Ailie Robertson – “Old Maids of Galway/Downey’s/Brian Kelly’s”.

   Hiya people! 🙂 

   For today I have for you a medley of three traditional Celtic tunes played by the Scottish harpist AIlie Robertson, whose music I’ve frequently shared on here before. I believe all of these tunes are Irish in origins. 

 Ailie Robertson – “Old Maids of Galway/Downey’s/Brian Kelly’s

Phamie Gow ft. The Royal Scots Dragon Guards – “The Celtic Knot”.

   Hey people! 🙂 

   Today I’d like to share with you a tune played by the Scottish multi-instrumentalist Phamie Gow. I’ve shared a few of her pieces on here before, and most of them were for piano, but in this one, we can hear Phamie playing the harp. 

Nansi Richards – “Morfa Rhuddlan” (Marsh of Rhuddlan).

   Hey people! 🙂 

   Today I’d like to share with you an old Welsh tune, played by the Celtic and Welsh triple harpist Nansi Richards, whose music I’ve shared many times before on here. As the title suggests, this song is associated with a small town in North Wales called Rhuddlan, which is surrounded by marshland. It  commemorates battles that the Welsh fought with Mercians in 8th century in that area. 

Lisa Lynne – “Brahms’ Lullaby”.

   Hiya people! 🙂 

   Continuing the simple, sleepy theme of yesterday’s song of the day, today I also have a lullaby for you. Except it’s an instrumental one, and a widely known classic. It’s played by one of the harpists regularly appearing in my blog series, Lisa Lynne. 

Áine Minogue – “Griogal Cridhe” (Beloved Gregor).

   Hi people! 🙂 

   Today I’d like to share with you a Scottish Gaelic lament, or lullaby, sung by an Irish singer who lives in the US. I think I have shared three songs by Aine Minogue on my blog so far and surely must have mentioned how she was one of my most favourite Celtic folk singers and harpists when I was a teenager. I still like her a lot, and this has always been one of my favourite songs by her. Generally, this song has a very interesting melody in my opinion, and I like most versions of it that I’ve heard. 

   It was written in the 16th century by a woman called Mór Chaimbeull after the death of her husband,  the chief of the Clan Mac Gregor, Griogair Ruadh Mac Griogair, or Gregor the Red Mac Gregor in English who was executed at Taymouth Castle. 

   Here’s the translation of this song: 

   Many a night both wet and dry
Weather of the seven elements
Gregor would find for me a rocky shelter
Which I would take eagerly.
Obhan, Obhan, Obhan iri
Obhan iri O!
Obhan Obhan Obhan iri,
Great is my sorrow, great.
I climbed into the upper chamber
And lay upon the floor
And I would not find my dearest Gregor
At the table in his place.
Great darling of the World’s people
They spilt your blood yesterday
And they put your head on an oaken stake
Near where your body lay.
Though now I have no apples,
And others have them all,
My own apple, fragrant, handsome –
And the back of his head on the ground.
I would be glad to be with dear Gregor
Guarding cattle in the glen
Instead of with the great Baron of Dalach,
White silk around my head.
While the young wives of the town
Serenely sleep tonight
I will be at the edge of your gravestone
Beating my two hands.

Órla Fallon – “Mo Ghile Mear” (My Gallant Darling).

   Hiya people! 🙂 

   For today I chose to share with you this Irish folk song, which is quite modern as we know it in its current form, but whose origins actually go back to the 18th century. It was composed in 1972-ish by Dónal Ó Liatháin with lyrics partially based on several Jacobite poems written by Seán “Clárach” MacDomhnaill and set to a tune collected by the composer Seán Ó Riada from a man called Domhnall Ó Buachalla from Cúil Aodha in Cork. One of the original poems on which this song is based (whose title translates to MY Heart is Sore With Sorrow Deep in English) is written in the voice of Éire – the personification and goddess of Ireland – lamenting the failure of the Jacobite rising of 1745 and the exile of Charles Edward Stuart or Bonnie Prince Charlie. The other one (known as Over the Hills and Far Away in English) was written during the Jacobite rising of 1715, with the lamented hero this time being James Francis Edward Stuart.Ó Liatháin decided to pick the least explicitly Jacobite-sounding verses from both poems, and because he composed it a year after Ó Riada’s – the aforementioned collector of the original tune – death, this new song was created as a lament for his death.

   I’ve already shared several songs by Órla Fallon so I guess she doesn’t need a special introduction on here, but for those who don’t know she’s an Irish singer and Celtic harpist who used to be a member of the Irish all-female group Celtic Woman (who also did their version of this song, by the way) and has released several great solo albums since leaving the group. 

