Let’s listen to the song that I have picked for yesterday, but didn’t manage to share in time. I decided on this very soothing lullaby from Órla Fallon’s 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’t the first lullaby Fromm that album that I’m sharing on here.
Today I would really like to share with you a beautiful lullaby sung and played by the American Celtic folk singer and harpist Margie Butler. I have already shared with you one lullaby from this album of Margie’s which she performs together with Florie Brown. I have a sentiment for this album, because it was the first album of Celtic music that I got from my Mum when my Celtic interests started to emerge. Margie Butler is also one of the founding members of a Celtic folk group called Golden Bough, two of whose tracks I shared on here recently.
For today, I want to share with you this quite famous Welsh lullaby, also known as Ar Hyd y Nos in Welsh, and played by Robin Huw Bowen on the Welsh triple harp. I’ve shared one other piece by Robin Huw Bowen before, namely Ymadawiad y Brenin. I have also shared a different version of this song, sung by Meinir Gwilym.
I want to share another lullaby with you, because lullabies are great. This one is by Welsh singer and harpist Siân James,, who has been featured quite a few times before on here. The lullaby is better known under the name Suo Gân, which simply means lullaby in Welsh, and it’s one of more popular and widely known Welsh lullabies. I personally find it quite cute. Siân James sings only two verses here, but there’s also a third one, in which the mother calms her child’s fears, and while this lullaby as a whole makes me think of Misha, that last verse is particularly appropriate for him as he’s so fearful that even little things like a bit of stronger breeze coming through the window can startle him awake sometimes.
It was composed in the 19th century, and this simple tune has since been set to other lyrics too, like multiple hymns. The translation below comes from Wikipedia’s page on Suo Gân.
Sleep child upon my bosom, It is cosy and warm; Mother’s arms are tight around you, A mother’s love is in my breast; Nothing shall disturb your slumber, Nobody will do you harm; Sleep in peace, dear child, Sleep quietly on your mother’s breast. Sleep peacefully tonight, sleep; Gently sleep, my lovely; Why are you now smiling, Smiling gently in your sleep? Are angels above smiling on you, As you smile cheerfully, Smiling back and sleeping, Sleeping quietly on my breast?
Today I have for you a really lovely arrangement of a traditional lullaby. It is played by Carol Thompson. She is an American harpist of English and Welsh descent, and is quite versatile, as she plays the Neo-Celtic harp, but also classical and even triple harp.
Today I have a funny little Scandinavian lullaby for you. I only know Norwegian versions, but apparently it’s also known in Sweden. The first version I want to share with you comes from Hirundo Maris, the early music and folk group founded by Arianna Savall and Petter Udland Johansen. I’ve already featured two of their songs, including Tarantela from the same album. THe other version is by one of my favourite Norwegian folk singers, Helene Bøksle, who hails from Mandal in the south of the country. I have also featured some of her other songs before. Here’s Bibiel’s translation of this song:
When troll mother has put to bed her eleven little trolls
For today’s song of the day, I have a deliciously old nursery rhyme, or lullaby, for you. It possibly originates as far back as the 7th century. It was originally written in Old Welsh, and is interesting linguistically because it provides possible evidence of some features of the Cumbric language, which was a language closely related to Welsh or Breton, which was in use in Cumbria and southern Scotland until about the 12th century. It’s the lullaby of a mother who tells her baby son – Dinogad – about his dead father, and what a great hunter he was, while little Dinogad is wrapped in a smock made of marten skins. The poem also mentions “the waterfall of Derwennydd” which is thought to be a river called Derwent in the north of England. Unsurprisingly, the original tune has sadly not survived along with the poem, but the Welsh folk trio Ffynnon have set it to music. I have shared several songs by them on here before, but for anyone unfamiliar with their music, Ffynnon consists of Lynne Denman (vocals), Stacy Blythe (harp) and Emma Trend (fiddle). Their name means “fountain” in Welsh. They have also combined Pais Dinogad with two set of numbers from one to eight, where the first one is in Welsh, and the second one is the Cumbrian sheep-counting rhyme. Also in their version the number of slaves every time they’re mentioned is decreased, as is common in nursery rhymes.
I think the whole Pais Dinogad thing is very interesting, so in case you think so as well and have never heard of this lullaby, here is a long and exhaustive article on it from Wikipedia including a translation which I’m also pasting below.
Dinogad’s smock, speckled, speckled,
I made from the skins of Martens.
Whistle, whistle, whistly
we sing, the eight slaves sing.
When your father used to go to hunt,
with his shaft on his shoulder and his club in his hand,
he would call his speedy dogs,
“Giff, Gaff, catch, catch, fetch, fetch!”,
he would kill a fish in a coracle,
as a lion kills an animal.
