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Lyr Add: An Bunnan Bui / The Yellow Bittern

Jack Blandiver 16 May 08 - 02:12 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 16 May 08 - 02:32 PM
MartinRyan 16 May 08 - 02:52 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 16 May 08 - 02:57 PM
MartinRyan 16 May 08 - 03:08 PM
GUEST,Philippa 17 May 08 - 06:24 AM
ard mhacha 17 May 08 - 06:30 AM
MartinRyan 17 May 08 - 06:36 AM
ard mhacha 17 May 08 - 06:53 AM
Stewie 17 May 08 - 10:26 AM
GUEST,Martin Ryan 17 May 08 - 10:42 AM
Stewie 17 May 08 - 10:57 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 17 May 08 - 03:18 PM
Joybell 24 Aug 09 - 11:07 PM
GUEST,Peter Laban 25 Aug 09 - 04:38 AM
Wolfgang 25 Aug 09 - 06:19 AM
Jim Dixon 26 Aug 09 - 09:57 PM
Jim Dixon 26 Aug 09 - 11:20 PM
GUEST,Noreen 27 Aug 09 - 10:53 AM
open mike 27 Aug 09 - 11:00 AM
GUEST 03 Nov 10 - 05:06 PM
bubblyrat 03 Nov 10 - 05:24 PM
GUEST 05 Nov 10 - 06:47 AM
Jim Dixon 06 Nov 10 - 09:02 PM
Artful Codger 07 Nov 10 - 01:06 AM
Jim Dixon 10 Nov 10 - 12:43 PM
GUEST,schlimmerkerl 10 Nov 10 - 03:26 PM
Stewart 10 Nov 10 - 03:51 PM
An Pluiméir Ceolmhar 02 Feb 11 - 06:23 AM
An Pluiméir Ceolmhar 02 Feb 11 - 06:26 AM
MartinRyan 02 Feb 11 - 07:05 AM
GUEST,JTT 03 Feb 11 - 02:42 AM
GUEST 02 Oct 11 - 07:53 AM
GUEST,Leslie L 26 Jul 13 - 05:38 PM
AmyLove 03 Feb 16 - 11:35 PM
AmyLove 04 Feb 16 - 12:10 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: An Bunnan Bui (The Yellow Bittern)
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 16 May 08 - 02:12 PM

Looking around for the English translation of this wonderful old Gaelic poem by Cathal Bui Mac Giolla Gunna, I've drawn a few blanks, or else found a less convincing versions (to my ears!) to the one sung (& translated?) by Paddy Tunney, here transcribed from the singing of Clive Powell:


Was the break of day but no bitterns horn filled the waking morn with its hollow boom
For I found him prone by the bare flag blown by the lough shore lone where he met his doom
His legs were sunk in the slime and slunk; a hostage held in the fangs of frost
O you of knowledge lament his going; for want of liquor his life was lost

O yellow bird it's my bitter grief I'd as lee or lief that my race was run
No hunger's tooth but a parching drouth that has sapped your youth after all your fun
Far worse to me than the sack of Troy that my darling boy with the frost was slain
O no want nor woe did his wings bestow as he drank the flow of a brown bog drain

Ah degrading vile was the way you died, o my bittern beauteous of glowing sheen
Was at dawn of day that your pipe you'd play as content you lay on your hillock green
O my great fatigue and my sorrow sore that your tail is higher than heart or head
And the tipplers say as they pass your way: had he drunk his fill he would not be dead

O bittern bright it's my thousand woes that the rooks and crows are all pleasure bound
With the rats and mice as they cross the ice to indulge in vice at your funeral mound
Had word reached me of your awful plight on the ice I'd smite and the water free
You'd have all the lake your thirst to slake and we'd hold no wake for the Bunnan Bui

O it's not the blackbird that I'm bewailing or thrush assailing the blossom bray
But my bittern yellow that hearty fellow who has my hue and my wilful ways
By the loughshore bank he forever drank and his sorrow sank in the rolling wave
Come sun or rain every drop I'll drain for the cellar's empty beyond the grave


Anyone got anything to add to this I'd be most appreciative!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: An Bunnan Bui (The Yellow Bittern)
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 16 May 08 - 02:32 PM

