaimean, a luaidh, ma bhios mi slàn,

Cha chum dad idir uait mi ach saighead chruaidh a’ bhàis.

Tha ’n t-snaidhm a-nise ceangailte gu daingeann agus teann

Ged theireadh cach, ’s iad fanaid rium, nach eil mo phrothaid ann;

Am fear aig a bheil fortan, tha crois aige na cheann,

’S tha mise taingeil, toilichte, ged tha mo sporan gann.

Healthy may I see you, my brown-haired faithful girl, woman of the smooth tresses whose shapely form is my delight; Your talk is the sweetest to me when my mind is heavy, and you would lift up my heart whenever you would speak to me.
Sad am I tonight on the high seas; my sleep is restless and I am far from your embrace; I think on you often, without you I am nothing, and if I can’t have you, I will not remain long in this world.
Shortly before I sailed, others began to tell my love that I would not return; don’t be down-hearted, my love - if I have my health, nothing will keep you from me but the harsh arrow of death.
The knot is now tied strongly and tightly though others say scornfully that there is no gain in it for me; the man who has a fortune has a troubled mind, and I am thankful and happy though my money is scarce.

7. A Chiall ’s a Ghràidh (O Love and Reason)

S. MacLean/ A. MacDonald arr. M.A. Kennedy, J. Graham
Guth: James

Clàrsach: Mary Ann

James Graham - Seumas Uilleam Ailig Uilleam Iain Uisdean Dhòmhnaill - is from Lochinver in the Parish of Assynt in the far north-west corner of Sutherland. He started singing at nine years old under the guidance of the local headmaster, Kenny Mackenzie. James could have ended up pursuing a footballing career but elected instead to head for the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama where he studied piping and song, the latter with the respected Gaelic singer and scholar Kenna Campbell. In 2004 he won the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year Award - the first male and first Gaelic musician to do so. He chose to return to study, learning Gaelic to fluency at the Gaelic college, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, on the Isle of Skye. He won his Gold Medal at the National Mòd in Lochaber in 2007.

Màiri Anna: This setting of one of Sorley MacLean’s great love poems was created by Allan MacDonald (of the piping brothers of Glenuig) as part of ‘Eadar an Saoghal ‘s a’ Bhithbhuan’, a musical celebration of the work of one of the greatest European poets of the 20th Century, instigated by the Trust established to perpetuate his memory. James and I, who were very much involved in the project, created this arrangement based on a recording of Allan’s own singing, which was accompanied simply but elegantly by Neil Johnstone on ’cello. Seumas’s youthful voice I think particularly suits the words of this particular dàn to ‘Eimhir’ perfectly, written as it was when Somhairle was only 20.

Dàin do Eimhir II – A Chiall ’s a Ghràidh
Ma thubhairt ar cainnt gu bheil a’ chiall

co-ionnan ris a’ ghaol,

chan fhìor dhi.
Nuair dhearc mo shùil air t-aodann

cha do nochd e ciall a’ ghràidh

cha d’ fheòraich mi mun trian ud.
Nuair chuala mi do ghuth cha d’ rinn

e ’n roinneadh seo ’nam chrè;

cha d’ rinn a’ chiad uair.
Ach dhiùchd siud dhomh gun aithne dhomh

is reub e friamh mo chrè,

gam sguabadh leis ’na shiaban.
Leis na bha dhomh de bheannachadh

gun d’ rinn mi faileas strì;

gun d’ rinneadh gleac lem chèill.
Bho dhoimhne an t-seann ghliocais seo

’s ann labhair mi rim ghaol:

Cha diù liom thu, cha diù bhuam.
Air an taobh a-staigh mo ghaol,

mo thuigse air an taobh ghrinn,

is bhristeadh a’ chòmhla bhaoth.
Is thubhairt mo thuigse ri mo ghaol:

