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Thread: Folk Music

  1. #1
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    Post Folk Songs and Ballads

    I've always loved "Si bheag, Si mhor" by Turlough O'Carolan ,written by the blind harper in the late 17th century.

    "Long long ago in this ancient land
    A battle took place where two hills now stand
    And on the plain there lay the slain
    For neither the battle was won.

    So the bard then did sing of these fairy hills
    Where bloom the white flowers and daffodils
    One big, one small ,Si Bheag ,Si Mhor
    And never the battle is won.

    Beneath these hills great heroes lie
    Of the Red Branch Knights and their ancient foes
    In still of night the immortals fight
    But never the battle is won.

    And so the harper was told these fairy tales
    Of the fairy hills of the ancient Gaels
    One big, one small, Si Bheag, Si Mhor
    And never the battle is won.

    Twas after the fight the prophet foretold
    No rest could be found for these warriors bold
    Till they unite and fight one common foe
    And then would the battle be won.

    So the harper then wrote of these fairy hills
    Where bloom the white flowers and daffodils
    One big, one small, Si Bheag, Si Mhor
    And never the battle is won.

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    good choice! Turlough was certainly one of our most accomplished men ever, and for once is recognised widely for his talent
    Have you read Brian Keenan's book ''Turlough''? its quite strange, and very good. incase anyone is interested - http://www.contemplator.com/carolan/
    Last edited by Scáthach; Sunday, August 3rd, 2003 at 10:02 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scathach
    good choice! Turlough was certainly one of our most accomplished men ever, and for once is recognised widely for his talent
    Have you read Brian Keenan's book ''Turlough''? its quite strange, and very good. incase anyone is interested - http://www.contemplator.com/carolan/
    No, I haven't read it. Will do so though!
    I read somewhere that he wasn't a particulary good harper, and was sometimes derided by his peers. It was only when he turned his hand to composing that his genius was recognised.
    I think Si bheag, Si mhor was his first song

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    Quote Originally Posted by Milesian
    No, I haven't read it. Will do so though!
    I read somewhere that he wasn't a particulary good harper, and was sometimes derided by his peers. It was only when he turned his hand to composing that his genius was recognised.
    I think Si bheag, Si mhor was his first song

    i love Carolan's farewell, Carolan's Dream and Ode to Whiskey

    what sub race would you go for?
    the nose seems to suggest dinaric but i dont know how likely that would be in ireland, esp 17th c ireland.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scathach
    i love Carolan's farewell, Carolan's Dream and Ode to Whiskey

    what sub race would you go for?
    the nose seems to suggest dinaric but i dont know how likely that would be in ireland, esp 17th c ireland.
    Yeah, that's a big hooter!!
    He might be Alpinid but I think he's probably Brunn judging by the width of his face, etc.

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    Folk Songs and Ballads

    Folk songs and ballads of England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the USA:

    Contemplator.com
    Lík börn leika best.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blutwölfin
    Folk songs and ballads of England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the USA:

    Contemplator.com
    What about Atlantic Canada?
    Everyone knows we have the best.

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    Here are some then.

    Farewell to Nova Scotia

    The sun was setting in the west
    The birds were singing on every tree
    All nature seemed inclined for to rest
    But still there was no rest for me.

    Chorus
    Farewell to Nova Scotia, you sea-bound coast
    Let your mountains dark and dreary be
    For when I am far away on the briny ocean tossed
    Will you ever heave a sigh and a wish for me?

    I grieve to leave my native land
    I grieve to leave my comrades all
    And my parents whom I held so dear
    And the bonnie, bonnie lassie that I do adore.

    Chorus

    The drums they do beat and the wars to alarm
    The captain calls, we must obey
    So farewell, farewell to Nova Scotia's charms
    For it's early in the morning I am far, far away.

    Chorus

    I have three brothers and they are at rest
    Their arms are folded on their breast
    But a poor simple sailor just like me
    Must be tossed and driven on the dark blue sea.



    I'se the B'y

    I's the b'y that builds the boat,
    And I's the b'y that sails her,
    I's the b'y that catches the fish,
    And takes then home to 'lizer.

    Chorus:
    Swing your partner, Sally Tibbo,
    Swing your partner, Sally Brown,
    Fogo, Twillingate, Morton's Harbour,
    All around the circle.

    Sods and rinds to cover your flake,
    Cake and tea for supper,
    Codfish in the spring o' the year,
    Fried in maggoty butter!

