Rachel Newton – “Here’s My Heart Come Take It”.

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FOr today I chose the title track from Scottish singer and harpist Rachel Newton鈥檚 great album, Here鈥檚 My Heart, Come Take it, which showcases very well how changeable we can be as humans. It is a North American song which was collected by Edith Fowke from John Leahy in Douro, Ontario in 1958. The music is by Rachel herself.聽

S茅amus and Caoimhe 贸铆 Fhlatharta – “Eilean贸ir na R煤n” (Eleanor My Love).

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Today, I have for you a very interesting Irish song, which I hadn鈥檛 heard before I discovered S茅amus and Caoimhe 贸铆 Fhlatharta. They are a sibling duo from Connemara in County Galway, and have released their debut EP just in February of this year. But they have already performed in a lot of different places in their home country and abroad, and are really great at what they do, so I鈥檓 sure we鈥檒l be hearing more about them in the future. They are both Sean-n贸s singers (Sean-n贸s is a very characteristic Irish singing style), as well as multi-instrumentalists and they sing in harmony, breathing a new life into Irish, traditional music.聽

This song was composed by Cearbhall 贸 D谩laigh in the 16th century , and there is a legend associated with it. One time, Cearbhall 贸 D谩laigh was working as a farmhand at a farm where he watched cows, and there was one cow about which it was said that when she gives birth to a calf, the one who drinks her milk first would be gifted all knowledge in the world, and if a woman will look at him, she will immediately fall in love with him. That bit kind of reminds me of the Welsh myth of Taliesin. After some time, the cow did become pregnant, and Cearbhall鈥檚 task was to keep an eye on her until the calf would be born, to make sure that it wouldn鈥檛 suck its mother鈥檚 milk first. However, when she finally gave birth, he forgot about what the farmer told him, and only remembered it when the calf was already about to suck, so he took the milk from the calf鈥檚 mouth and rubbed it on his lips, obtaining those gifts as a result. Of course he couldn鈥檛 go back to the farmer and tell him about it, so he travelled until he came to a shoemaker鈥檚 house. The shoemaker was making shoes for a noble lady called Eilean贸r Chaomh谩nach (Eleanor Kavanagh鈥, who was going to a dance. Cearbhall offered to help, but the shoemaker insisted that they have to be perfect so he had to make them himself. Soon he fell asleep though, and as he was sleeping Cearbhall made the other shoe that he didn鈥檛 finish. Later the shoemaker told him to go and give those shoes to Eilean贸r and as soon as he saw her, he sang this song to her, and later on she eloped with him. Apparently another version of this story says that she actually eloped with him on the day she was supposed to marry another man, and Cearbhall played and sang during her wedding feast and that was when he sang this song to her. Or maybe these two actually work together, because maybe these shoes were supposed to be for her wedding. 馃榾聽

The word 鈥渞煤n鈥 actually means 鈥渟ecret鈥 in Irish, but it is used as a term of affection (think in Si煤il a R煤n for example), so it鈥檚 better translated as 鈥渕y love鈥 or 鈥渕y darling鈥, or perhaps 鈥渕y secret love鈥 if you really want to retain something of the original meaning. I found a translation of it on the website dedicated to Joe Heaney, also a Sean-n贸s singer from Galway, where there also is a recording of Joe telling this story and singing the song. S茅amus also shares it in a video on the singer Malinda鈥檚 channel, where they sing it together with her, but that one is a whole long video so it鈥檚 not that version that I鈥檓 sharing.聽

You鈥檙e my love at first-sight, Eleanor my secret.

It鈥檚 of you that I am thinking while I lie asleep

My love and my first treasure

You are the best of the women of Ireland

Lovely young maiden, you have the nicest, sweetest kiss

As long as I live I will desire you

For I would love to drive the calves with you, Eleanor my secret.

She had the gift that she could entice the birds from the trees

And the taste of her kiss was sweeter than the cuckoo before day

She had another gift that I will not tell

She is the love of my heart and my first treasure

Lovely young maiden, you have the nicest, sweetest kiss

As long as I live I will desire you

For I would love to drive the calves with you, Eleanor my secret.

Golden Bough – “Hey, Johnnie Cope / Brenda Stubbert’s Reel”.