AN BUNAN BUI (THE YELLOW BITTERNE)

An bunan bui that ne'er broke out in a drinking-bout
Might as well have drunk
Where his bones lie thrown on a naked stone
And he lived all alone like some hermit monk
O bunan bui! I pity your lot
For they say that a sot like myself is cursed
I was sober awhile, now I'll drink and be wise
For fear I should die in the end of thirst

'Tis not for the common bird that I would mourn
For the blackbird, the corncrake, or the crane
But for the bitterne that's shy and apart
And drinks in the marsh from the lone bog-drain
If I had known you were near your death
Whil my breath held I'd have run to you
'Till the splash from the Lake of the Son of the Bird
Your soul would have stirred and waked anew

In a wintering island by Constantine's halls
A bitterne calls from a wineless place
And tells me that hither he cannot come
'Till the summer is here and the sunny days
When he crosses the stream there and wings o'er the sea
Then a fear comes to me he may fail in his flight
Well the milk and the ale are drunk every drop
And a dram won't stop my thirst this night

My darling told me to drink no more
Or my life would be o'er in a very short while
But I told her 'tis drink gives me health and strength
And lengthens my road by many's the mile
You see how the bird of the long smooth neck
Could get his death from the thirst at last
Come, son of my soul, and drink your cup
For you'll get no sup when your life is past

        Cathal Bui Macalla Gunn (c.1750)

        Translated from Gaelic by
        Thomas MacDonagh (1878-1916)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: An Bunnan Bui (The Yellow Bittern)
From: MartinRyan
Date: 16 May 08 - 02:52 PM

"crane" in Mac Donagh's version is a local name for "heron" throughout Ireland.

REgards


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: An Bunnan Bui (The Yellow Bittern)
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 16 May 08 - 02:57 PM

MacDonagh, in addition to being a poet, was one of the 1916 patriots.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: An Bunnan Bui (The Yellow Bittern)
From: MartinRyan
Date: 16 May 08 - 03:08 PM

Who was it wrote a version 30 or 40 years ago that started:

"Sickens my gut, yellow bittern, to see you stretched there
Not by starvation - but the want of a jar!"

Can't imagine singing it but it has a fine declamatory ring about it!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: An Bunnan Bui (The Yellow Bittern)
From: GUEST,Philippa
Date: 17 May 08 - 06:24 AM

see lyrics in both Irish and English at a thread from 10 years ago.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: An Bunnan Bui (The Yellow Bittern)
From: ard mhacha
Date: 17 May 08 - 06:30 AM

Finding a dead Swift at my doorstep two weeks ago reminded me of this song, like old Cathal I was saddened by the fact that this poor bird had traveled up to 5,000 miles to die in an Irish street.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: An Bunnan Bui (The Yellow Bittern)
From: MartinRyan
Date: 17 May 08 - 06:36 AM

Ard mhacha

A Little Bittern (even scarcer relation of the bittern) was found in an exhausted condition on Inishmore (Aran Islands) a month or two ago. It was nursed back to health and released in a reedbed on Lough Corrib a few days ago - so at least it'll get to see a bit of the country!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: An Bunnan Bui (The Yellow Bittern)
From: ard mhacha
Date: 17 May 08 - 06:53 AM

Martin, I have an old a recording of Marie ni Scolai singing An Bunnan Bui, I prefer the singing of Marie to a few other recordings I have of this lovely song.
Good to know the Little Bittern recovered, sadly a few years ago a Bittern was found shot on the southern shore of Lough Neagh, and they call themselves responsible sportsmen, I will stop lest the Thread drifts into troubled waters.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: An Bunnan Bui (The Yellow Bittern)
From: Stewie
Date: 17 May 08 - 10:26 AM

Have a look at this clip:

Al O'Donnell.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: An Bunnan Bui (The Yellow Bittern)
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 17 May 08 - 10:42 AM

Always loved his voice - great diction. Not sure the banjo helps!

