Some time ago, I shared with you guys a couple songs by Scottish singer Julie Fowlis, who sings in Scottish Gaelic, and I wrote that Julie Fowlis became known to some wider audience because of the Disney film called “Brave” where she sang two songs in English. I didn’t show them as there is so much more great and far less known music from Julie Fowlis, but I’d like to share something from “Brave” now. This song “A Mhaighdean Bhan Uasal” or “Noble Maiden Fair” in English, is sung in the film by queen Elinor (Emma Thompson, Merida’s mother) and Merida (Peigi Barker). They sing it when Merida is desperate to get her mother back as a human after she is transformed to a bear, and while the girl is having a memory of herself with her mother. It is a beautiful lullaby. I, being in love with all things Celtic, listened to the song before I even knew that this film exists and was quite surprised to hear it there, haha. I loved “Brave”, and still do, much enough to infect my sister, I started loving it because it seemed so very Celtic to me. While I still like it, I find that much of the Celticness in it is rather very stereotypical and artificial, which is sad, but I guess to be expected in a Disney film, however it’s good that they wanted to make Celtic culture more widely popular.
When it comes to this song, as I read somewhere it seems like it’s actually a direct translation from English, not a Gaelic song really, and also, Emma Thompson who plays Merida’s mother, is ENglish, and not a gaelic speaker, so even I, although I don’t speak Gaelic, only small bits and pieces, but managed to figure out its phonetics, was able to say, or have a strong suspicion, that something is wrong with her Gaelic. Peigi on the other hand does it a bit better, because as I’ve been able to find out she had studied some Gaelic. While I loved Emma Thompson as Merida’s mum, and she sang it well, I wonder a bit why if they had someone like Julie Fowlis in the cast, they didn’t get her to sing it, she’d do it great, and it would be more authentic! Despite lacks in the linguistic sphere though, the song is very nice musically, and I love the harp in it.
But also, since I’ve been sharing some Karliene’s music with you, I thought I’d share her beautiful cover of this song, made in collaboration with Ashley Serena. While they both don’t speak Scottish Gaelic either, their version is also beautiful and with fabulous and much more present harp as well. I also have a feeling that despite linguistical lacks it’s somehow even more Celtic than the original for some reason, despite that part of it is actually in English. The English part is the translation (or original?) of the Gaelic version. Enjoy and let me know which one you like more. 🙂