Earlier this week, I shared with you Ranagri鈥檚 version of Follow Me up to Carlow,, and today I decided to share another nationalist/battle song, except not Irish but Scottish, sung by the American Celtic folk group Golden Bough. It commemorates the victory of Scottish forces led by Charles Edward Stuart during the Battle of Trestonpans on 21 September, during the Jacobite rising of 1745, when they defeated a government army led by Sir John Cope in less than fifteen minutes. The melody is traditional and the words were written by Adam Skirving shortly after the battle, though the song isn鈥檛 a very accurate portrayal of the event. Golden Bough finish it with a reel 聽by American fiddler Jerry Holland, composed for another fiddler – Brenda Stubbert from Cape Breton.聽

Song of the day (31st May) – Lisa Lynne & George Tortorelli – “First Light”.

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For yesterday鈥檚 song, I chose this calm, long piece from one of Lisa Lynne & George Tortorelli鈥檚 collaborative albums. I have shared a lot of music by the harpist Lisa lynne before, but nothing of what she made together with George Tortorelli. He is an American bamboo flute player. This piece comes from their 1997 album Love & Peace.聽

Ranagri – “Follow me up to Carlow”.

And for today, I鈥檇 like to share with you a very popular Irish folk song, which celebrates the defeat of an army of English soldiers by the Irish, led by Fiach MacHugh O’byrne, at the battle of Glenmalure in 1580. The music is said to have been played as a marching tune by MacHugh O鈥橞yrne鈥檚 pipers, while the words were written some three centuries later by songwriter and poet Patrick Joseph McCall.聽

This is the second song by the Anglo-Irish group Ranagri on my blog, the first one that I shared last year was High Germany. It鈥檚 worth noting here that Ranagri actually take their name from a place in county Carlow, not far from Glenmalure where the battle took place.聽

Golden Bough – “Rain and Thunder”.

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For today, I chose this folksy children鈥檚 song from the AMerican Celtic group Golden Bough. I鈥檝e already shared a couple instrumental pieces by them, and some music by one of their members Margie Butler, for whose music I have a strong sentiment because my Mum bought me a tape of her music back when my Celtic interests were just starting to grow. This song was written by Golden Bough鈥檚 Paul Espinoza. I really like how this whole garden thing is a metaphor for your own garden of dreams, being a daydreamer with a fairly fecund Brainlife it really appeals to me.聽

Amelia Hogan – “Nead na Lachan” (The Duck’s Nest).

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Today I鈥檇 like to share with you a song by a singer whom I first heard only last Friday, despite she seems to have been a thing for a long time. Maybe it鈥檚 because I guess I鈥檓 generally less familiar with American Celtic music scene vs Irish or British. Amelia Hogan is an Irish American from San Francisco, though she also has Scottish and British ancestry, and she has been drawn to Sean-Nos singing and to Celtic music in general since a very young age. This song comes from her debut solo album Transplants. I鈥檝e already shared two versions of this song one by 脫rla Fallon and the other by Eilis Kennedy. I really like it because it reminds me of our Sofi, who liked the funny lilting chorus when she was a toddler. 馃榾聽

Rachel Hair – “Back Home”.

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Today I want to share with you the opening track from Scottish harpist Rachel Hair鈥檚 album THe Lucky Smile. It is a traditional tune, but in Rachel鈥檚 arrangement and with the help of her accompanying musicians it has an interesting jazzy feel to it. She is accompanied by guitarist Paul Tracey, keyboardist Angus Lyons, bassist Andy Sharkey and drummer Scott MacKay.聽

Clannad – “Cr贸i Cr贸ga” (Brave Heart).

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For today I have a song by Clannad for you, which you may know even if you鈥檙e not a big Clannad fan because it is the theme song of the movie Braveheart. Below is the translation of the Irish lyrics that I found here.聽

Brave Heart

Brave Heart

Brave Heart

Brave Heart

Brave Heart

The King Of Scotland Died Alas

Without A Son In This Life

A Man Came From The South

King Edward The First

Oh A Cruel Pagan

The Crowd Fought

The Nobel Commoners

Between Themselves

Forced To Forget

Their Own Patriot

This Legend

The King Died

Without A Son In This Life

Edward Has The Title

The Young Fought

People And Lords

Between Themselves

Champions So Strong

Stood In Such A War

A Champion Without Soul

A Champion Without Way

Who Hanged Thirty

Thirty Without Nobility

And Young Boys

Cruel Heart

Living Legend

Their Dignity Grew

From The Word Of The Scots

Six Brave Years

Brave Enough

He Sacrificed His Hand

Too Complicated

Too Sad

They Shouted Of Their Freedom

The Man That Was Brave

Brave Heart

Sian – “A-nochd a’ Chiad Oidhche ‘n Fhoghair” (Tonight’s the First Night of Autumn).