Cha dhuinn an dùbailteachd:

tha ’n coimeasgadh sa ghaol.
Reason and Love

If our language has said that reason

is identical with love,

it is not speaking the truth.
When my eye lighted on your face

it did not show the reason in love,

I did not ask about that third part.
When I heard your voice it did not make

this division in my flesh;

it did not the first time.
But that came to me without my knowing

and it tore the root of my being,

sweeping me with it in its drift.
With all I had of apprehension

I put up a shadow of fight;

My reason struggled.
From the depths of this old wisdom

I spoke to my love:

You are not worthy of me, nor of me.
On the inside my love,

my intellect on the elegant side,

and the foolish door was broken.
And my intellect said to my love:

Duality is not for us;

we mingle in love.
8. Puirt-a-beul - Amadan Gòrach Saighdear (The Foolish Soldier), Dili Ò Iodalam, Am Pige Ruadh (The Red Pig)

Trad. arr. M.A. Kennedy, C.A. MacMillan, G. Labhruidh, T. MacArthur

Guthan/ Vocals: Mary Ann, Calum Alex, Griogair, Tormod

Màiri Anna: This is the second of two sets that my mother Kenna gave us – she obviously knew the boys well, looking at the subject matter! ‘Amadan Gòrach Saighdeir’, also known as ‘The Grinder’, again comes from Keith Norman MacDonald’s collection. ‘Dili o Iodalam’ is a great strathspey, learned from the infectious singing of two great singers of puirt-a-beul, Iain Pheadair and Iain Ruadh of South Uist. The final reel is a great version of the tongue-twister, ‘Am Pige Ruadh’ – a popular tune and particularly well sung by singers of an older generation such as Angus Whyte from Islay.

Amadan Gòrach Saighdeir
Amadan gòrach, gòrach, amadan gòrach saighdeir,

Amadan gòrach, gòrach, chunna mi ’g òl a-raoir thu.

Chunna mi gabhail an rathaid thu, le t-uile ball airm a’ stroighlich,

Thu gearan an rathad a bhi garbh, ach, a bhalaich, sann bha e ro-aimhleathann.

Foolish idiot of a soldier, I saw you drinking last night.
I saw you take to the road, with every weapon clanking,

You complaining that the road was hard, but boy, it was rather too narrow.
Dili Ò Iodalam
Dili ò iodalam, deur chaneil ’s a’ phig’ agam.

Dili ò iodalam, deur cha robh riamh ann.

Dili ò iodalam, eil deur idir, idir ann?

Dili ò iodalam, deur cha robh riamh ann.

’N cuala sibh mu Dhomhnull òg? Bha e còir sgiobalta.

’N cuala sibh mu Dhomhnull òg? Bha e còir bòidheach.

’N cuala sibh mu Dhomhnull òg? Bha e còir sgiobalta.

Sgiobalta bha Domhnull òg, leis an t-seana chòta.

Nuair thig Domhnull ris an t-sliabh, ’s fiadhaich a ruitheas e.

Nuair thig Domhnull ris an t-sliabh, ’s fiadhaich a dh’fhalbhas e.

Nuair thig Domhnull ris an t-sliabh, ’s fiadhaich a ruitheas e.

Domhnull cho luath ris an fhiadh, agus aona bhròig air.

Dili ò iodalam, there’s not a drop in my pig*.

Dili ò iodalam, there was never a drop in it.

Dili ò iodalam, is there not a drop at all in it?

Dili ò iodalam, there was never a drop in it.
Did you hear about young Donald? He was neat and tidy.

Did you hear about young Donald? He was beautifully neat.

N cuala sibh mu Dhomhnull òg? Bha e còir sgiobalta.

Sgiobalta bha Domhnull òg, leis an t-seana chòta.
Nuair thig Domhnull ris an t-sliabh, ’s fiadhaich a ruitheas e.

Nuair thig Domhnull ris an t-sliabh, ’s fiadhaich a dh’fhalbhas e.

Nuair thig Domhnull ris an t-sliabh, ’s fiadhaich a ruitheas e.

