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Origins: Bheir Me O / Eriskay Love Lilt - meaning

DigiTrad:
BHEIR ME O


Related threads:
Help! - o cruidh mo cruit - meaning (16)
Lyr Req: Vhair Me Oh / Bheir Me O (14)
Lyr Req: Bheir Mi O (24)


Seany 06 Mar 01 - 08:54 AM
Mark Cohen 06 Mar 01 - 02:49 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 06 Mar 01 - 04:02 PM
GUEST,JTT 06 Mar 01 - 04:06 PM
Seany 08 Mar 01 - 05:50 AM
Sandy Paton 08 Mar 01 - 03:22 PM
GUEST,JTT 08 Mar 01 - 04:53 PM
Áine 08 Mar 01 - 07:04 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 08 Mar 01 - 09:39 PM
GUEST,jo 09 Mar 01 - 05:11 AM
Jimmy C 10 Mar 01 - 12:52 AM
GUEST,Philippa 10 Mar 01 - 02:22 PM
GUEST,zigzag 10 Mar 01 - 08:33 PM
wysiwyg 11 Mar 01 - 08:20 AM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 29 Jul 01 - 04:06 PM
ard mhacha 29 Jul 01 - 04:46 PM
mbridgham 30 Jul 01 - 02:33 AM
Mark Cohen 30 Jul 01 - 10:52 PM
GUEST,JTT 31 Jul 01 - 04:07 PM
bradfordian 22 May 03 - 07:56 AM
sheila 22 May 03 - 09:35 AM
GUEST,Bradfordian 22 May 03 - 10:51 AM
Mrs.Duck 12 Jul 03 - 07:05 AM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 12 Jul 03 - 03:17 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 12 Jul 03 - 03:47 PM
Felipa 13 Jul 03 - 08:56 AM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 13 Jul 03 - 09:04 AM
GUEST,HughM 17 Jul 03 - 08:07 AM
GUEST,HughM 17 Jul 03 - 08:16 AM
GUEST,vivsings 13 Mar 06 - 04:53 AM
GUEST 13 Mar 06 - 04:59 AM
GUEST 13 Mar 06 - 10:43 AM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 13 Mar 06 - 02:15 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 13 Mar 06 - 02:43 PM
An Buachaill Caol Dubh 20 May 09 - 10:47 AM
GUEST,jackbyondtheseas 09 Jun 09 - 03:57 AM
GUEST,Phil. 09 Jun 09 - 11:17 AM
Dave Rado 08 Sep 15 - 05:51 PM
Tattie Bogle 08 Sep 15 - 08:22 PM
GUEST 08 Sep 15 - 10:07 PM
GUEST,leeneia 09 Sep 15 - 01:01 AM
Felipa 14 Feb 17 - 07:46 AM
Mr Red 14 Feb 17 - 07:51 AM
Felipa 14 Feb 17 - 08:34 AM
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Subject: bheir me o - meaning
From: Seany
Date: 06 Mar 01 - 08:54 AM

Does anyone know what the Irish phrase, 'bheir me o' means from the song of the same title ?


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Subject: RE: Help: bheir me o - meaning
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 06 Mar 01 - 02:49 PM

Seany, I will look in my Gordon Bok songbook tonight and then post what I can find. I believe it's a song he learned from his Irish aunt, who I think shared my last name.

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: Help: bheir me o - meaning
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 06 Mar 01 - 04:02 PM

I'm assuming it's the Scottish Gaelic song, Gradh Geal Mo Chridh', which has a chorus starting "Bheir Mi O Hu O". They're there as a vocable. Not meaning anything in particulary. If you want, (assuming they DO mean something), in Scottish Gaelic, "Bheir Mi O" would be "I bore/carried from".

Gradh Geal Mo Chridh'
Also known as the Eriskay Love Lilt (title given by Marjery Kennedy-Fraser)


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Subject: RE: Help: bheir me o - meaning
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 06 Mar 01 - 04:06 PM

"Carry me from"


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Subject: RE: Help: bheir me o - meaning
From: Seany
Date: 08 Mar 01 - 05:50 AM

Thanks,

I am not sure which is the right answer !