The translation i Found has “mo ghile mear” as “my dashing darling”, but it seems to be known more widely as “gallant” rather than “dashing” so that’s why I put “gallant” in the post title. 

   My dashing darling is my hero
He’s my Caesar, a dashing darling,
I’ve got no rest and no pleasure
Since my dashing darling went to a distant land.

I’m incessantly sorrowing each day,
Lamenting sorely and showing signs of tears
As the lively lad has been separated from me
And no news from him is told, my sadness.

My dashing darling is my hero
He’s my Caesar, a dashing darling,
I’ve got no rest and no pleasure
Since my dashing darling went to a distant land.

My dashing darling is my hero
He’s my Caesar, a dashing darling,
I’ve got no rest and no pleasure
Since my dashing darling went to a distant land.

Let a story be sung on tuneful harps
and let lots of quarts be filled on the table
with high spirits faultless and unclouded
to find life and good health for my lion1

My dashing darling is my hero
He’s my Caesar, a dashing darling,
I’ve got no rest and no pleasure
Since my dashing darling went to a distant land.

Clannad – “Eleanor Plunkett”.

   Hey people! 🙂 

   I have already shared with you two versions of this Irish tune composed by Turlough O’Carolan, one played by Lynn Saoirse and the other by Celia Briar, and today I thought I’d share another one, this time played by Clannad. You can click the above links to learn a bit more about the song. 

Song of the day (7th May) – Delyth Evans – “Carolan’s Farewell to Music”.

   Hey people! 🙂 

   Previously, I have shared with you this composition of Turlough O’Carolan played by 

Nadia Birkenstock, Celia Briar and Lynn Saoirse, and now I thought I’d share with you yet another version of this beautiful tune, played by another harpist whose music I’ve been sharing with you quite regularly, that is Delyth Evans, currently known as Delyth Jenkins, whom you may also recognise as part of the D&A duo which she forms together with her daughter Angharad who is a fiddler. You can find out more about this song and its origins clicking the links above. 

Margie Butler – “Gaelic Lullaby”.

Hi people! 🙂 

   Recently when doing some decluttering in my room, I’ve come across a cassette with music by Margie Butler that I got from my Mum what feels like ages ago. My Celtic interests were just starting to develop at the time and someone was selling this cassette on Allegro (this is like a Polish equivalent of Ebay) and my Mum got it for me, and this was one of my first closer encounters with the Celtic harp. I remember really liking it and initially listened to it a lot, every night I came home from school, but cassettes were already starting to feel outdated so over time as technology kept progressing and my music listening habits have changed I’d almost forgotten about it. And even though I don’t even own a tape player anymore and the only one we have at home is my Mum’s old stereo, it felt so nice to be reminded of this cassette. If I remember correctly, it wasn’t all lullabies but there were some lullabies on it as well. And so I thought that today I’d share something from this Irish harpist with you, and even though it’s late morning here, I love lullabies, and I love Margie’s album Celtic Lullabies, so I decided on a piece from that album called Gaelic Lullaby which I think is really stunning despite being quite a short piece. 

Song of the day (29th April) – Rosewynde – “Drowsy Maggie Medley”.

   Hey people! 🙂 

   For yesterday, I’ve picked a beautiful medley of Celtic tunes for you all, played by an American duo – from Oregon I believe – of classically trained ladies with a keen interest in playing and researching Celtic music, Sandy Duffy Norman on flute and Kathryn Cater on Celtic harp. This medley is clamped together with a tune called Drowsy Maggie, hence they decided to name the whole after it. Despite its name, Drowsy Maggie is usually not drowsy at all, because it’s a very energetic, zestful reel and it’s often played really really fast, which makes me wonder why it’s called the way it is every time I hear it. 😀 Rosewynde’s version sounds more like an Awakening Maggie to me. Other tunes that are featured in this medley include such popular pieces like She Moved Through the Fair, which I’ve shared on here in several different versions already, and the 19th century Skye Boat Song from Scotland. 

Gráinne Hambly – “Amhran na Leabhar (The Song of the Books)”.

   Hey people! 🙂 

   Today I’d like to share with you a harp piece, played by an Irish harpist whose music I’ve never shared on my blog until now, namely Gráinne Hambly from county Mayo. I first heard of her and got to listen to her music on BBC Radio Ulster a few years ago. This piece played by her that I want to share with you is a sad tune composed by Irish poet and musician from 19th century – Tomás Rua ó Súilleabháin, who was working for some time as a headmaster in Derrynane, co. Kerry. Once a permanent headmaster for the school was appointed, he was forced to move to Portmagee. He owned a huge library of books, which he decided to transport by boat that was going from Derrynane to Valentia Harbor and himself travelled by road. Sadly though, the boat carrying all his priceless books struck a rock, and his whole collection was lost! And that’s how this song came to life, he wrote it as a way of seeking solace after such a huge loss. I think every bibliophile’s heart must break just thinking about this tragedy, but even more so when listening to this tune and knowing about its origin. I can definitely understand how awful it is to lose a book irretrievably, and it must be so much worse losing like a huge library, especially back then when books were a lot more of a rare thing! This tune is also known as Valentia Lament and Cuan Bhéal Inse. 