Domhnull cho luath ris an fhiadh, agus aona bhròig air.
*a clay jar
Am Pige Ruadh
Fhuaireas am pige ruadh, fhuaireas na gloinneachan;

Fhuaireas am pige ruadh, ann an crò nan eireagan.

Hùg oir-ri gi-ri goiri, hùg oir-ri gi-ri goiri,

Hùg oir-ri gi-ri goiri, ann an crò nan eireagan.

Hùg oir-ri gi-ri goiri, hùg oir-ri gi-ri goiri,

Hùg oir-ri hé goiri, ann an crò nan eireagan.

Thàinig ’s gun d’thàinig, thàinig na maraichean;

Thàinig ’s gun d’thàinig, ’s ma thàinig, cha d’ fhairich mi.

Maraichean an t-sùgraidh, bu shunndach a’ leannain iad.

’S théid am pige air bòrd agus òlaidh sinn falamh e.

Làn taighe dh’fhìdhleirean, làn taighe chaileagan,

Làn taighe lùba dubha, àn taighe mharagan.

The pig was fetched out, the glasses were fetched, the pig was fetched out to the chicken-run.
The sailors came, and if they did, I did not notice.
The courting sailors, I’d happily follow them. The pig will be brought aboard and we’ll drink it dry.
A house full of fiddlers, a house full of girls, a house full of black puddings.

9. A Mhàiri Bhòidheach

Trad. Arr. M.A. Kennedy, T. MacArtair
Guth/ Vocal: Tormod

Clàrsach: Mary Ann

Bocsa/ Accordion: Angus

Guthan taice/ Backing vocals: Calum Alex, James, Norrie

On his father’s side, Tormod MacArthur is Tormod Dhòmhnaill Thormoid Dhòmhnaill Aonghais Chaluim Dhòmhnaill Aonghais from Borriston, Carloway, on the Isle of Lewis, or Mac Dhòmhnaill Ruaidh if you are in a hurry. On his mother’s side, Mac Ealasaid Sheonaidh Iain Bhig from Black Park, Broadford, in the Isle of Skye. Seonaidh (John Robertson) played pipes, melodeon and fiddle - Tormod even remembers him step-dancing in the kitchen in Black Park - he was captured at St Valery at the beginning of WWII and mistaken for a German when the Russians liberated their camp. On the Carloway side there were many musicians including his grandmother’s brother Rob Calum MacLeod who composed the famous song ‘Càrlabhagh’, while their sister Ciorstaidh, who played the fiddle, composed the tune. Tormod is a secondary school teacher in Dingwall, but his heart lies with making music and writing songs. He won the coveted Sean-Nòs (traditional) Gold Medal at the National Mòd in 2006.

Tormod: Màiri Anna’s uncle, Seumas, suggested this song to me when we were out in Brittany at a Celtic Congress. I had always loved the melody but had never researched the song itself. It was composed by a teacher in North Uist who fell deeply in love with a girl he was tutoring for a local family. He could never pursue this love due to his position in the community. He fell into depression and died consumed by his feelings. There is a dark edge to this story which appealed to me as often the song is sung quite sweetly. Yes, I am a teacher too but please don’t draw any conclusions!

A Mhàiri bhòidheach ‘s a Mhàiri ghaolach,

A Mhàiri bhòidheach gur mor mo ghaol ort;

A Mhàiri bhòidheach, gur tu a chlaoidh mi,

S a dh’fhàg mi brònach gun dòigh air d’fhaotainn.

A Mhàiri bhòidheach, gur mòr mo ghaol ort,

Is tric mi cuimhneachadh ort ‘s mi’m ònar.

Ged a shiubhlainn gach ceum dhen t-saoghal,

Bith t’iomhaigh bhòidheach ‘tighinn beò gach taobh dhiom.

‘S truagh nach robh mi ’s mo Mhàiri bhòidheach

Ann an gleannan faoin ’s ceò air;

Ged bu rìgh mi ’s an Roinn Eòrpa,

Chan iarrainn pòg ach o Mhàiri bhòidheach.