"carry me from" - is that from the Irish. Does the verb Beir mean to carry ? I have had a quick search and I believe it means 'to catch' in the imperfect tense.

I used to catch from ?????


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Subject: RE: Help: bheir me o - meaning
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 08 Mar 01 - 03:22 PM

I've noticed that a lot of the songs Gordon learned from his family came to them by way of the Kennedy-Fraser collection. Bheir Me O (Eriskay Love Lilt) being one of them.

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Help: bheir me o - meaning
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 08 Mar 01 - 04:53 PM

Beir is one of those words in Irish that has several meanings, depending on its context.

Actually, I'm looking at the words in "Croch Suas E" now, and they're:

Bheir mí óró, bhean ó
Bheir mí óró, bhean í
Bheir mí óró, bhean ó hó
Is mé tá bhrónach is tú i m'dhith

Now, this sounds like Northern Irish to me - maybe Donegal, or maybe one of those places in Down or Antrim where some Irish remains. I mean, I'd always thought the last line was "Is mé atá brónach, is tú i mo dhiadh", meaning "I am the sorrowful one, and you left behind me", whereas if the version here is correct, it's "I am the sorrowful one, while I lack you".

The next verse, "Is iomaí oíche..." translates as "Many's the night, cold and wet , I made a visit, and I on my own; Or that I came into this place, Where was the bright love of my bosom".

And the verse after that (I mo chláirseach...) means: "in my harp there was no music, in my... there was no spirit; or since you somethinged you your secret and i got knowledge of my poem". Of course, both "secret" and (unusually) "poem" can be used to mean "darling", so we're no further than we were. I give up. Maybe someone more knowledgeable of the particular song and dialect can help here.


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Subject: Lyr Add: BHEIR MÍ Ó
From: Áine
Date: 08 Mar 01 - 07:04 PM

Bheir Mí Ó

Curfá:
Bheir mí óró, bhean ó
Bheir mí óró, ó bhean í
Bheir mí óró ó hó
Tá mé brónach 's tú i m'dhith

'S iomaí oíche fliuch is fuar
Thug mé cuairt is mé liom féin
Nó go ráinig mé san áit
Mar a raibh grá geal mó chléibh

Curfá

I mo chláirseach ní raibh ceol
I mo mheoraibh ní raibh brí
Nó gur luaigh tú do rún
'S fuair mé eolas ar mo dhán

Curfá


I've Gone Away

Chorus:
I've gone away, oh dear one
I've gone away, oh dear one
I've gone away
I'm miserable and missing you

Many's the cold and wet night
I went out traveling on my own
Until I reached the place
Where the love of my heart lived

Chorus

There was no music in my harp
There was no strength in my fingers
Until you told me of your love
And I found my poem

Chorus


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Subject: RE: Help: bheir me o - meaning
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 08 Mar 01 - 09:39 PM

Aine, you're a wonder! I've loved this song for years, even sang it with Bridgit Fitzgerald, but never saw them written down! Thanks!


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Subject: RE: Help: bheir me o - meaning
From: GUEST,jo
Date: 09 Mar 01 - 05:11 AM

i was taught a different, perhaps looser, translation of the verses when i was young

when I'm lonely, dear white heart
black the night, or wild the sea
by love's light my foot finds
the old pathway to thee

thou'rt the music of my heart
harp of joy, oh cruidh ma chridh
moon of guidance by night
strength and light, thou'rt to me

(note i cant remember the spelling for the gaelic bit!)
i learnt the chorus phonetically, the final line changing to
sad am I without thee

it's all very pretty really...
jo


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Subject: RE: Help: bheir me o - meaning
From: Jimmy C
Date: 10 Mar 01 - 12:52 AM

Guest JTT, here is the translation as I know it. Similar to Aine's but with a different last line.