    I don't want your maggoty fish,
    That's no good for winter.
    I could buy as good as that,
    Down in Bonavista

    I took 'Lizer to a dance,
    And faith, but she could travel!
    And every step that she did take
    Was up to her knees in gravel!

    Susan White, she's out of sight,
    Her petticoat wants a border,
    Old Sam Oliver in the dark
    He kissed her in the corner!

    Hard Hard Times

    Come all you good people I’ll sing you a song,
    About the poor people how they get along.
    Start up in the spring, finish up in the fall,
    And when it’s all over you’ve nothing at all,
    And it’s hard, hard times.

    Poor fishermen we been out all the day.
    Come home in the evening full sail up the bay.
    There’s Kate in the corner with a wink and a nod,
    Saying, “Jimmy or Johnny, have you got any cod?”
    And it’s hard, hard times.

    First comes the merchant to see your supply,
    Saying, “The fine side of fishing you’ll have by and by.”
    Seven dollars for large, six-fifty for small.
    Pick out your West Indie, you’ve nothing at all,
    And it’s hard, hard times.

    The baker has loaves, grow smaller each week.
    The same for the butcher that weighs up your meat.
    The weights they fly up and the scales they fly down,
    And when it’s all over you’re short half a pound,
    And it’s hard, hard times.

    Then come the doctor, the worst of them all,
    Saying, “Whats been the matter with you all the fall?”
    He says he will cure you of all your disease.
    When your money he’s got, you can die if you please,
    And it’s hard, hard times.

    The best thing to do is to work with a will,
    For when it’s all over you’re hauled on the hill.
    Hauled up on the hill, put down in the cold,
    And when it’s all over you’re still in the hole,
    And it’s hard, hard times.

    LET ME FISH OFF CAPE ST. MARY’S

    Take me back to my Western boat,
    Let me fish off Cape St. Mary's
    Where the hagdowns sails and the fog horn wail,
    with my friends the Browns and the Cleary’s.
    Let me fish off Cape St. Mary's.

    Let me feel my dory lift
    to the board Atlantic combers,

    Where the tide rips swirl and the wild ducks whirl
    Where Old Neptune calls the numbers
    ‘Neath the broad Atlantic comers.......

    Let me sail up Golden Bay
    With my oilskins all a’streamin’....
    From the thunder squall— when I hauled me trawl
    And my old cape Ann a gleamin’
    With my oil skins all a’streamin’....

    Let me view that rugged shore,
    Where the beach is all aglisten
    With the Caplin spawn where from dusk to dawn
    You bait your trawl and listen
    To the undertow a-hissin’.

    When I reach that last big shoal
    Where the ground swells break asunder,
    Where the wild sands roll to the surges toll,
    Let me be a man and take it
    When my dory fails to make it.


    Take me back to that snug green cove
    Where the sea roll up their thunder.
    There let rest in the earth’s cool Breast
    Where the stars shine out their wonder—
    And the sea toll up their thunder.


    Make and Break Harbour

    How still lies the bay in the bright western airs
    Which blow from the crimson horizon
    Once more we tack home with a dry empty hold
    Saving gas with the breezes so fair
    She's a kindly Cape Isander, old, but still sound
    But so lost in the longliner's shadow
    Make and break, and make do, but the fish are so few
    That she won't be replaced should she founder

    It's so hard not to think of before the big war
    When the cod were so cheap and so plenty
    Foreign trawlers go by now with long-seeing eyes
    Taking all, where we seldom take any
    And so the young folk don't stay with the fisherman's way
    Long ago, they all moved to the cities
    And the ones left behind, old, tired, and blind
    Can't work for "a pound or a penny".

    Chorus:

    In Make and Break Harbour the boats are so few
    Too many are pulled up and rotten
    Most houses stand empty, old nets hung to dry
    Are blown away, lost and forgotten.

    I can see the big draggers have stirred up the bay
    Leaving lobster traps smashed on the bottom
    Can they think it don't pay to respect the old ways
    That Make and Break men have not forgotton?

    For we still keep our time to the turn of the tide
    And this boat that I built with my father
    Still lifts to the sky! The one lunger and I
    Still talk like old friends on the water.

    That's a tip of the iceberg...just picked some I like.

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    English Folk Songs Archive

    http://www.contemplator.com/england/

    Lyrics and MIDIs for scores of English folk songs from the 16th century on. Far better for setting a musical envorinment in your home to play some of these tunes (preferably on your own instruments rather than as MIDI files) than to turn on the Top 40! And if you have the means to turn a MIDI file into a ringtone for your mobile phone, any of these would be vastly superior to Nokia tune.

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