Do shùilean meallach fo d’ mhala bhòidhich,

Do bhilean tana air dhath nan ròsan;

Slios mar chanach an gleannan mòintich,

’S do ghruaidh mar chaoran fo sèith nam mòr-bheann.

Guma slàn do mo Mhàiri bhòideach,

Ge b’e àite sam bi i còmhnaidh;

’S e mo dhùrachd cho fad’s is beò mi,

Gum bi gach sòlas aig Màiri bhòidheach.

Beautiful Mary, beloved Mary, beautiful Mary, how I love you;

Beautiful Mary, you have tormented me, and left me sad with no way of winning you.

Beautiful Mary, how I love you; I remember you often when I’m on my own. Though I might travel the whole world, your beautiful image will surround me.

O that I and beautiful Mary were together in a lonely, misty glen; though I should be a European king, I’d ask a kiss only of beautiful Mary.
Your bewitching eyes beneath your beautiful forehead, your narrow rose-coloured lips; your body as fair as the bog-cotton of the moorland glen, and your cheek like the berry in the shade of the high mountains.
I wish my beautiful Mary well, wherever she may settle; it is my life-long wish that beautiful Mary should be as content as possible.

10. Sgeir an Òir (The Golden Headland)

Trad. arr. J. Graham/ M.A. Kennedy
Guth: James

Guthan taice: Na Seòid
James is very proud of his Sutherland background, and although he was not brought up in a Gaelic-speaking home, the language was still to be heard in the area while he was growing up. He was greatly inspired by his great Aunt Seordag Murray, a native Gaelic speaker from the nearby village of Achilitibuie, with whom he spent hour upon hour learning songs and listening to her fascinating stories and life experiences.
Seumas: I spent my fourth year at the RSAMD researching and learning songs from north-west Sutherland. I feel a real connection with these songs, especially when – like Sgeir an Oir – I can see in my mind’s eye the places named in the song, places not so well-known to folk from outside this remote part of the Highlands. There are several songs to this tune and refrain – including one from Kenna Campbell’s home township (Cnoc nan Craobh) and a popular Lewis version. This Sutherland version takes you from Castle Bharraich to Talmine, Durness to Cape Wrath.

An tèid thu leam a rìbhinn mhaiseach, am falbh thu leam a rìbhinn òg?

An tèid thu leam a rìbhinn uasal, null air chuairt do Sgeir an Òir?

Tha Caolas Thung’ na sealladh àlainn suas Slios Àrdachadh nan crann,

Far bheil na h-eòin ri ceilear samhraidh is coileach dubh le gulban crom

Chì thu Beinn Laghail, ‘s i cho àlainn le sgoran àrd tha gorm le ceò.

Chì thu Beinn h-Òb ‘s ionad àirigh do na sprèidh nach gabh an cròth

Tha Eilean Goill am beul a’ chaolais, Eilean Neimh is Eilean Ròin,

An t-Eilean Creagach mach dheth Dìleag(?), Eilean Chaol is Dubh Sgeir Mhòr

Chì thu Rudh Shrathaidh is Rudh Thutaig, chì thu Putaig is an Clò,

Chì thu Faraid gorm a’ mhurain, ‘s ann ri thaobh tha Eilean Hò.

Chì thu Ruspuinn is an t-Aigeach, Uamh Dhiadhaidh is Rudha Ruadh,

Port nan Con is Bad Li Thàmhais, Geò a’ Bhàigh is Inbhir h-Òb.

Will you go with me my beautiful girl, will you come away with me, my beautiful young girl?

Will you go with me my beautiful girl, and journey with me to Sgeir an Òir?

The Kyle of Tongue is a beautiful sight up to Slios Àrdachadh of the trees,

Where the birds sing their summer song, and the black-cock with it crooked beak.
You can see the beautiful Ben Loyal, its high peaks blue with mist.