Bheir Mí Ó

Curfá: Bheir mí óró, bhean ó Bheir mí óró, ó bhean í Bheir mí óró ó hó Tá mé brónach 's tú i m'dhith

'S iomaí oíche fliuch is fuar Thug mé cuairt is mé liom féin Nó go ráinig mé san áit Mar a raibh grá geal mó chléibh

Curfá

I mo chláirseach ní raibh ceol I mo mheoraibh ní raibh brí Nó gur luaigh tú do rún 'S fuair mé eolas ar mo dhán

Curfá

I've Gone Away

Chorus: I've gone away, oh dear one I've gone away, oh dear one I've gone away Sad am I at losing you

Many a night both wet and cold
I wandered by myself
Until I came to this place
Wherein dwelt the love of my heart

Chorus

In my harp there was no music
In my fingers there was no power
Until you announced your intention
And I got to know my destiny

slan

Jimmy


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Subject: RE: Help: bheir me o - meaning
From: GUEST,Philippa
Date: 10 Mar 01 - 02:22 PM

The Irish version of the song is from Rathlin Island, off the north coast, between Ireland and Scotland.


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Subject: RE: Help: bheir me o - meaning
From: GUEST,zigzag
Date: 10 Mar 01 - 08:33 PM

Guest jo, the translation you've written is what I learned and it is the translation that Marjorie Kennedy-Fraser published. I haven't heard the other translation before. Either version is pretty but the one I'm not familiar with has more syllables to bung into the tune, I like it simpler.


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Subject: RE: Help: bheir me o - meaning
From: wysiwyg
Date: 11 Mar 01 - 08:20 AM

Bert had said he had an English version of this in a mislaid songbook. Maybe he'll have another angle.

Our Seamus Kennedy has a WONDERFUL version of it in Gaelic on one of his CDs. Maybe he will wander in and say more as well-- I believe he is out on the road right now all gigged up as The Holiday approaches.

I would like to have as much in singable English as possible-- if anyone has more verses, pile 'em on! But just the translation is a huge help-- from that, singable verses could be adapted.

Can't wait to sing this over the sweep of the autoharp. Maybe I won't bother... maybe just the tune, from Hardiman's fiddle, will be better. Then we could get Aine to sing with us and.... yup... mm hmm.... yes... I can hear it now.... add a quiet bodhran player, and actually we know one...

~S~


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Subject: RE: Help: bheir me o - meaning
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 29 Jul 01 - 04:06 PM

My favourite version of the song is from Ishbel MacAskill. I just don't like the last verse she sings. 8-) I like the ending on Arthur Cormack's version.

I've got them all at my page for the song.

http://www.geocities.com/george_seto.geo/gradh.html

One of these days, I'm going to have to combine them, and make it into one complete song.


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Subject: RE: Help: bheir me o - meaning
From: ard mhacha
Date: 29 Jul 01 - 04:46 PM

I have many recordings of this beautiful song. A great favourite in the north of Ireland, singers as diverse as Paul Robeson Mary O`Hara and Nana Mouskori have done justice to this song. Paul and Nana sang Guest Jo`s version. Slan Ard Mhacha.


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Subject: RE: Help: bheir me o - meaning
From: mbridgham
Date: 30 Jul 01 - 02:33 AM

This is a translation from an American Revels production , arranged by a George Emlen. I can't vouch for the accuracy. The Gaelic tracks with the chorus and one verse as Aine transcribed it in the earlier post.

chorus: Thou art the music of my heart Harp of Joy, cruit mo chroi Moon of guidance by night Strength and light thou art to me

In the morning, when I go To the bright and shining sea In the calling of the sea Thy soft calling to me

MarcB


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Subject: RE: Help: bheir me o - meaning
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 30 Jul 01 - 10:52 PM

That's the way Gordon Bok sings it, except he says "In the calling of the seal" -- Gordon has a special fondness for seals as spirits of the sea, so that may be his emendation. I believe he says he got the words from his aunt, Beano Cohen -- no relation!