When your father used to go to the mountain,
he would bring back a roebuck, a wild pig, a stag,
I have shared this lovely lullaby with you in the past, sung by Siân James, and because I really like it, I thought that today I’d share a different version with you, sung by another Welsh folk singer and harpist, but this time one from North Wales – Gwenan Gibbard. – You can visit the post above to find the translation of the lyrics.
Yesterday was the 35th anniversary of Cornelis Vreeswijk’s death, so I thought I’d share another song by him with y’all. It is a Scandinavian lullaby, whose origin I believe traces back to Norway, but which has become popularised in Sweden in 1920’s by Evert Taube, whose mother sang it to him. Evert Taube was a Swedish musician and author who is still very well-known today and I guess has a bit of a similar reputation to Vreeswijk, of a troubadour who has contributed a whole lot to the Swedish ballad/visa tradition in the 20th century. He also had a very strong influence on Cornelis’ music and Cornelis recorded several albums with his own interpretations of Taube’s songs. This one comes from his 1969 album titled Cornelis Sjunger Taube (Cornelis Sings Taube). A lot of Taube’s music is influenced by the time he spent as a sailor in South America, (as it happens, Cornelis was also a sailor before starting his career, though in his case I believe he was persuaded into it by his father) ) as many of his songs have strongly South American themes or relate to the sea etc. So it makes sense that this lullaby which is full of sea references would appeal to him. The translation below comes to you directly from Bibielz. In case someone’s really curious what byssal lull means, I guess it holds just as much meaning as luli luli and other similar words that are common for lullabies in all kinds of languages.
Byssan lull, boil the kettle full There are three wanderers on the road Byssan lull, boil the kettle full There are three wanderers on the road One, oh so lame The other, oh so blind The third says nothing at all Byssan lull, boil the kettle full There are three stars wandering on the sky Byssan lull, boil the kettle full There are three stars wandering on the sky One is oh so white The other is so red The third, it is the yellow moon Byssan lull, boil the kettle full There are three winds blowing on the seas Byssan lull, boil the kettle full There are three winds blowing on the seas On the great ocean On the little Skagerack And far, far away in the Gulf of Bothnia Byssan lull, boil the kettle full There are three ships sailing on the wave Byssan lull, boil the kettle full There are three ships sailing on the wave The first is a bark The second is a brigg The third has such broken sails Byssan lull, boil the kettle full The sea chest has three figures Byssan lull, boil the kettle full The sea chest has three figures The first is our faith The second is our hope The third is the red love
I’m quite late with today’s song because got a migraine today which still hasn’t fully gone, but thought that I’d make use of it and share a beautiful lullaby with you. Not that I’e never shared lullabies in the morning or whenever, because I think any time is good for lullabies really, but obviously evenings are most fitting. This lullaby can be found on the compilation called Masters of the Irish Harp released by Rte Lyric FM. Janet Harbison is a great Celtic harper, and harp teacher as well, from Dublin.
For yesterday’s overdue song of the day, I chose this piano lullaby which I think is really beautiful, and also particularly sleepifying, which you sure can’t say about every single lullaby. I also think that generally the whole album from which this composition comes from – Nattresan (The Night Journey – is worth giving it a try if you’re into sleep-friendly music. Henrik Lindstrand is a pianist and composer from Gothenburg in Sweden, though as far as I know he is currently based in Copenhagen. He has also composed some film scores.
Today I’d like to introduce you to another interesting harpist, who as far as I’m aware belongs more to what I call «relaxing harpist» camp, rather than folk or classical or something like that. Sally is also an organist, pianist and teacher. Still, the tune played by her that I want to share with you today is definitely a contemporary folk one. It is an Irish-American song that was written by James Roys Shannon and first performed by Chauncey Olcott, and later popularised again by Bing Crosby.
Last night I couldn’t fall asleep till like 3 AM or so, and one of the songs that played on my Spotify was this one. I’ve always really liked it, because I generally really like Jackie Oates’ music – she’s been one of the first English folk singers that I started listening to when introducing myself to English folk and not just Irish and Scottish – and because I love lullabies and anything to do with dreams and folklore, but also because this song and especially its chorus reminds me so much of Emily of New Moon, and specifically her first novel A Seller of Dreams. I can’t think of this song without thinking of Emily and her novel, and I can’t think of Emily and her novel without hearing this tune in my brain. But yesterday, as I couldn’t sleep and heard this song, I thought how I’d really, seriously appreciate it if Angus was actually a thing. As you may know, practically the whole summer was really difficult for me sleep- and anxiety-wise, with loads of crappy sleep paralysis and scary dreams and stuff like that. So I thought how comforting it would be if you could just buy yourself a dream or two or five for the night ahead, so that you’d know in advance what dreams you’d be having and could fall asleep happily and peacefully.