You can see Ben Hope and its summer grazing for the cattle that cannot be enclosed.
Eilean Goill sits in the mouth of the Kyle, Neave Island and Eilean Ròin,

Eilean Creagach and out from it Dìleag, Eilean Chaol and the great Dubh-Sgeir.
You can see Strathy Point and Rudh Thutaig, you can see Putaig and the Clò,

You can see Farraid Head of the blue maram-grass, and beside it is Eilean Hoan.
You can see Rispond and An t-Aigeach, Uamh Dhiadhaidh is Rudha Ruadh,

Port nan Con is Bad Li Thàmhais, Geò a’ Bhàigh and Inbhir h-Òb.

11. Oran Mhanitoba (Manitoba)

J. MacLean arr. A. MacPhail, M. A. Kennedy

Guth is bocsa/ Vocal & accordion: Angus

Clàrsach: Mary Ann

Guthan taice/ Backing vocals: Na Seòid
Angus MacPhail, Aonghas Eachann Chaluim Eoghain, belongs to the Isle of Tiree, youngest son of merchant seaman and lobster fisherman Hector MacPhail, Eachann Mòr, and Flora MacDonald, Flòraidh Sgiobanais, schoolteacher and daughter of a master mariner. By co-incidence, his first, premature, weeks on the planet were in the care of the highly-influential piper, Dr Angus MacDonald of Glenuig. Angus spent his young summers fishing with his brother and began playing accordion with Gordon Connel, whom he credits above anyone for bringing him to the world of music. He headed for the baile mòr after a year crewing on a scallop dredger and a crab boat off the Isle of Mull to study traditional music at the RSAMD in Glasgow. There he teamed up with fellow student Andrew Stevenson to form Skipinnish, who have gone on to become one of the driving forces in West Coast music. It was in his final year at college with the encouragement and inspiration of his tutor, Kenna Campbell, that he began learning Gaelic songs - including Oran Mhanitoba.

Aonghas: This song was composed by John MacLean of Balemartin, Tiree (1827–1895). He was known in Gaelic as Bàrd Bhaile Mhàrtainn and was renowned for his great versatility as a bard. In Oran Mhanitoba he shows his ability to compose powerful political verse. The song was written for two MacLean brothers, John and Charles, who emigrated from Balephuil (Baile nam Bàrd, the township of the bards) in 1877. The song relates the bard’s personal sadness at his friends’ departure, but also strongly condemns the injustices affecting the Highlands as a whole at that time. I learnt this song from Kenna Campbell, and this version of it was taken from a recording by Dr Margaret MacKay of Hector Kennedy (Eachann Mòr Deny) of Moss, Tiree.

Gur muladach mise ’s mi seo gun duin’ idir

A thogas, no thuigeas, no sheinneas leam dàn.

Le dùrachd mo chridhe, soraidh slàn leis na gillean

A sheòl thar an linne gu Manitoba.

O ’s bu ghrianach ar madainn nuair bha sinn nar balaich,

Gun chùram, gun ghearain, gun teannachadh màil,

Ach sunndach, làn aigheir, cha laigheadh a’ smalan

Air a’ chomann a bh’againn am Baile nam Bàrd.

’S nar a ràinig a’ mhadainn gu dol air an aineol,

’S a thional gach caraid a bh’aca san àit’,

Chan urra mi aithris am bròn a bh’air m’aire

Cur an cùl ris a’ bhaile sa’ mhadainn Dimàirt.

Chan fhaic mi san àm seo ach caoraich air bheanntan:

Chaneil as a’ ghleann ach fear Gallda no dhà:

Am beagan a dh’fhan dhiubh air rudhaichean-mara

Gan iomain gu cladach ’s gam feannadh le màl.

Tha luchd-fhearainn shaoir as an àm seo ro-ghaolach

Air stòras an t-saoghail a shlaodadh bho chàch;

G’eil innleachdan baoghail sa’ Ghàidhealtachd seo daonnan

Air fògair nan daoine ’s chur chaorach nan àit.

’Se faileas nan daoine; ‘s nach sgarach an saoghal -

’Se ’s fasan dha daonnan bhith caochladh gach là.