Regards
p.s. what year was that?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: An Bunnan Bui (The Yellow Bittern)
From: Stewie
Date: 17 May 08 - 10:57 AM

Martin, if you click on 'more info', it indicates the date was 1990.
Beaut voice.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: An Bunnan Bui (The Yellow Bittern)
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 17 May 08 - 03:18 PM

Anyone ever hear Seán Cannon sing this? Gorgeous -


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: An Bunnan Bui (The Yellow Bittern)
From: Joybell
Date: 24 Aug 09 - 11:07 PM

Decklan Affley who was singing this song around Melbourne, Australia recorded it in 1974. His version is the best I've heard.
Joy


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: An Bunnan Bui (The Yellow Bittern)
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 25 Aug 09 - 04:38 AM

May I add Ollie Conway to the mix? He made a great job of this one too.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: An Bunnan Bui (The Yellow Bittern)
From: Wolfgang
Date: 25 Aug 09 - 06:19 AM

And McEvoy.

Wolfgang


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE YELLOW BITTERN (P. J. McCall)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 26 Aug 09 - 09:57 PM

From Songs of Erinn by Patrick Joseph McCall (London: Simpkin Marshall & Co., 1899), page 50:


THE YELLOW BITTERN.

This song, which was sung in Gaelic by Mr. Roy of Donegal, at the Féis Ceóil in Belfast, 1898, and for the singing of which he was awarded a prize, was composed by Cathal Buidhe, an itinerant bard who lived at the beginning of the last century. During a very severe winter, when even the rivers were frozen over, the famished poet came to a rock whereon lay a bittern (Buinneán Buidhe, a kind of heron) stretched out dead. The unfortunate bird had actually died of thirst, and the bard, seeing a resemblance to his own approaching end, wrote the following song.

1. Oh, Buinneán Buidhe,* 'tis my grief and sorrow
To see you stark on the stones below;
Now wine from water, this wintry morrow
Poor bird o' the marsh, you would not know.
No draught for you ran with the river,
As by its border you gasped for breath;
'Twill be soon my case—I have no kind giver
Of a cup to stay the hand of Death.

2. Not a bird that flies in the blue I pity,
The blackbird, lark, or grey-winged crane;
'Tis for you alone that I pour this ditty,
A song from a heart grown dark with pain.
But, oh, had I known by word or token,
You were under woe, I had quickly hied,
And the ice on Loch MacNean had broken,
And brought you life from its frozen tide.

3. 'Tis years ago, my own fair lover
Forewarned me of death in the flowing bowl;
But I said, my dear, the wide world over
As often it saves the sinking soul.
And, girl of the gold hair, ring'd and curl'd,
Not he who frowns on the cup of doom,
Nor the merry heart that would drink the world,
Can get one drop in the icy tomb.

4. I loved this maid of the clust'ring curls,
The sweetest one on this earthly sphere,
But the chosen queen of a thousand girls
Left the wandering bard forsaken here.
'Tis my bitter grief that I was not taken
To God, the day of my christening morn,
Ere the whispering maidens their heads had shaken
At the witless boy she left forlorn.

5. One day, foot weary and bruised and broken,
I passed and saw her beside her door;
And I prayed in vain for a kind word spoken,
And a kiss, till I drank her health once more.
Twas my daily moan for many a morrow,
I am withered now, and we are not wed,
And shall never be; yet, I pray that sorrow,
Avourneen O! may spare your head.


* Pronounced Bwin'yaun Bwee.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE YELLOW BITTERN (Thomas MacDonagh)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 26 Aug 09 - 11:20 PM

From Literature in Ireland: Studies Irish and Anglo-Irish by Thomas MacDonagh (New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1916), page 199:


THE YELLOW BITTERN.
By Cathal Buidhe Mac Giolla Ghunna.

The yellow bittern that never broke out
In a drinking bout, might as well have drunk;
His bones are thrown on a naked stone
Where he lived alone like a hermit monk.
O yellow bittern! I pity your lot,
Though they say that a sot like myself is curst—
I was sober a while, but I'll drink and be wise
For fear I should die in the end of thirst.

It's not for the common birds that I'd mourn,
The black-bird, the corn-crake or the crane,
But for the bittern that's shy and apart
And drinks in the marsh from the lone bog-drain.
Oh! if I had known you were near your death,
While my breath held out I'd have run to you,
Till a splash from the Lake of the Son of the Bird
Your soul would have stirred and waked anew.