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: Help: bheir me o - meaning
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 31 Jul 01 - 04:07 PM

Thing is, beir is one of those verbs, like bain, that varies its meaning according to its context - the words that are around it. For example the toast: "Go mbeirimid beo ar an am seo aris", which kind of means "That we may cling closely to life until the next time we meet like this".


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Subject: RE: Help: bheir me o - meaning
From: bradfordian
Date: 22 May 03 - 07:56 AM

Just one other minor query. One of those things which has been ticking over for some time.

In my choir we sing a 1942 TTBB arrangement, and "Bheir me o" is given as the gaelic, but the pronunction is given as "Vair me o" which is what we sing. But in the folk clubs it is sung "BHEIR me o" Is the old sheet music correct --for 1942/for now?

Brad


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Subject: RE: Help: bheir me o - meaning
From: sheila
Date: 22 May 03 - 09:35 AM

Brad -
In Gaelic, 'bh' is pronounced like the English 'v'.


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Subject: RE: Help: bheir me o - meaning
From: GUEST,Bradfordian
Date: 22 May 03 - 10:51 AM

Thank you Sheila.
So whereas we sing the "Gaelic" chorus part, we anglophiles should be singing "vaire" and NOT with a hard "B". The so called "folk process" should not be an excuse for laziness and slovenliness. I think "vaire" sounds better, besides Bheir me o(in english)seems to me to imply some sort of undressing!
Hmmm, now that could be interesting!

Brad


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Subject: RE: Help: bheir me o - meaning
From: Mrs.Duck
Date: 12 Jul 03 - 07:05 AM

I have always sung the chorus as 'Vair' but never actually knew what I was singing so now I do. Would love to learn the whole song in Gaelic - where would be the best place to look for correct pronunciation?


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Subject: RE: Help: bheir me o - meaning
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 12 Jul 03 - 03:17 PM

Mrs Duck.
I would recommend that you purchase one of two recordings with this song on it.

Ishbell MacAskill's Sioda
 
Arthur MacCormack's Ruith Na Gaoith


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Subject: RE: Help: bheir me o - meaning
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 12 Jul 03 - 03:47 PM

Arthur Cormack and Ishbel MacAskill's versions of this song are the two best versions I have ever heard.

Ishbel's version ends with a sad verse. Arthur's ending verse is a lot more hopeful. The first two lines of it go - Although we are not wed, I am hopeful that we will be.

Check out both versions if you like.


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Subject: RE: Help: bheir me o - meaning
From: Felipa
Date: 13 Jul 03 - 08:56 AM

although I would agree with George's recommendations, note that this version of the song has some different words and a different air than the most familiar version of the "Eriskay Love Lilt"

the familiar form of the song may be (I'm not sure) on "Karaoke Ceilidh" tape and booklet published by CLI (Comunn an Luchd-Ionnsachaidh - Gaelic learners' association). I don't care for the keyboard accompaniament on the tape, but it's a useful tool for learning songs as the lyrics are both spoken and sung for you.
direct link for purchase

here's one of several sites with advice on sources for learning Scottish Gaelic


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Subject: RE: Help: bheir me o - meaning
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 13 Jul 03 - 09:04 AM

The version of the tune on Ishbel and Arthur's recordings is arguably the older form of the tune. I like it much better than the "familiar" one, which has been suggested to be Marjorie Kennedy-Fraser's interpretation of the tune she collected.


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Subject: RE: Help: bheir me o - meaning
From: GUEST,HughM
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 08:07 AM

I got the translation and lyrics of "Ruith na Gaoith" from the record company, and "Bheir mi O",in the chorus of Gradh Geal Mo Chridh, is not translated. Therefore I am inclined to agree that these words are just vocables.


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Subject: RE: Help: bheir me o - meaning
From: GUEST,HughM
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 08:16 AM

Must have hit the wrong key. I meant to say that I have a textbook which gives the past tense of "beir" as "rug". The future is "beiridh" in the affirmative and "cha bheir" in the negative. "Bheir" by itself is given as the future tense of "thoir", meaning give, take, or bring. (Negative cha toir.) Therefore if "Bheir mi O" meant anything it would be something like "I will bring from".