   Gráinne Hambly – “Amhran na Leabhar (The Song of the Books)”. 

 

Song of the day (18th April) – Nadia Birkenstock – “Dors, Dors, Enfant Cheri) (Sleep, Sleep, Dear Child).

   This lovely harp piece arranged and played by Nadia Birkenstock is a lullaby. I love loads of lullabies, and this one is no exception. As far as I know, this one originates from Alsace. 

Nadia Birkenstock – “Dors, Dors, Enfant Cheri”.

 

Song of the day (12th April) – Ailie Robertson – “The Exploding Bow”.

   Hi people! 🙂 

   Had a migraine yesterday hence the song of the day for yesterday is coming out today. I thought I’d share with you this nice three-piece set from the Scottish Celtic harpist Ailie Robertson. Each of these three pieces is a jig. The whole medley takes its name from the first piece in it, which is Irish. the second one is  called The Lisnagun, it’s also known as Brendan Ring’s and it’s Irish as well, and the third one is a  slip jig which I believe was composed by Ailie herself called Swerving for Bunnies. 

Catrin Finch ft. Seckou Keita – “Genedigaeth Koring-bato” (Genesis of the Kora).

   Hiya people! 🙂 

   I’ve already shared several pieces played by Catrin Finch with you, including also several ones that are part of her collaboration withh the Senegalese kora player Seckou Keita. I don’t know about Senegal, but on the Welsh/British folk music scene, they are definitely getting a lot of attention and appreciation. I really like to listen to their music, it’s amazing to hear harp and kora play together, and, as I think I said before, I’d never heard of kora until I first heard Seckou Keita play it. 

   Before this project was even a thing, Catrin Finch was on a tour together with another kora player called Toumani Diabate, and that is what was the inspiration for the collaboration between and Seckou Keita. This piece is the opening one on their debut album Clychau Dibon, and it’s dedicated to Toumani Diabate, acknowledging his part in the formation of this duo. The piece is a blend of both Welsh and Senegalese/African folk melodies woven together, out of the Welsh ones I can recognise Beth Yw’r Haf i Mi (What is the Summer to Me). 

Maire Brennan – “I Láthair Dé (In God’s Presence)”.

   Hiya people! 🙂 

   Today I have a Christian hamn for you, performed by Maire/Moya Brennan, known as the lead singer and harpist of Clannad, or as one of Enya’s many siblings, who has also had a very fruitful solo career, which most of you probably already know well since I’ve already shared a lot of her solo music in the past. Maire is very open about being a Christiann and a lot of her solo music revolves more or less closely around Christian themes. This as far as I know is not some traditional hymn but something she wrote herself/was written for her specifically. It was recorded together with the choir that has been directed for many years by her mother, known as “Baba” Brennan. The translation of the Irish lyrics comes from here. 

   

Now show me my way
Take care of me Lord
Every day and night
Listen to my prayer God

You gave me hope inside
You listened to me when I was down
You are faithful and merciful
Fill me with your Spirit forever
I will play for your glory
And the angels in the presence of God

Guide my life now in the
Fill up my heart with great love
You are the King
You made heaven and earth |
You put peace in my heart
You brighten my life with joy
I’ll play the harp for you
I will praise You for my life

Now show me my way
Take care of me Lord
Every day and night
Listen to my prayer God

Guide my life now in the
Fill up my heart with great love
You are the King
You made heaven and earth

Ailie Robertson – “Lili’s Hornpipe / The Harp and Shamrock”.

   Hey people! 🙂 

   For today I have for you a lovely medley by Scottish harpist Ailie Robertson, of two tunes, which are both hornpipes, and both sound very lively and catchy. The first one as far as I’m aware is Ailie’s original composition, and the other one seems to be a traditional Irish hornpipe. 

 

   Ailie Robertson – “Lili’s Hornpipe / The Harp and Shamrock

Celia Briar – “Farewell to Whisky”.

   Hi people! 🙂 

   Thought I’d share another song performed by Celia Briar today. This time, it’s a tune composed by 18th century Scottish fiddler called Niel Gow, who wrote it one year when harvest in highlands was very poor, and there was a major barley shortage. As a result, local people were prohibited from producing whiskey, which caused them great sadness. I like Celia’s harp arrangement of this tune.