My darling told me to drink no more
Or my life would be o'er in a little short while;
But I told her 'tis drink gives me health and strength
And will lengthen my road by many a mile.
You see how the bird of the long smooth neck
Could get his death from the thirst at last—
Come, son of my soul, and drain your cup,
You'll get no sup when your life is past.

In a wintering island by Constantine's halls
A bittern calls from a wineless place,
And tells me that hither he cannot come
Till the summer is here and the sunny days.
When he crosses the stream there and wings o'er the sea
Then a fear comes to me he may fail in his flight—
Well, the milk and the ale are drunk every drop,
And a dram won't stop our thirst this night.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: An Bunnan Bui (The Yellow Bittern)
From: GUEST,Noreen
Date: 27 Aug 09 - 10:53 AM

As posted above by Bonnie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: An Bunnan Bui (The Yellow Bittern)
From: open mike
Date: 27 Aug 09 - 11:00 AM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bittern

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_Bittern

just wanted to get an idea of the subject of this song


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: An Bunnan Bui / The Yellow Bittern
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Nov 10 - 05:06 PM

Alistair Hulett sang a gorgeous rendition of this song R.I.P.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: An Bunnan Bui / The Yellow Bittern
From: bubblyrat
Date: 03 Nov 10 - 05:24 PM

Sounds a bit like something from "Dulaman" !


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: An Bunnan Bui / The Yellow Bittern
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Nov 10 - 06:47 AM

Alistair Hulett/Dave Swarbrick Saturday Johnny Jimmy the Rat.

O An Bunan Buidhie that never broke out
In a drinking bout might as well have seen
His bones lying strewn on a naked stone
Where he lived alone like a hermit monk
O An Bunan Buidhie, I pity your lot
Though they say that a sot like myself is cursed
I was sober a while, but I will drink and be wise
For fear I may die in the end of thirst
It's not for the common bird that I mourn
The blackbird, the corncrake or the crane
But the Bunan Buidhie, that is shy and apart
And drinks from the marsh where the lone bog drains
If I had known you were near your death
While my breath held out I'd have run to you
'Til a splash in the Lake of the Son of the Bird
Your soul would have stirred back to life anew
My darling told me to drink no more
Or my life would be over in a little while
But it is the taste of the whisky that gives me health and strength
And will lengthen my road by many a mile
You see how the bird of the long smooth neck
He might catch his death from the thirst at last
So come song of my soul, and drink your glass
For you'll get no more sup when this life is past

On a wintering island I constant times recall
A bittern who calls from a wineless place
And tells me that hither he cannot come
Till the summer is here and the sunny day
When he crosses the stream there and wings over the sea
Then the thought comes to me he may fail in his flight
Now the milk and the ale they are drunk every drop
And a dram it won't stop our thirst this night.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: An Bunnan Bui / The Yellow Bittern
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 06 Nov 10 - 09:02 PM

I think I need to clarify something. Noreen wrote "As posted above by Bonnie." I take that to mean she thought my posting of the lyrics was redundant.

However, if you carefully compare my copy of the lyrics with Bonnie's, you will see numerous differences, starting with the first line. These differences, in my opinion, are not trivial.

My version was taken directly from Thomas MacDonagh's book, and I believe it is an accurate copy.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: An Bunnan Bui / The Yellow Bittern
From: Artful Codger
Date: 07 Nov 10 - 01:06 AM

No, it wasn't redundant. I also noticed that the posted text had curious corruptions (if it was intended to represent the original), and instead copied the text from the same book you mentioned. I also cross-checked against his Lyrical Poems.

Note: it is no criticism of Bonnie that Jim and I found a closer source--we just happen to be compulsive about such things. When it comes to posted lyrics, the watchword is caveat emptor: it's easy to make false assumptions about their "authenticity", especially when no source is cited.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: An Bunnan Bui / The Yellow Bittern
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 10 Nov 10 - 12:43 PM

Artful: Thanks for your support. I'm glad someone understands. I agree that I meant no criticism of Bonnie. From May 2008 to August 2009, her copy was the best version we had. For that, she deserves thanks. In fact, I might not have found MacDonagh's original if I had not taken a phrase from Bonnie's version and used it to search with Google Books.