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Subject: Help: - o cruit mo cruidh
From: GUEST,vivsings
Date: 13 Mar 06 - 04:53 AM

Hope I have spelled this correctly? Can anyone help me with the meaning of this?


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Subject: RE: Help: bheir me o - meaning
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Mar 06 - 04:59 AM

Can anyone help me with the words "o cruidh mo cruit" - can't find the meaning anywhere.


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Subject: RE: Help: bheir me o - meaning
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Mar 06 - 10:43 AM

I suppose that should be "o chruidh [?] mo chruit" mo cruit = my harp
cruit = harp


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Subject: RE: Help: bheir me o - meaning
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 13 Mar 06 - 02:15 PM

Guest, it might be easier if you created a NEW thread with the name of the song in the Subject.

Also, if you already have the words, and just want the meaning, why don't you put the words in the new thread, and see if someone can help then.

Personally, I don't know the song or have the words. Can't seem to find them quickly on the net.


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Subject: RE: Help: bheir me o - meaning
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 13 Mar 06 - 02:43 PM

"cruidh ma chridh" - BTW, If you're taking the lines from Guest, Jo's translation back in 2001, I think it's "hard is my heart" Cridhe = heart in Scottish Gaelic, Irish Gaelic should be similar.


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Subject: RE: Help: bheir me o - meaning
From: An Buachaill Caol Dubh
Date: 20 May 09 - 10:47 AM

Sad are we without thee...


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Subject: RE: Help: bheir me o - meaning
From: GUEST,jackbyondtheseas
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 03:57 AM

I came here looking for the meaning of "Cush mo cree" which is written (and pronounced) in various forms in the well known Scottish Song: the Eriskay Love Lilt.
As a child in Scotland I was told that much of the untranslated Gaelic was untranslateable because it was "mouth music" meaning non-sense words or syllables to keep the tune "usually for dancing"

"Cruidh mo Chridh" may be 'hard is my heart' but the english words before it suggests its "harp of my heart"

Hwatever, its still a very haunting song.


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Subject: RE: Help: bheir me o - meaning
From: GUEST,Phil.
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 11:17 AM

I believe the Irish version is simply a translation from the Scottish, so translations should be based on the Scottish verses. Although "bheir mé ó" is translatable, I think this is just a coincidence and that in this case we are dealing with vocables

isn't the line translated about the harp, "I mo chláirseach/clársach ní raibh ceol" - there was no music in my harp
for a different line I would go along with crua/cruidh (not cruit), hard is my heart

clársach is a word for harp -- as is cruit. Had an interesting discussion about cruit with Lorcan Mac Mathúna. Cruit is a hunchback, and from that, the appearance of a wandering minstrel carrying a small harp on his back


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Subject: Origins: Eriskay Love Lilt
From: Dave Rado
Date: 08 Sep 15 - 05:51 PM

Several questions:

1) According to some other mudcaat threads, such as this one, the Gaelic parts of the chorus of the Eriskay Love Lilt (in the English translation) are actually mouth music and are meaningless. But another site I found here claims the Gaelic words of the chorus can be translated as:

I am wet and
I am cold
I am on my own

So which is right? And if the Gaelic isn't meaningless, any ideas why the English translation left most of the chorus in Gaelic? Was it just that the translator couldn't think of a poetic translation for that section, whereas for the rest of the song they could?


2) According to several mudcat threads such as this one, "Cruit Mo Chridh'" means "Harp of My Heart". So again, any ideas why the English translation keeps those words in Gaelic rather than translating them? Was it again because they couldn't think of a way to make the translation work poetically, in the context of the rest of the verse?


3) I can't find anywhere that states who the translator was. It was collected by Marjory Kennedy-Fraser but was she also the translator? Or did Kenneth MacLeod translate it? Or someone else?


4) In another mudcat thread here, George Seto writes:

"Note, the older tune is what I sing it to, not the one commonly known as the Eriskay Love Lilt in English. I unfortunately have no easy way of imparting the tune to you, BUT, I would recommend two artists who sing it in the older fashion".

