Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Smith's a Gallant Fireman: Lyrics

One of our favorite tunes at both Fiddle Club and The Royal Mile is "The Smith's a Gallant Fireman", also (and possibly originally) known as "Carrick's Rant". Turns out there are words that lend the tune its name, by a man named Harrison. I found them transcribed by James Scott Skinner and intended to be included in The Harp and Claymore (though it doesn't appear to have been). The original text is shown here - check the rest of the site out, it's a wonderful tribute to everything J. Scott Skinner.

Though the first two verses seem to be praising a superhuman figure, the third verse is almost channeling "A Man's a Man for a' That"!

The Smith's a Gallant Fireman

Wha's the King o' oor toon end and sets the lads in awe man
Wha has lassies nine or ten when some hae nane ava man
Wha can mak us daftly dance till we be like to fa' man
Whene'er the music o' his pipe is heard in cot or ha' man
Oh Rab's the man oor village smith I winner that ye speer man
Whaur hae ye been for a' yer days that that ye didna hear man
He's King o' Bar and Lord of love and Knight o' a oor Shire man
At feast or fray by nicht or day The Smith's a Gallant Fireman.

Wha can spend and spare a plack and still hae twa ahint it
Gie a fren a helpin han and never care tae mint it
Wha for honour's sacred cause and honest independence
Like steadfast rock can beer the shock o' a' the warl's vengeance
Oh Rab's the man wi' hert and han tho clad in rude attire man
Wi' strong resolve and iron nerve, nae mair he doth require man
He bends the bars o' burnin steel as ain the' were but wire man
Dependen aye upon himseel, The Smith's a Gallant Fireman.

Wha would be a lordling slave, a thing withoot a name man
Wha would beg frae ither folk what they should hae at hame man
Wha would scuaner a' their gear an' syne gie fate the blame man
The growin' grass aboon his grave, it micht turn red wi' shame man
Let folks deride and ca' it pride be it mine still to aspire man
He that winna wale the road deserves tae dree the mire man
Let honest dignity and worth oor hearts and souls inspire man
Let's honor pay where honor's due: The Smith's a Gallant Fireman.

Video from the 2011 Fiddle Club Dance

Thanks again to Gazette.net for this story!

I Left My Baby Lying There

In April's meeting, we learned the tune "I Left My Baby Lying There", a song about an unattended child stolen by Fairies. Here are the lyrics, courtesy of Kist O' Dreams:

I Left My Baby Lying There

I left my baby lying there
Lying there, lying there
I left my baby lying there
When I went to gather blaeberries
Ho bhan ho bhan haithri o ho ....

I followed the track of the white swan
But I could not find my baby o
Ho bhan ho bhan haithri o ho ....

I followed the track of the red deer
Ho bhan ho bhan haithri o ho ....

I followed the track of the grey mare
Ho bhan ho bhan haithri o ho ....

Fhuair mi lorg an dòbhran donn
Cha d’fhuair mi lorg mo chùbhrachain
Ho bhan ho bhan haithri o ho ....

Fhuair mi lorg na lach’ air an lòn
Cha d’fhuair mi lorg mo chùbhrachain
Ho bhan ho bhan haithri o ho ....

Fhuair mi lorg na bà sa pholl
Cha d’fhuair mi lorg mo chùbhrachain
Ho bhan ho bhan haithri o ho ....

Fhuair mi lorg a’cheo ‘sa bheinn
Cha d’fhuair mi lorg mo chùbhrachain
Ho bhan ho bhan haithri o ho ....

Translation of Gaelic verses:

I got a track/spore of the dunn otter
I didn’t get a track/ trace of my fragrant one

I got a track of the duck on the marshy ground
I didn’t get a track of my fragrant one

I got a track of the cow in the pool
I didn’t get a track of my fragrant one

I got a trail of the mist on the mountain
I didn’t get a trail of my fragrant one

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

More on Trowies and Up Helly Aa

Patrick Wamsley's forwarded some info and links on two topics discussed in this month's Fiddle Club, trowies and Up Helly Aa.


For years, the accepted explanation for the word "trow" has been that it is simply a corruption of "troll" . . . . But in my opinion, this is completely wrong . . . . The Icelandic Dictionary defines "draugr" as being a ghost or spirit; especially the dead inhabitant of a cairn . . . . The pagan Norse believed that a body placed in its grave continued to live on. The term we would use today would be "undead" . . . .

See here for more.

Up Helly Aa

Described as the end of "Yule," it could occur as early as the last week of January. Once, Up Helly Aa was called the "twenty-fourth day of Christmas," implying that it should occur on January 18th. However, some Up Helly Aa events now occur as late as mid-March. Perhaps one could liken it to the Mardi Gras / Carnival festivals that mark the Epiphany / Lent transition in Catholic countries? There are multiple celebrations of this festival on Shetland:

"This was the biggest Up Helly Aa celebration."








