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Origins: Sweet Craigie Hills -- where's it from?

GUEST,Theodore 15 Jul 14 - 12:44 PM
GUEST,# 15 Jul 14 - 01:15 PM
Jim Carroll 15 Jul 14 - 01:57 PM
GUEST,gillymor 15 Jul 14 - 03:54 PM
GUEST,John Moulden 15 Jul 14 - 08:42 PM
Jim Carroll 16 Jul 14 - 02:30 AM
GUEST,MartinRyan too lazy to login... 16 Jul 14 - 08:00 AM
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Subject: Origins: Sweet Craigie Hills -- where's it from?
From: GUEST,Theodore
Date: 15 Jul 14 - 12:44 PM

I've been doing some looking for this song. I first heard it on a recording with Dolores Keane some years ago, and I've always loved it, but thought it more a folk piece, a set piece performed with a backing band.

Most of the posted versions of the text read "...the bonny Bann banks", but Keane clearly sings about the bonny Bann "isles". Other than that, there seems to be only this one version.

I'd be grateful for any information.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sweet Craigie Hills -- where's it from?
From: GUEST,#
Date: 15 Jul 14 - 01:15 PM

Try 'Craigie Hill' or 'Craigie Hills' without the Sweet.


http://songoftheisles.com/2013/04/29/craigie-hills/

Hope that helps.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sweet Craigie Hills -- where's it from?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Jul 14 - 01:57 PM

The sung version of this was Brigid,mother of Paddy Tunney, who was recorded by the BBC in 1953.
One of the tutors at last wee's Willie Clancy Summer School used her rendition as an example of Irish singing at its best - couldn't fault that description.
Can't imagine a 'band' version, but then again 'chacun a son gout'as they say
The note to the song on the Tunney family cassette, 'Where Linnets Sing reads, issued by CCE in 1993 reads:
"CRAIGIE HILL
This song probably dates from the mid-19th century, when, as Paddy Tunneysays, "every Irish port had an emigrant ship". The reference to the Bann's Banks helps to locate the song.
I understand thai Craigie Hill is a rural area in County Down.
Craigie Hill is written largely in the 'conversation' form which was popular in the 19th century. The tribulations of life in Ireland, oppressed by 'the landlords and their agents' are contrasted with the bright prospects in America where one may be 'as happy as Queen Victoria'.
Internal rhyming is used extensively throughout the verses thus helping to make the somewhat lenghthy lines fall easily and musically on the ear.
Paddy, John and Sr Brigid joined forces for this one, which was recorded at An Culturlann in 1991"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sweet Craigie Hills -- where's it from?
From: GUEST,gillymor
Date: 15 Jul 14 - 03:54 PM

Thanks for your comments, Jim. I hadn't considered the internal rhyming used in it.

Dick Gaughan did a somewhat somber version of Craigie Hill.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sweet Craigie Hills -- where's it from?
From: GUEST,John Moulden
Date: 15 Jul 14 - 08:42 PM

Paddy Tunney associated this song with Larne, Co Antrim which had been an emigration port in the period 1718-75. Craigie Hill is above the town and its lough.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sweet Craigie Hills -- where's it from?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Jul 14 - 02:30 AM

This is a song I have loved from a lifetime ago, when first heard Mrs Tunney singing it.
I know it's a matter of taste, but I have never heard a singer come anywhere near Mrs Tunney's rendition of it; for me, she captures the mixture of despair and hope that the song coveys, perfectly reflecting the feelings that must have been felt at the time a million people were forced to flee their homes to seek a new one, during the famine.
In my opinion, if the song is taken too slow, as Gaughan does, it becomes mawkish and trite, as can many emigration songs.
Last Wednesday, I watched a group of newish singers in a class, utterly gobsmacked by Brigid's rendition of it, and later scrambling to know where they could get a copy of it, and more of her singing.
I have to say that, when we first started recording old singers back in the early 70s, I had a little trouble taking in the emigration songs, their often sentimental nature, and sometimes trite poetry, but above all, the sheer number of them, (a a descendant of famine refugees, I should have known better).
Sitting with the singers and listening to them talk of the emigrations; the American Wakes, the century and a half of losing relatives and friends, hearing Junior Crehan describing the old man hobbling along the railway track trying to follow the train carrying his eldest son to America.... put all of the songs in perfect context for me.
One of the most moving stories we heard was of 'the 'Wren' that went to America'.
Some time in the latter half of the 19th century, a group of local young men set out on St Stephen's Day, heading north from this town, on the local custom of playing music from house, to house in order to collect money for a 'scrap dance' - a get-together of locals to celebrate the time of year.
It had been a particularly hard year and money was extremely scarce, so 'the Wren' kept travelling, stopping in farmhouses and barns overnight, until they reached Galway, some 80 miles north of here, where they used what they had collected to pay their passage on one of the 'assisted passage' emigration ships; none of them ever returned to Ireland.   
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sweet Craigie Hills -- where's it from?
From: GUEST,MartinRyan too lazy to login...
Date: 16 Jul 14 - 08:00 AM

@OP:
Haven't listened to Dolores's version but would suspect she may, at some point, sing "... bonny Bann-SIDE"

Regards


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