By the way, does anyone besides me see any religious symbolism in this song? Oddly enough, it reminds me of some Sufi poetry in which drunkenness symbolizes the mystical union with God.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: An Bunnan Bui / The Yellow Bittern
From: GUEST,schlimmerkerl
Date: 10 Nov 10 - 03:26 PM

@ Jim Dixon: "Wenn ich starkes Getränk nehme, bewegt sich der Geist von Musik innerhalb ich". I believe there's also a version in "Songs of the Irish", Donal O'Sullivan, but i think it's pretty much the same as posted above.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: An Bunnan Bui / The Yellow Bittern
From: Stewart
Date: 10 Nov 10 - 03:51 PM

I'm curious - is there any relation between this poem
and the Irish slow air "Bunnan Bui" (see Tomas O Canainn,
Traditional Slow Airs of Ireland)?

The tune that Al O'Donnell uses in his singing of the song
(see youtube link by Stewsie above) is different.
Perhaps the slow air relates to the poem in Gaelic.

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: An Bunnan Bui / The Yellow Bittern
From: An Pluiméir Ceolmhar
Date: 02 Feb 11 - 06:23 AM

A commlodious vicus of recirculation has brought me back to the Mudcat: at the approach of every 1 February, the words of "Coillte Mághach" spring to mind (Anois teacht an earraigh...) and today I looked up the text, most of which I had long forgotten.

Another poem part-remembered from my schooldays was "An Bunnán Buí", and when I googled it, this thread was one of the first to appear. The main reason why I remember it is that it's always been handy to be able to quote ancient poetry to justify having the odd drop.

The Wikipedia article pointed out by open mike suggests that the bird in the poem is not the ornighologists' yellow bittern, but a bit of googling came up with this recent item in the Irish Times.

And yup, after a few years of hectic activity, work has gonequiet again for me ;-)

:


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: An Bunnan Bui / The Yellow Bittern
From: An Pluiméir Ceolmhar
Date: 02 Feb 11 - 06:26 AM

Hmmm... I should have proof-read. Is there no edit function on this thing?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: An Bunnan Bui / The Yellow Bittern
From: MartinRyan
Date: 02 Feb 11 - 07:05 AM

The "yellow" in the Irish name is basically colloquial - it's the common bittern (otaurus stellaris) of Europe, alright. Hasn't bred here since mid 19th C. as far as is known. - but turns up occasionally as this winter.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: An Bunnan Bui / The Yellow Bittern
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 03 Feb 11 - 02:42 AM

I wrote a scholarly and multi-linked answer to this last night and pressed 'Submit message', and was returned to the forum, with the message I'd composed disappearing. Looks as if the forum really isn't working very well.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: An Bunnan Bui / The Yellow Bittern
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Oct 11 - 07:53 AM

AN BUINNEAN BUI (The Yellow Bittern) by The Long Kesh Ramblers
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YX6opXziLOA

An Buinnean Bui that ne'er broke out
on a drinking-bout Might as well have drunk
For his bones are thrown on the naked stone
Where he lived all alone like the hermit
An Buinnean Bui, I pity your lot
Thou they say that a sot like myself was cursed
I was sober awhile, But I'll drink and be wise
For I fear I might die before my time

And its not for the common bird that I mourn
The blackbird or the crake or the crane
But for the Buinnean Bui who is shy and apart
And to drinks in the mire from the lone bog-drain
If I had known you were nearing your death
While my breath held out I'd have run to you
With a splash from the Lake or a drink from the mire
But I fear I might die before my time


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: An Bunnan Bui / The Yellow Bittern
From: GUEST,Leslie L
Date: 26 Jul 13 - 05:38 PM

Check out Sean Doyle's recording. It's on youtube. (I don't think I can figure out how to do a link.)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: An Bunnan Bui / The Yellow Bittern
From: AmyLove
Date: 03 Feb 16 - 11:35 PM

Does anyone here know anything about the animated short?

An Bonnán Buí

And if it's available to watch online, please provide a link. Thanks so much.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: An Bunnan Bui / The Yellow Bittern
From: AmyLove
Date: 04 Feb 16 - 12:10 AM

I found a trailer for the animated short here. It looks quite good.


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