Black Is The Colour (Of My True Love’s Hair)

It’s amazing how much emotion can go into such a short ballad. This one is originally from Scotland but sung here in a version by Christy Moore.

Black is the colour

Black is the colour of my true love’s hair,
Her lips are like some roses fair,
She’s the sweetest smile, And the gentlest hands,
I love the ground, Whereon she stands.

I love my love and well she knows,
I love the ground, whereon she goes,
I wish the day, it soon would come,
When she & I could be as one.


I go to the Clyde and I mourn and weep,
For satisfied, I ne’er can be,
I write her a letter, just a few short lines,
And suffer death, a thousand times.


An Droimeann Donn Dílis

Photo courtesy

The great uilleann piper Séamus Ennis performs An Droimeann Donn Dílis.  His familiarity with the sean-nós tradition was apparent in his singing and especially in his magnificent piping. In this clip, we are fortunate enough to hear both. This song tells the said tale of a farmer brought low by taxation who is forced to part with his precious Droimeann cow.

A Dhroimeann Donn Dílis

A dhroimeann donn dílis, a shíoda na mbó,
cá ngabhann tú san oíche is cá mbíonn tú sa ló?
Bíonn mise ar na coillte is mo bhuachaill i m’ chomhair
agus d’fhág sé siúd mise ag sileadh na ndeor.

Níl fearann, níl tíos agam, níl fíonta ná ceol,
níl flatha i m’ choimhdeacht, níl saoithe ná sló
ach ag síoról an uisce go minic sa ló
agus beathuisce agus fíon ag mo naimhde ar bord.

Dá bhfaighinnse cead aighnis, nó radharc ar an gcoróin
Sasanaigh a leidhbfinn mar a leidhbfinn seanabhróg
tré chnocaibh is tré ailtibh, is tré ghleanta dubha ceo
agus siú mar a shaorfainn mo dhroimeann donn óg.

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The Green Fields of Canada

I don’t know why I haven’t posted anything from Mary Dillon sooner, but I think she’s one of the finest singers I’ve ever heard. Tonight in Dungiven, Northern Ireland, she debuts her new band Sí Van along with Niamh Parsons, Tionna McSherry, and Graham Dunne. I wish I could be there.  Here she sings The Green Fields of Canada. 

The Green Fields of Canada

Farewell to the groves of shellelagh and shamrock
Farewell to the girls of Old Ireland all round
May their hearts be as merry as ever I would wish them
When far away across the ocean I’m bound

Oh my father is old and my mother quite feeble
To leave their own country it grieves their hearts sore
Oh the tears in great drops down their cheeks thy are rolling
To think they must die upon some foreign shore

But what matters to me where my bones may be buried
If in peace and contentment I can spend my life
Oh the green fields of Canada they daily are blooming
It’s there I’ll put an end to my misiries and strife.

Then it’s pack up your seastores and tarry no longer
Ten dollars a week isn’t very bad pay;
With no taxes or tithes to devour up your wages
When you’re on the green fields of Amerikay

The lint dams are dry and the looms are all broken,
The coopers are gone and the winders of creels,
Away o’er the ocean go journeymen tailors,
And fiddlers who flaked out the old mountain reels.

The sheep run unshorn and the land’s gone to rushes
The handyman’s gone and the winders of creals
Away across the ocean good journeyman tailors
And fiddlers that play out the old mountain tunes.

Farewell to the dances in homes now deserted,
When tips struck the lightening in splanks from the floor,
The paving and crigging of hobnails on flagstones
The tears of the old folk and shouts of encore.

For the landlords and bailiffs in vile combination,
Have forced us from hearthstone and homestead away
May the crowbar brigade all be doomed to damnation
When we’re on the fields of Americay.

The timber grows thick on the slopes of Columbia
With Douglas in grandeur two hundred feet tall,
The salmon and sturgeon dam streamlet and river,
And the high Rocky Mountains look down on it all.

On the prairie and plain sure the wheat waves all golden
The maple gives sugar to sweeten your tay.
You won’t want for corn cob way out in Saskatchewan
When you’re in the green fields of Americay.

And if you grow weary of pleasure and plenty
Of fruit from the orchard and fish from the foam,
There’s health and good hunting ‘way back in the forests
Where herds of great moose and wild buffalo roam.

And it’s now to conclude and to finish my ditty
If ever friendless Irishmen chances my way
With the best in the house I will treat him, and welcome
At home in the green fields of Amerikay.