The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #182 Message #1725078
Posted By: GUEST,jamie snider
23-Apr-06 - 12:45 AM
Thread Name: Origins: When First I Went to Caledonia
Subject: RE: Origins: When First I Came to Caledonia
I learned this song from my good friend Ronnie MacEachern, who had it from Amby Thomas........one of my fondest memories of the air to it is playing at a senior citizen's home in Big Pond when, after our set of tunes and folksongs in English [this is 25 years ago] all of the seniors joined hands and sang us a bunch of songs in Gaelic, one of which had the the same air of the Caledonia song. The verse about the "pair of brochans" is kind of about shoes-indirectly- the gaelic and Irish word for bread is similar to the word for shoes-the singer[who obviously knew english as well] was poking fun at someone whose gaelic was inadequate,thus asking for some shoes rather than a loaf of bread-the poetic "conceit" carried over to the asking for a "pound of soap and a cake of tea" rather than a cake of soap and a pound of tea.......all very subtle, but you can't underestimate the intelligence and awareness of the world at large of those cape breton gaelic intellectuals and wits from a hundred years ago.