Nar coigrich air uachdar, cha mhaireann ’s cha bhuan sinn

Is mìltean de thruaghain gam fuadach far sàil.

Luchd fhèilidh is osan, fo bhonaidean cocte,

Bha riamh air am moladh air thoiseach nam blàr,

Tha’n diugh gan cur thairis gu dùthaich neo-fhalain

’S gun nìth air an aire ach a’ fearann chur fàs.

How sad I am here without a single companion to raise a chorus, or understand or sing a song with me. From the depths of my heart I send a farewell blessing to the lads who sailed on the voyage to Manitoba.

How sunny was our morning in the days of our boyhood, carefree, uncomplaining, unoppressed by the rent, we were light-hearted and joyous; no cloud overshadowed the good fellowship that was ours in Baile nam Bàrd (Balephuil).

When the morning came when they were to set out for a strange land and every friend they had in the place had gathered together, I cannot express the sorrow that weighed me down as they turned their backs on the township on that Tuesday morning.
I can see nothing but sheep on the hillsides: there is no-one left in the glen but a stranger or two: the few of them who are left are on headlands by the sea, driven to the shore and flayed with rents.
The land-owning proprietors at this time are all too eager to grab for themselves the worldly possessions of all the rest; cunning schemes are always being used here in the land of the Gaels to drive the people out and make room for sheep.
The people are but shadows; how fickle the world is – it is ever its nature to change day by day. We are strangers upon its face, we are fleeting and impermanent, with thousands of poor wretches being driven overseas.
The wearers of the kilt and the hose and cocked bonnet, who were always renowned in the forefront of battle, are today being driven abroad to unwholesome countries with no other object but to lay waste the land.
I shall say nothing more of the deeds of the brave men but only mention Russia and the Heights of Alma: it is the weight of the rent that has left the Gaels few in numbers: forgotten are Sebastapol and Balaclava.

12. Na Seòid

T. MacArtair
Guth & Giotàr/ Vocal & guitar: Tormod

Giotàr/ Guitar: Norrie

Clàrsach: Mary Ann

Fìdeag/ Whistle: Calum Alex

Guthan taice/ Backing vocals: Na Seòid

Tormod’s grandfather’s cousin, Iain MacLean (Knox) was a survivor of the ‘Iolaire’ disaster on New Year’s Day 1919, in which 205 men returning from the Great War were drowned just yards offshore from their home island. He was known for his humorous ‘bàrdachd baile’ (village poetry). It was one of Knox’s songs with which Tormod won his Gold Medal, and the gift of song-writing appears to be genetic.

Tormod: I have many fond memories of people and events that made a lasting impression on me as a young lad – real seòid. Alec Ruadh, Borriston, showing me impossibly difficult chanter exercises, my grandmother crying when she would hear ‘Càrlabhagh’, my Uncle Iain playing Gaelic tunes on his guitar, cèilidhean in Black Park when Andy Stoddart would appear with the chanter up the sleeve of his coat, Dòmhnall Eardsaidh Mac Fhionghuin mesmerising me with his presence (I thought he was like Robert Mitchum or John Wayne) and with his singing. Many a time I was dragged out of bed and stood in front of the fire and ordered to give them probably the only tune I knew on the pipes. I didn’t appreciate it much at the time but I know they did. I know Seonaidh did. It could just as well have been Pipe Major Donald MacLeod himself playing for him. This was an attempt to write something that we could use to introduce the band on the short tour we did as part of the Blas festival where we made our début. Perhaps if Knox had been in the band, he might have written something like this.

Ho ro thugainnibh, nach tig sibh uile cuide rinn.
Fo sgàil a’ Chaisteil Lèith, Suilbheinn mar a chanar rith’,

Cluinnear guth binn Sheumais mar shluaisreadh Tràigh Ach’ Mhealbhaich.

A-mach gu muir am bàta leinn san Caiptean aig an stiùir,

Fear sgairteil calma Tioraisdeach san ceòl aige ar n-iùl.

