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Two tunes for Sean Van Vocht?

pattyClink 05 Dec 09 - 10:13 PM
Dave Hanson 06 Dec 09 - 07:41 AM
MartinRyan 06 Dec 09 - 08:12 AM
ard mhacha 06 Dec 09 - 08:24 AM
Jim McLean 06 Dec 09 - 10:23 AM
GUEST,beachcomber 06 Dec 09 - 11:00 AM
MartinRyan 06 Dec 09 - 11:56 AM
GUEST,beachcomber 06 Dec 09 - 12:12 PM
MartinRyan 06 Dec 09 - 12:15 PM
pattyClink 06 Dec 09 - 02:29 PM
GUEST,Lewis Becker 06 Dec 09 - 09:07 PM
Effsee 06 Dec 09 - 11:22 PM
MartinRyan 07 Dec 09 - 03:57 AM
pattyClink 07 Dec 09 - 05:03 PM
Mr Happy 20 Jan 10 - 09:50 AM
Mr Happy 20 Jan 10 - 09:52 AM
GUEST,pattyClink 20 Jan 10 - 03:56 PM
GUEST,sciencegeek 05 Dec 16 - 05:04 PM
Thompson 05 Dec 16 - 05:52 PM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 06 Dec 16 - 06:03 AM
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Subject: Two tunes for Sean Van Vocht?
From: pattyClink
Date: 05 Dec 09 - 10:13 PM

This is Liam Clancy singing "Sean Van Vocht" or however you want to spell it.

tune 1

But in the DT, and in Burl Ives "Irish Songs" there is a different tune

tune 2

So is tune 2 the 'real' tune, and if so, what air is Liam and the Phil using in their version?


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Subject: RE: Two tunes for Sean Van Vocht?
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 06 Dec 09 - 07:41 AM

Shouldn't it be spelled ' Sean Bean Bocht '

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Two tunes for Sean Van Vocht?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 06 Dec 09 - 08:12 AM

Sean Van Vocht is a phonetic representation of the Irish gaelic for "poor old woman" which would now be spelled Sean bhean bhocht. The anglicisation has been around, in the context of this song, for 200 years or so, at least - much longer than the modrn gaelic spelling.

The two tunes above are quite similar - and not unlike the version that's in my head! It's a tune that gets kicked about a bit being more a rhythmic chant than anything else, i suppose.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Two tunes for Sean Van Vocht?
From: ard mhacha
Date: 06 Dec 09 - 08:24 AM

Liam Clancy`s version was the one I am familiar with.


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Subject: RE: Two tunes for Sean Van Vocht?
From: Jim McLean
Date: 06 Dec 09 - 10:23 AM

The melody is very similar to that used for 'The Shearin's no' for You' shearin which was later used for 'Kelvingrove'. It's of the Sam Hall family

This traditional song has rarely been published but is in fact widely known in a number of different versions and must date back at least to the 1700s. Around 1820, Thomas Lyle of Paisley used the tune for his famous song Kelvingrove. (Notes Jim Reid, 'I Saw the Wild Geese Fly')


I don't know when the Sean bhean bhocht first appeared.


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Subject: RE: Two tunes for Sean Van Vocht?
From: GUEST,beachcomber
Date: 06 Dec 09 - 11:00 AM

I think the ref to "The French" is unmistakably connected to 1798 ??
Liam's version is also the one that I learned from my dad many, many years ago.
I notice a reference to Maura O'Connell in the introductory "card" to that link posted by pattiClink. I think it should be "ROBBIE" O'Connell, a nephew of the Clancy Bros, the track is from a CD "Who fears to speak"
For anyone who hasn't heard it it is an excellent collection of artists singing songs of 1798.


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Subject: RE: Two tunes for Sean Van Vocht?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 06 Dec 09 - 11:56 AM

Terry Moylan, in The age of revolution in the Irish song tradition says the following;

Bunting collected a (non-political) song called An tSeanbhan Bocht in 1792. By the end of the 18th C. the air had become the bearer of political verses, this one the most famous. It did not see print, however, until the mid 19th C. when it was published in The Nation.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Two tunes for Sean Van Vocht?
From: GUEST,beachcomber
Date: 06 Dec 09 - 12:12 PM

Is that all that is known Martin , of it's origin ? Did he give any verses of the earlier song ? Would the tune have been Irish at all?


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Subject: RE: Two tunes for Sean Van Vocht?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 06 Dec 09 - 12:15 PM

That's all Moylan has, in effect. I'll check on the Bunting reference later.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Two tunes for Sean Van Vocht?
From: pattyClink
Date: 06 Dec 09 - 02:29 PM

Many thanks for all these insights, gang! I had no idea about the link to Kelvin Grove and "The Shearin's".   

Also interesting about a song of that name being non-political in 1792. I have to wonder if it got pressed into use with a new set of political words for the rallies that were held during the events of 1798, similar to the way some spirituals got remodeled as civil rights songs.

If someone would care to change the thread title to have both Sean (or Shan) Van Vocht and Sean Bhean Bocht, go for it, but I'd rather not drop the 'van vocht' since it's something people would search on.