This seems to me to imply that Marjory Kennedy Fraser didn't really collect the tune at all, that she only collected the Gaelic words, which she translated or had translated - and that she ignored the traditional tune entirely and made up a new tune for it, which she then published and which has stuck. Is that really what happened?

Dave


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Subject: RE: Origins: Eriskay Love Lilt
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 08 Sep 15 - 08:22 PM

I would discount the Wren Music version: The phonetic version is nothing like what I have learned (having done a few years of trying to learn Gaelic).
Marjory Kennedy Fraser generally put her own words to those songs she "collected" - mostly they are NOT direct translations. But to give her her due, my Scottish mother - a non-Gaelic-speaker, used to sing her songs, and that did lead me to having an interest in genuine and original Gaelic songs.
Some of the links on those older threads no longer work, so here is Ishbel Macaskill, sadly taken from us too soon with the song that might have led to the MKF version of Eriskay Love Lilt: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfDtTHC8BoY


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Subject: RE: Origins: Eriskay Love Lilt
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Sep 15 - 10:07 PM

If you go to the School of Scottish Studies etc. tapes, you will find recordings of the Gaelic version that supposedly spawned the 'Eriskay Love Lilt. This is an on-line archive that you can listen to.   I don't hear much of the Kennedy-Fraser tune in the unaccompanied Gaelic recordings they cite.   Kennedy-Fraser is supposed to have heard it about 1910, being sung by a young girl. Perhaps she caught on to something and altered it in memory.   The site is called 'Kist o' Riches'.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Eriskay Love Lilt
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 09 Sep 15 - 01:01 AM

Thank you for that link, Tatie Bogle. Beautiful singing and beautiful photography!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bheir Me O / Eriskay Love Lilt
From: Felipa
Date: 14 Feb 17 - 07:46 AM

I did a search for Eriskay Love Lilt on Tobar an Dualchais/ Kist of Riches site and came up with some Gaelic language recordings including http://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/fullrecord/48944/1 (singer Mòrag Dhonnchaidh aka Marion MacInnes, recorded in Eriskay, 1950)
"This is the original version of the song which Mrs Kennedy Fraser later adapted, and named as the 'Eriskay Love Lilt'. "
Kennedy-Fraser's life span = 1 October 1857 – 22 November 1930, but Mòrag Dhonnchaidh was born 1890, so she may have accurately been able to say that her version was the same as what M K-F would have heard.

More modern recordings (you can find lyrics and translations at Celtic Lyrics corner) Ishbel MacAskill on youtube
Lyrics - see http://www.celticlyricscorner.net/macaskill/gradh.htm
Art Cormack on ITunes
http://www.celticlyricscorner.net/cormack/gradh.htm

Interesting blog, published bilingually http://www.seaboardgaidhlig.com/2016/11/10/2016-an-t-samhain-gradh-geal-mo-chridh-eriskay-love-lilt-am-mod-nov-2016/

There is a different song which the Kist of Riches/Tobar an Dualchais notes say "The air to this song is the same as that of the popularised 'Eriskay Love Lilt'" recorded in the Isle of Lewis in 1964 from singer Jessie MacKenzie
http://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/en/fullrecord/58786/6


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bheir Me O / Eriskay Love Lilt - meaning
From: Mr Red
Date: 14 Feb 17 - 07:51 AM

<HUMOUR ALERT>
Following a request for suggestions for a tour/song set of unrequited/requited love songs, I offered:

"A risky Love Lilt"





I'll get my coat........


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bheir Me O / Eriskay Love Lilt - meaning
From: Felipa
Date: 14 Feb 17 - 08:34 AM

regarding a phrase disputed earlier in this thread, it should be be "cruit mo chridh'", harp of my heart. http://www.itma.ie/digitallibrary/book/29215-sm - digital copy of arrangement and English language adaptation by Marjorie Kennedy-Fraser with Gaelic verses supplied by Kenneth MacLeod.


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Mudcat time: 20 April 5:16 AM EDT

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