Monday, April 11, 2011

Some Events of Interest

Holly Shropshire writes:

Celebrating 50 years of Piping and Drumming!

National Capital Area Scottish Festival
May 14 from 11 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Rockville High School
2100 Baltimore Rd., Rockville, MD
Indoor—Rain or Shine!

The Festival will be replete with Scottish pipe bands, including the City of Washington Pipe Band, the MacMillan Pipe Band, the MacMillan-Birtles Memorial Pipe Band, and the Rockville High School Pipe Band.

World-renowned, GRAMMY-nominee Bonnie Rideout is performing! Other performances by: the Irish Breakfast Band, Sleat, Scottish Country Dance Society of Washington! Plus: Celtic Dancers, Ceilidh Music, Children’s Crafts and Games! FOOD! And, Silent Auction for the Thrifty!

Come and hear the music of Scotland and experience Celtic culture right here in Rockville, MD.

Adults/$7, Seniors/$5, Kids (under 18)/$1. Food at 11:00. Show at 1:00.
Benefiting the One and Only Rockville High School Pipe Band!

Visit www.rhspb.org for more information. Save May 14 on Your Calendar!

Allison Hayward tells us:

I'd like to invite you to a concert at my house featuring steller uber-fiddler Darol Anger and also-steller uber-singer Emy Phelps. Darol and Emy will be exploring singer-songwriter territory the likes of which I expect none of us have heard before. Darol will amaze us with his fiddle and octave mandolin virtuosity. No animals will be harmed in the making of this concert.

Thursday, May 26, 2011
7:00 pm
7105 Churchill Road, McLean VA 22101

RSVP by email (allisonhayward@aol.com) to me!

Will it be more Phil Ochs or Phil Lesh? More Lowell George or "George IV"? More Ani DeFranco or Annie Lennox? Heck, who knows? But you'll miss out if you don't come!

Here's The Official Blurb:

Emy Phelps with Darol Anger
A special pairing of 2 unique and deeply affecting musicians, Virtuoso fiddler and multi-string master Darol Anger here focuses his talents in service of the singer-songwriter's art. Emy Phelps is a standout artist in a large field, a prolific songwriter with a riveting voice which plumbs the deepest emotions. A musician of note in the Pacific Northwest, she has made a 30 year music career while raising 3 sons and one daughter, achieving degrees in Theatre Arts and Special Education, and touring for 7 years with Brian Ransom's Ceramic Ensemble.
In combination, these 2 musicians bring out each other's special ability to convey deep emotional resonance and spark low-key fireworks.

Fiddler, composer, producer and educator, Darol Anger is at home in a number of musical genres, some of which he helped to invent. Exceptional among modern fiddlers for his versatility and depth, Anger has helped drive the evolution of the contemporary string band through his involvement with numerous pathbreaking ensembles such as his Republic Of Strings, the Turtle Island String Quartet, the David Grisman Quintet, Montreux, his Duo with Mike Marshall, and others. He has performed and taught all over the world with musicians such as Dr. Billy Taylor, Bela Fleck, Bill Evans, Edgar Meyer, Bill Frisell, Marin Alsop and the Cabrillo Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony, Mark O’Connor, and Stephane Grappelli. Today Darol can be heard on NPR's "Car Talk" theme every week, along with Earl Scruggs, David Grisman and Tony Rice. He has recorded and produced scores of important recordings since 1977, is a MacDowell and UCross Fellow, and has received numerous composers’ residencies and grants. He has been a featured soloist on dozens of recordings and motion picture soundtracks. He is an Associate Professor at the prestigious Berklee School of music.

Emy Phelps does not remember a time when she has not sung. Trained in theater arts, she participated in Ashland, Oregon's world-reknowned Shakespeare Festival programs including both Shakespeare and contemporary productions, and danced for 3 years in The Green Show, an ongoing Festival program. She was a founding member of Brian Ransom's The Ceramic Ensemble, which toured internationally from 1980–1987. As a member of that ensemble she did research on indigenous music in Peru. She is a musician of note in the Oregon region and has performed all around the Pacific Northwest since the late 80's.
She has released one recording entitled As It Should Be on Sweet Mercy Records, and has participated in many recordings including Patrick Brayer, Chris Darrow, Norma Tenega, and Duke McVinnie. Past venues include the New Music America Festival in Philadelphia, North By Northwest, the Moab Folk Festival, Wintergrass, The Britt Festival, and Northwest Folk Life Festival in Seattle.

From Sandy Hoar we have:

The April newsletter features Martin Hayes. He will be one of the instructors at the Irish CCE MAD (music arts and dance week) camp this summer for adults and kids. See the link below for
information. I have gone every year and it is great fun and local.