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Subject: RE: Two tunes for Sean Van Vocht?
From: GUEST,Lewis Becker
Date: 06 Dec 09 - 09:07 PM

Zimmerman, Songs of Irish Rebellion, gives 4 versions. Version A is the familiar one. Zimmerman says, published for the first time in The Nation in 1842. Text B is political but it is linked to O'Connell rather than 1798. Text B is from a broadside which had a MS note on the back - "Bought in Kilkenny in 1828."
There is also an interesting broadside usually attributed to Brereton, who sold broadsides in Dublin in the 1860-1870's, "A New Song Call'd the Gay Old Hag." It is also political but is different in text from the others. What is interesting is that if the song was originally a ribald song about an old hag (Colm O Lochlainn's book - More Street Ballads, Song No. 60 - quotes O'Sullivan as saying that the ribald verses about "The Tight Old Hag" are the original), then Brereton's version seems to be an interesting offshoot. I should note that O Lochlainn also quotes Sparling, Irish Minstrelsy, 1888 as saying that the version he gives is an authentic 1798 composition. I can't locate my copy of Sparling so I don't know what his version is.


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Subject: RE: Two tunes for Sean Van Vocht?
From: Effsee
Date: 06 Dec 09 - 11:22 PM

Shay me! Can we get back to the OP's question?
Erm, Liam Clancy v Burl Ives, mmmmm tough one! Think I'd know which one to chose!


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Subject: RE: Two tunes for Sean Van Vocht?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 07 Dec 09 - 03:57 AM

Sparling's is a straightforward anticipation of the French arrival. He dates it to 1797 i.e. between the first attempt at a French landing and the '98 rebellion itself.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Two tunes for Sean Van Vocht?
From: pattyClink
Date: 07 Dec 09 - 05:03 PM

Great info, Martin and Lewis.   One of the things I like about the song is it seems 'in the moment' anticipating the French landing, rather than writing about it after the fact as history.

Effsee, my intent is to know the song roughly as it might have been sung in '98, (which means I probably need an Irish lyric translation too!)

I know Clancy would be the more respected and politically correct source to us today, but when one sees a different melody in print in two sources, one must suspect that might be the traditional melody most used.

Sometimes singers choose to perform a more beautiful melody than the 'standard' one, and I was curious whether Liam and the orchestra hadn't just done that. From the above posts about tune 1 being passed down orally, it sounds like I can stick with tune 1.


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Subject: RE: Two tunes for Sean Van Vocht?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 20 Jan 10 - 09:50 AM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sean-Bhean_bhocht


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Subject: RE: Two tunes for Sean Van Vocht?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 20 Jan 10 - 09:52 AM

http://trillian.mit.edu/~jc/cgi/abc/tunefind?P=Shan+Van+Vocht&find=FIND&m=title&scale=0.65&limit=1000&thresh=5&fmt=single&V=1&Ts


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Subject: RE: Two tunes for Sean Van Vocht?
From: GUEST,pattyClink
Date: 20 Jan 10 - 03:56 PM

Thanks Mr. Happy. I just caught your delightful link to Irish Rhapsody so thanks for that too.


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Subject: RE: Two tunes for Sean Van Vocht?
From: GUEST,sciencegeek
Date: 05 Dec 16 - 05:04 PM

fell in love with this song when his first album came out

the lyrics as best I can determine from listening to Robbie O'Connell's version on Close to the Bone... but that last two lines elude me

If you come down to our street
Inquire at number nine
And you may ask one and you may ask two
But the red haired one is mine

With a too ri ah, fal dal liddle dah
Too ri ah, she's a gay old hag

I sat her on a bed of down
I sat her down quite easy
Three kisses then I stole from her
The last one drove her crazy

refrain

And I have a wife, and a pretty little wife
And I know I'll not forsake her
But there's not a town that I go down
But I get one if I take her

refrain

And I have money in my purse
And money in my pocket
?
?

refrain


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Subject: RE: Two tunes for Sean Van Vocht?
From: Thompson
Date: 05 Dec 16 - 05:52 PM

Sean = old
bean = woman
bocht = poor

Bean is a feminine noun (gender, not sex - cailín (girl) is a masculine noun), and therefore in the nominative, it's got a séimhiú - an h after the first letter, and so does its adjective, bocht.

So it's sean bhean bhoct.

Bean would be pronounced 'ban', and bocht 'bukht' (roughly speaking), but the séimhiú softens the sound so they're van and vuckht.

As for the tunes, it's common enough for songs to have a dual identity and go by two tunes.


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Subject: RE: Two tunes for Sean Van Vocht?
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 06 Dec 16 - 06:03 AM

Have great respect for Liam Clancy- a man with a gift for communication- I first heard it from Ray Fisher in the sixties, and she used the standard tune.
There is a recording by Frank Quinn, who left Longford to work as a policeman in New York, and put out a 78 of this song in 1925 with the same tune. It's quite likely that, if the song wasn't already in the Clancy family, Liam heard it on a 78- less likely that Ray had heard Frank Quinn's version at that time.
Frank Quinn's 78s have been available on CD for many years on the Arhoolie label from the U.S.


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