For today, I鈥檇 like to share with you a song from a Scottish group that I discovered only last month and have been really enjoying their music since. They are an all-female band singing in Scottish Gaelic, whose goal is to popularise the work of female G脿idhlig bards and composers. Sian means 鈥渟torm鈥 or 鈥渢he elements鈥 in Scottish Gaelic, and the group consists of Eilidh Cormack, Ellen MacDonald and Ceitlin Lilidh Russell Smith. They are accompanied by multi-instrumentalist Innes White who has also collaborated with a lot of other Scottish folk musicians. All three women clearly care a lot about their native language, its music and its presence in the media. Eilidh hails from the Isle of Skye. She was Gaelic Singer of the year in 2018, has sung at Celtic Connections, and alongside many other Scottish musicians she contributed to the soundtrack to an Xbox game called The Bard鈥檚 Tale IV. Ellen, who is originally from Inverness, and besides Sian she also performs with another Scottish folk group – D脿imh. – She has also collaborated with Niteworks – a band which combines Scottish Gaelic lyrics and traditional instruments with more electronic vibes. – SHe has also voiced various characters in Gaelic cartoons, such as Alvin of Alvin and the Chipmunks. Ceitlin Lilidh has performed all over the world as an ambassador to Gaelic song, and has taken part in numerous festivals.聽

This is the opening track from their self-titled album released in 2020.聽

Song of the day (11th May) – 脫rla Fallon – “Lullaby Time”.

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Let鈥檚 listen to the song that I have picked for yesterday, but didn鈥檛 manage to share in time. I decided on this very soothing lullaby from 脫rla Fallon鈥檚 album of the same title, which she released in 2012. I generally love a good lullaby, and this album is full of them. This isn鈥檛 the first lullaby Fromm that album that I鈥檓 sharing on here.聽

Rachel Hair & Ron Jappy – “Black Hair’d Lad / The Glenburnie Rant / Jamie Shearer’s”.

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For today, I have for you a set of three Scottish tunes from harpist Rachel Hair鈥檚 and guitarist Ron Jappy鈥檚 collaborative album Sparks. All of these tunes are reels, and the first two are traditional, whereas Jamie Shearer鈥檚 was composed by Scottish fiddler and dancing master James Scott Fiddler.聽

Gwilym Bowen Rhys – “Yr Eneth Gadd ei Gwrthod” (The Rejected Maiden) & Siwsan George – “Yr Eneth Gadd Ei Gwrthod”.

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For today, I鈥檇 like to share with you an extremely poignant and heartbreaking song. It鈥檚 really beautiful, despite its very dark theme, and there are a lot of amazing renditions of it, therefore I decided to share two of them in one post, and it鈥檚 possible that I鈥檒l share some other versions of it in the future too, who knows. The first of these two versions is by Gwilym Bowen Rhys, from the first album of his Detholiad o Hen Faledi (Selection of Old Ballads) album series. This is the very first version of this song that I heard, and I love Gwilym鈥檚 expressive a capella interpretation of it very much. THe other is by Siwsan George, from her album Traditional Songs of Wales – Caneuon Traddodiadol Cymru. – I was introduced to Siwsan鈥檚 music earlier this year. She was from Rhondda and sang both as a soloist as well as part of a folk group called Mabsant. Siwsan was also a harpist. Sadly, she passed away in her forties due to cancer.聽

As we can read on Gwilym鈥檚 Bandcamp page,, this song tells the story of a poor girl called Jane Williams, from a village in Denbighshire called Cynwyd, who was raped at 23 and fell pregnant in 1868. Predictably, she was shamed and disdained by her community as a result, and eventually committed suicide by drowning herself in the river Dee. The lyrics were written by John Jones, also known under his bardic name of Llew o鈥檙 Wern, and set to a traditional tune called There鈥檚 Love Among the Roses.