Griogair còir am pìobaire, seinneadair is sgrìobhadair,

A’ togail cliù sa’ seasamh dlùth ri cànan ’s ceòl a shinnsir.

Tha Norrie òg Tàgo ann, is djembe aig’ fo achlais,

Drum’ a bh’aig na tùsanaich an eachdraidh sgire Chàrlabhaigh.

C. A. Mac a’ Mhaoilein, a shliochd o Bhàrd Chnoc Chùsbaig,

Cluinnear dàimh ri Eilean Fraoich ‘s na rannan aig na dhuanaig.

Farewell and adieu to ye fair Spanish ladies, soraidh slàn is beannachd leibh.

Tha Gillebrìd’ an deidh ur fàgail a thighinn a sheinn leis na laoich.

Chaneil fileantachd nam bhriathran, tha liut a’ bhàird gam dhìth,

san òran bheag aotrom seo ris a bheil mi strì;

Lùiginn fiathachadh thoirt dhuibh falbh leinn air chuairt tro gach sgìr’,

’s Mairi Anna le ceann na maide rinn, nar cliar air feadh na tìr’.

Ho ro come with us, won’t you come along with us.
In the shadow of the ‘Grey Castle’, Suilven as it’s known, James’s voice can be heard like the lapping of waves on Achmelvich’s shore.
Out to sea, ourselves on board with the Captain at the helm, the mighty, brawny Tireeman, his music to guide us.
Griogair the piper, a singer and writer too, upholding the reputation and standing up for the language and music of his ancestors.
Young Norrie ‘Tago’ is there with djembe under his arm, a drum that was known to the original natives of Carloway.
C.A MacMillan – descended from the Bard of Cnoc Chùsbaig, you can hear the connection to the Isle of Lewis in the verses he sings.
Farewell and adieu to ye fair Spanish ladies, farewell and good wishes to you,

Gillebrìde has abandoned you to come and sing with the lads.
I have not the fluency of expression, the gift of the bard escapes me in this little ditty with which I’m wrestling; I’d like to invite you to come with us touring all around, with Mary Ann keeping a sharp eye on this roving band of entertainers.

Album Photography: Nick Turner

Front cover: Photograph of Dugald MacMillan, captain of Ballchulish Shinty Club on winning the Camanachd Cup in 1901.
We gratefully acknowledge Michael Schmidt and the Carcanet Press for permission to reproduce Sorley MacLean’s poem, ‘A Chiall ‘s a Ghràidh’.
Proofreading: Gillebrìde MacMillan

Buidheachas do/ thanks to:

Kenna Campbell; Morag MacLeod; Nick Turner; Kenny Thomson; The Sorley MacLean Trust and Family; Arthur & Shona Cormack; the Blas Festival team; Iain Hamilton @ Highlands & Islands Enterprise; Jana Anžič; Donald, Elizabeth & Mairi MacArthur; Meantime; Calum Ailig’s friends and family; Angela Kennedy; Donald Shaw & Celtic Connections; Kirsteen MacDonald; Cailean MacLean; Alasdair MacMillan; Willie MacDonald & Ballachulish Shinty Club; Margaret MacKay; Billy Kay.

1. Chunna Mise mo Leannan 4.01

2. A Pheigi a Ghràidh 4.02

3. An Gàidheal ‘s a Leannan 3.18

4. Sios dhan an Abhainn 3.29

5. Bodach Innse Chrò 3.51

6. Mo Chailin Dìleas Donn 3.55

7. A Chiall ‘s a Ghràidh 2.40

8. Amadan Gòrach Saighdeir 3.21

9. A Mhairi Bhòidheach 5.28

10. Sgeir an Òir 4.07

11. Oran Mhanitoba 3.43

12. Na Seòid 2.34

A Watercolour Music Production by Mary Ann Kennedy and Nick Turner

Recorded, mixed and mastered at Watercolour Studios, Nov 07-Jan 08

All tracks PRS/MCPS


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