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1: The Corncrake/ I Hae a Wife o ma Ain
A traditional love song, The Corncrake comes from south west Scotland mentioning the town of Ayr and the river Doune which flows to the sea just south of the town. The sound of the corncrake (a harsh rasping call which might not be thought particularly romantic) has now become rare in mainland Scotland with the loss of meadow habitat. The song is known throughout Scotland and is in the Greig-Duncan Folk-Song Collection. This is followed by the air of another song, in jig time I Hae a Wife o Ma Ain which was written by Robert Burns and contributed by him to Johnson's Scots Musical Museum in 1792.
1: Oh the lass that I loed best of all was handsome young and fair,
Wi her I spent some merry nights upon the banks o Ayr;
Wi her I spent some merry nights by yon wee burnie rows,
Whaur the echo mocks the corncrakes amang the whinny knowes.
2: Sitting in the Stern of a Boat (Mi 'm shuidh' an Deireadh Bata)
This beautiful slow air was composed in the 18th century by the Rev. William McLeod and represents his thoughts as he sailed away from his native Bracadale in the Isle of Skye to take up a parish in Argyll. Taken from Captain Simon Fraser’s Knockie Collection of 1816.
3: Ma Rovin Eye
In one form or another this song is still widely popular - in Ireland as As I Roved Out, in England as Seventeen Come Sunday. This version is from the North East of Scotland.
1: As I gaed o'er yon Hieland hill,
I met a bonny lassie;
And she gied me a wink wi the tail o her ee,
And faith but she was saucy.
2: "Where are ye gaun my bonnie lass?
Where are ye gaun my honey?
Where are ye gaun my bonnie lass?"
"For baccy for my grannie."
Wi ma rovin eye,
Fol di doodle die,
Wi ma rovin fol di derry,
Wi ma rovin eye.
4: Ó mo Dhùthaich (Oh My Country)/ Ossian's Lament
The song Ó mo Dhùthaich was collected in South Uist by Margaret Fay Shaw and is in her 1955 collection Folksongs and Folklore of South Uist. Composed by a native of South Uist, Allan MacPhee, as a lament it tells of the hardships he endured - expelled from Skye during the Highland clearances only to experience the even harsher conditions of the Canadian winter in Manitoba. Ossian's Lament is an ancient tune to which it is said the Ossianic bardic poems were chanted.
Ó mo dhùthaich, 's tu th'air m'aire,
Uibhist chùmhraidh ùr nan gallan,
Far a faighte na daoin' uaisle,
Far 'm bu dual do Mhac 'ic Ailein.
Oh My Country (translation):
Oh my country, of thee I am thinking,
Fragrant fresh Uist of the handsome youths,
Where may be seen young noblemen,
Where once was the heritage of Clanranald.
5: The 72nd Highlander's Farewell tae Aberdeen/ The Favourite Dram
The first is a traditional north-east pipe march, the second an old set dance tune in 9/8 (or slip jig time) from the Simon Fraser collection where it is referred to as a ‘bumpkin’ or Highland bacchanalian.
6: Ae Fond Kiss
Perhaps the most famous of all Scottish love songs, written by Robert Burns on parting with Clarinda for the last time in 1791, the song was first published in Johnson’s Scots Musical Museum in 1792.
Ae fond kiss and then we sever,
Ae fareweel and then forever;
Deep in heart wrung tears I’ll pledge thee,
Warring sighs and groans I’ll wage thee.
7: Brose and Butter/ Monaghan Jig/ Jackson's Bottle of Brandy
The first is a nonsense song – essentially Lowland Scots ‘mouth music’, equivalent to the Highland Gaelic port a beul that was used as dance music in the absence of instruments. The song has a particular interest as it was one of the first songs collected by Robert Burns in around 1785 and is in Burns’ Merry Muses of Caledonia. The song is followed by two Irish jigs.
Oh Johnny got brose, brose,
Johnny got brose and butter
Oh Johnny got brose, brose,
An aa the lave wanted their supper.
8: Music of Spey
A fine slow air by the Scottish fiddler, 'strathspey king' James Scott Skinner from his Miller of Hirn collection of 1881. The piece was inspired by one of the great salmon rivers of the North East that flows through whisky distilling country from the Grampian mountains to the Moray Firth.
9: Let Me in this Ae Nicht
This is one of a whole class of songs referred to as ‘night visiting songs.’ Robert Burns knew Let Me In This Ae Nicht as a traditional folk song and this is his adaptation.
"Oh lassie are ye sleepin yet?
Or are thou wauken, I wad wait?
For love has bound me hand an foot,
An I wad fain be in Jo."
"Oh let me in this ae nicht
This ae, ae, ae nicht,
For pity's sake this ae nicht,
Oh rise an let me in Jo."
10: Spootaskerry/ The Willow Kishie/ Simon's Wort
Three Shetland reels - composed by three different masters of the form, the first by Ian Burns refers to the 'spoot' or spout of water rising in rough seas over a 'skerry' - a partly submerged rock, and was the old name for his great aunt's house at Southness. The second, by Willie Hunter junior, refers to the woven willow basket or 'kishie' that was strapped to the back and used in Shetland for carrying peats. The third, by Willie Hunter senior, is named after a stone built look-out station or 'wart', this particular one - Simon's Wart, or Seoman's as it is pronounced, being in the parish of Nesting.
11: Oidche Mhath Leibh (Goodnight to You)
A Gaelic 'parting song' of the 1890s composed by Iain MacPhaidein of Mull. 'Not an instrument played wakens my thoughts with happiness as songs from the lips of maidens - Goodnight and blessings with you.'
Soraidh leibh is oidhche mhath leibh,
Oidche mhath leibh 's beannachd leibh;
Guidheam slàinte 'ghnàth bhi mar ribh,
Oidhche mhath leibh 's beannachd leibh.
Good Night to You (translation):
Farewell and goodnight to you,
Goodnight and blessings with you,
I wish you always good health,
Goodnight and blessings with you.