I鈥檝e taken the translation below from 聽Gwilym鈥檚 website,聽where you can also find the original words in Cymraeg.聽

On the banks of the old river Dee鈥ˋ pure maiden sits鈥╓hispering quietly to herself鈥ㄢ淚鈥檝e been left lonely鈥╓ithout a love or a friend in the world鈥∟or a home to go to,鈥╰he door of my father鈥檚 house is locked,鈥╰onight I am rejected.鈥ㄢ═he finger of shame is after me鈥℉ighlighting my weakneses鈥ˋnd the tide of my life has turned鈥ˋnd is buried under the waves.鈥∣n the alter of lust I was sacrificed,鈥╕es, I lost my virginity,鈥ˋnd that鈥檚 the reason why鈥↖鈥檓 rejected tonight.鈥ㄢ╕ou little trout that plays joyfully鈥↖n the pure waters of the river,鈥╕ou have many friends鈥ˋnd shelter from enemies鈥╕ou may live and die under the water鈥╓ith no one having to know you,鈥∣h if I could only be like you鈥↖ could die, and that would be the end.鈥ㄢ˙ut my sorrowfull mind flies away鈥═o a world that鈥檚 yet to come,鈥ˋnd you, my harsh traitor, remember,鈥╕ou must meet me there!鈥↖ need only think of your name鈥ˋnd living is too much for me.鈥∣h, deep river, accept me,鈥╕our bed shall be my bed.鈥濃ㄢˋnd the next morning she was found鈥↖n the cold water of the river,鈥╓ith a piece of paper in her hand鈥ˋnd on it, these words:鈥ㄢ淒ig me a grave in a lonely place,鈥―on鈥檛 raise a stone or write an ephigy,鈥═o denote the place where lies the dust鈥∣f the rejected maiden.鈥

Gwilym Bowen Rhys:聽

Siwsan George:聽

Casi Wyn – “Nefolion” (Celestial Beings).

聽 聽And for today, I chose another song from a Welsh artist whose music I鈥檝e known for years, but somehow only came across this particular song recently. I鈥檝e already shared one song by Casi Wyn, which she released under her other stage name Casi & The Blind Harpist, also both in Welsh and English, called Dyffryn/Rooted..聽

I Regular people on here know that when I go to sleep, I like to have some music or a radio station in one of my favourite languages playing quietly throughout the night so it keeps the things that I collectively call sensory anxiety, for lack of better terms, at bay. One night last month, I had some Welsh playlist playing on Spotify and then when the playlist finished other stuff was playing on autoplay as is typical with streaming services. I woke up for a little while in the middle of the night, or very early morning if you will, and heard this breathtakingly beautiful song. The perception of music in half-sleep mode, at least in my experience, is often kind of different and sort of heightened in a way I鈥檇 say, so given that this song is already stunning and otherworldly when listening to it fully awake, in that half-sleep state, I was seriously wondering if I woke up in some parallel universe for Cymrophiles or something happened to me in my sleep and I was having a near-death experience or something. So the title of this song is very accurate imho, although I鈥檓 not sure if 鈥渃elestial beings鈥 is the best English translation I could come up with, I mean 鈥渘efol鈥 means 鈥渉eavenly/celestial鈥 and 鈥渘efolion鈥 is plural so I had no better ideas. I really like Casi鈥檚 music in general, so just like with yesterday鈥檚 song, I was surprised to find out that she released it three years ago and I鈥檇 never heard it previously. I am sharing both language versions:聽

Welsh:聽

English:聽

Song of the day (6th May) – Vr茂 ft. Beth Celyn – “Cob Malltraeth” (Malltraeth Cob).

