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

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CRAIGIE HILL


Related thread:
Chord Req: Craigie Hill (10)


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
GUEST,Phil Edwards 11 Mar 19 - 03:15 PM
GUEST,RA 11 Mar 19 - 04:06 PM
Joe Offer 29 Apr 20 - 08:19 PM
GUEST,Starship 29 Apr 20 - 08:50 PM
An Buachaill Caol Dubh 29 Apr 20 - 10:47 PM
Phil Edwards 18 Mar 21 - 06:22 PM
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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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Subject: RE: Origins: Sweet Craigie Hills -- where's it from?
From: GUEST,Phil Edwards
Date: 11 Mar 19 - 03:15 PM

Just a belated reply to Jim - I sang this at a singaround last night, and was struck once again by (as Jim says) its "mixture of despair and hope".

"The landlords and their agents,
The bailiffs and their beagles
The land of our forefathers we are forced to give o'er"

The quiet brutality of that reference to people being, literally, hounded out of their homes always gets to me - and the contrast with the way the song moves on to the hope-against-hope of being "happy as Queen Victoria" once the singer reaches America.

Incidentally, I sang it in response to Zoe Mulford's self-written song on the same subject, American Wake, which I can recommend - it's a superficially cheerful, upbeat song with some very dark depths.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sweet Craigie Hills -- where's it from?
From: GUEST,RA
Date: 11 Mar 19 - 04:06 PM

I would love to hear Brigid Tunney singing this, having heard other recordings of her wonderful singing. Is there anywhere on a commercial release or online where people can hear Brigid singing this particular song?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sweet Craigie Hills -- where's it from?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 Apr 20 - 08:19 PM

refresh for more research


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sweet Craigie Hills -- where's it from?
From: GUEST,Starship
Date: 29 Apr 20 - 08:50 PM

To GUEST.RA

If you go to YouTube and enter her name

Brigid Tunney

You will have many to choose from.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sweet Craigie Hills -- where's it from?
From: An Buachaill Caol Dubh
Date: 29 Apr 20 - 10:47 PM

A wee bit more "research", then, though not specifically/only for"Craigie Hill"; the word "beagle" was actually a term for, well, bailiffs or similar agents (Robert Burns in one of his letters - 1780s rather than 1790s - refers to the Kirk Session as "the Holy Beagles"). Nevertheless, the thought of "literally hounding" people from the places "where born and reared [they'd] been" is of course entirely appropriate, and whereas the majority of a modern audience will most likely imagine exactly such a scene, I'm pretty sure a contemporary one would have appreciated the poet's parallel.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sweet Craigie Hills -- where's it from?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 18 Mar 21 - 06:22 PM

Thanks, An B. C. D. - so the lines are

"The landlords and their agents - their bailiffs and their beagles -"

not (as I'd always thought)

"The landlords and their agents, the bailiffs and their beagles".

Good to know. And, as you say, if you assume that everyone involved was human it doesn't actually reduce the brutality of the scene by much.


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