I mentioned to you guys recently how my Mum is possibly getting herself an Apple Watch, and recently when WatchOS 9 came out I looked up its features for her as she was curious. I told her that there is some improvement to how you can track your sleep and she was like: “Oh, cool, it’ll be nice to look back at my dreams”. Obviously she was joking, but I thought that wow, I’d like it if one day we’d be able to do that, if Apple Watch had such a feature it would actually convince me to get it as well. 😀 I’m a very vivid dreamer, but sometimes when you have a lovely dream, the only thing you really remember upon waking is some sort of pleasant emotion, and it would have been nice to just open some app and have a look at what it was exactly what you dreamt about and always have it with you. Or if you wake up with heebiejeebies and don’t know what they’re about, you could also look back and see what the scary thing you dreamt of was and if it feels equally scary while you’re awake or perhaps just totally ridiculous and not worth fretting over. And even if they were scary in the waking world as well, I think that in many situations, looking back through your dream while being able to think rationally and clearly and being more in control of it could be a good way to desensitise yourself to it and make it feel less scary anyway, so it could even be a good therapeutic method perhaps. And so last night when I was listening to Dream Angus, I was suddenly all like: “What if one day we could have a virtual version of Angus?” Like, if you’d have a possibility to look back on your dreams, why not be able to buy dreams somehow, through App Store, Google Play or something? 😀 You’d have like a HUGE collections of dreams to choose from or could even design your very own dreams. I wonder though how these dreams would actually end up in our brains, any ideas, anyone?
As for Jackie Oates, I’ve already shared one song by her in the past – The Worthy Wood Carol on Christmas Eve one year – but I don’t think I’d introduced her properly then. Jackie is a singer and fiddle player who was born in Congleton in Cheshire, raised in Staffordshire, and now as far as I’m aware lives in Wallingford in Oxfordshire. This song comes from her 2013 album Lullabies, which s probably my favourite album by her. “Dream Angus” is a traditional Scottish tune, based on the myth of Angus or Aengus, Celtic god of love, dreams and poetic inspiration. Angus was son of Dagda and Boan who could shapeshift, and, just like in this song, he gave lovely, calm dreams to people. He is the equivalent of Mabon from Welsh mythology. In this song we can hear Jackie playing the viola, and she is accompanied by Belinda O’Hooley from O’Hooley and Tidow on piano and by a string section from Iceland.
Recently I shared with you a song by Ruth Keggin, and in that post I mentioned her brand new album recorded with the Scottish harpist Rachel Hair, the album is called Lossan (Light) and I said I’d probably be sharing something from it, namely another song with “mish” in the title. Well, I’ve had very few encounters with Manx music, so I was very excited when I found out that this album came out, , and that also there’s so much harp on it which is obviously my favourite instrument, and I’ve already listened to it several times, and I really really like it. So I decided that I’ll actually share a few songs from it rather than just one, and the one I’m sharing today isn’t the “mish” one yet. Instead, for today I decided to share with you a beautiful little lullaby sung by Ruth a capella. It was collected by Manx folklorist Mona Douglas from one Mrs. Shimmin of Foxdale. The song was apparently originally in English and then later translated to Manx, and while I don’t know what it’s lyrics are exactly and haven’t been able to find a translation, I’ve read that they’re similar to the English Rock a Bye Baby. The sea is a big part of these lyrics which makes me like this lullaby even more.
For today, I have a lovely little children’s lullaby for you, from Plu’s album called Holl Anifeiliaid y Goedwig (All Animals of the Forest). As far as I can tell, this lullaby is about what various animals do before bedtime and how they prepare for sleep.
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.
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.
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.
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 American 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.
Even though I generally really like Sámi music very much, there hasn’t been much of it that I’ve shared with you guys on here. Moreover, I think I haven’t ever shared any Sámi music from Finland on here, so it’s time to do it now. Ulla Pirttijärvi was actually the very first Sámi singer that I came across. I had just fallen in love with Finnish language, and wanted to look up some Finnish folk on Last.fm, and Ulla Pirttijärvi’s music was the first thing that Last.fm decided to show me and, while technically it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, because when I went looking for Finnish folk I was thinking, you know, Finnish-language, “actual” Finnish folk, I loved her music straight away because it was so different from anything I’d ever heard before and really beautiful. I didn’t even know that it wasn’t the “actual” Finnish music. I mean, I could hear that this didn’t quite sound like the Finnish language I was accustomed to hearing so far, , I knew that Finnish doesn’t even really have letters like “g” or “b” which I could hear in her language, but, who knows, maybe they have such distinctive dialects, or something? I didn’t have a clue about such a thing as joiking at the time either. I don’t know when exactly it was that I ended up actually learning about Sámi music and culture and what joiking is and that it’s a separate thing from Finnish, but for sure when it comes to my love for the Sámi language and interest in Sámi music, at least some of the credit for sparking that in me must go to Ulla Pirttijärvi.
And this song is one of my favourite songs by her. I must say that I am not sure what its actual title is. Spotify says “Boares Gietkka/Lullaby” other places say just “Gietkka”. What I’m quite sure of is that gietkka likely means cradle. I’ve even found a