Queen Among the Heather

Here we have another Scottish border ballad that came from the singing of the traveler and singer Belle Stuart, and likewise to SOTI in this recording by Archie Fisher.

The Traditional Ballad Index gives these notes:

This song is very close to “Heather Down the Moor“; they have similar plots and occasional common lyrics. Roud lumps them. There will be versions where it is almost impossible to tell which is which. I thought about listing them as one song. But on consideration, “Heather Down the Moor” has two characteristics rarely seen in “Queen among the Heather.” First, “Heather Down the Moor” tends to follow a complex stanza pattern of eight-line stanzas with complex internal chorus and repeats (see sample with that song). “Queen among the Heather” usually has simple four-line stanzas. “Heather down the Moor” also tends to end with the lines,

“But if I were a king,
I would make her a queen,
The bonnie lass I met among the heather
Down the moor.”

In “Queen Among the Heather,” he is a nobleman, so that obviously isn’t a concern.

Queen Among the Heather

Noo as I roved out one summer’s morn,
among lof-ty hills, moorland and mountain.
It was there I spied a weel faurt maid,
whilst I with others was out a hunting.

No shoes nor stockin’s did she wear,
Neither had she hat nor had she feathes.
But her golden hair hung in ringlets fair,
An’ the gentle breeze played round her shoulders.

Continue reading

Lone Shanakyle

Old Shanakyle Cemetery

This is one of my very favorite recordings by Mary Dillon and Déanta. It is a masterful example of how a traditional song can be set in a “modern” arrangement and still retain all the feeling of an unaccompanied air.   The song was written by Thomas Madigan (c. 1860) and references Old Shanakyle (Shankill) Cemetery in Kilrush, Co. Clare.

Far, far from the isle of the holy and grand
Where wild oxen fatten and brave men are banned
All lonely and lone in a far distant land
Do I wander and pine for poor Éireann

Lonely and sad I roam far from my native home
Where the wild waves surging foam, headlands appearing
Clouded in silver spray, flashing through heaven’s bright ray
For thy glory and pride, lovely Éireann

Continue reading

Myn Mair (O Mary)

Back for an all-too-infrequent visit to Wales and Welsh song. Here is a testament to the resilience and persistence of the Catholic faith amidst the pressures of the Reformation.

**If you know the performer, please leave a comment. I love to give credit where credit is due.**

Myn Mair

Fy hatling offrymaf dros enaid dan glo,
Fy nghanwyll offrymaf yn eglwys y fro,
R offeren weddïaf saith seithwaith yn daer
Er cadw ei enaid anfarwol.
Myn Mair, Myn Mair.

Sant Pawl a Sant Peder, holl seintiau y nef,
A Mair, Mam y Duwdod, eiriolwch yn gref
Dros iddo gael heddwch a gwerthfawr ryddhad,
Paradwys agored, a breichiau ei Dad.
Myn Mair, myn Mair.

Continue reading