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For yesterday鈥檚 overdue song of the day, I decided to share this beautiful rendition of Welsh folk tune Cob Malltraeth. It was very popular during the previous century in Anglesey where it originates from, but this is the first version of it that I heard and not very long at all. I鈥檝e known about Beth Celyn ever since she released her debut EP in 2017, and have been rather vaguely familiar with Vr茂 thanks to Blas Folk Radio Cymru, but I鈥檇 never heard this song until like a week ago. I immediately found it very striking, and was very surprised to find out that it鈥檚 from an album that Vr茂 released in 2018 already – T欧 Ein Tadau (House of Our Fathers) – , yet it was complete novelty to me.聽

Vr卯 is a Welsh folk trio consisting of Jordan Price Williams (cello and vocals), Aneirin Jones (fiddle and vocals) and Patrick Rimes (viola, fiddle and vocals). All three members of this group are very active musicians well-known on the Welsh folk music scene and have been part of other groups or projects as well.聽

I love everything about this song: the melody, Beth鈥檚 expressive vocals, the instrumental arrangements, and the lyrics kind of resonate with me too, as the lyrical subject appears to be a neurotic pro ruminator just like me and keeps fretting over something they have no real control over. And it鈥檚 definitely not like their fears are completely unfounded. The song is about the Malltraeth cob (Malltraeth is a little village in the southwest of Anglesey and I鈥檝e already shared one other piece on here related to this place, played by Llio Rhydderch). The lyrical subject鈥檚 fears about it are definitely not unfounded. From what I鈥檝e read, the original cob was built in the early 1800鈥檚, but after a few years there was a storm which breached it in a few places and it was rebuilt in 1812. You can find out more about this song, along with the original lyrics and translation, on the website of Amgueddfa Cymru (Museum Wales).聽

If Malltraeth cob breaks, my mother will drown;鈥↖ fear it in my heart ti鈥搑ai, twli wli鈥↖ fear in my heart that I shall be the one to suffer.鈥ㄢ↖ can neither patch nor wash my shirt;鈥↖ fear it in my heart, ti鈥搑ai, twli wli wli ei,鈥↖ fear in my heart that I shall soon perish.鈥ㄢ˙ut, thank heaven, the old lady was seen鈥⊿afely taking refuge, ti鈥搑ai, twli wli wli ei,鈥⊿afely taking refuge in the shelter of the rock.

Maura O’Connell – “Down by the Sally Gardens”.

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Today, I鈥檇 like to share with you this very popular Irish song, which is actually originally a poem written by William Butler Yeats. It was through this poem that I actually first learned about Yeats when I started taking an interest in the Celtic cultures. I have already shared one version of this song on here in the past, sung by Loreena McKennitt.聽

Llio Rhydderch – “Syr Harri Ddu” (Black Sir Harry).

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Today鈥檚 song of the day is from the Welsh triple harp player Llio Rhydderch, from her album Telyn. As far as I know, this is a traditional tune arranged by Llio.聽

Ffynnon – “Rheged”.

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Today, I want to share with you an interesting song in an ancient language. It comes from the Welsh folk group Ffynnon, from their album Adar Gwylltion (Wild Birds). This is a medieval poem written by Llywarch Hen, which Ffynnon have set to music. Llywarch was cousin to Urien, the chieftain of a Brittonic kingdom called Rheged in the 6th century. Urien led the British tribes during the vikings鈥 attack on Lindisfarne, and was initially successful at driving the invaders back, but was then betrayed by his nephew, which resulted in the entire Old North region being lost to the vikings eventually. This poem laments Urien鈥檚 summer court, which fell into ruin after those events. This isn鈥檛 the first song by Ffynnon that I鈥檓 sharing on here that laments the state of a court, earlier this year I shared their musical rendition of Llys Ifor Hael聽from the same album which deals with a similar topic.聽

The poem was written in Common Brittonic, which is the direct ancestor of Welsh, Cornish and Breton, i.e. the currently spoken languages of the Brythonic branch in the Celtic languages family. The translation of this song (as well as the original Brittonic verses) can be found on Ffynnon鈥檚 websitewhich is also where I learned about the background of this poem.聽

Maire Brennan – “Black Night”.

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I was listening to this song yesterday, and I was sure I must have shared it on here before, but turns out not. So I鈥檓 sharing it now. It comes from her 2006 album Signature and it is my most favourite track from this album.聽

Song of the day (27th April) – Margie Butler ft. Florie Brown – “Carolan’s Draught”.

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For yesterday鈥檚 overdue song of the day, I chose this tune composed by Irish harper Turlough O鈥機arolan, and played by two American folk musicians – Margie Butler and Florie Brown. – Both Margie and Florie are also members of a Celtic folk group called Golden Bough, a few of whose tunes I have also shared recently. I believe this tune was originally a reel, but they play it a bit slower here.聽