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Lyr Add: Bacach Siol Andai

Matthew Edwards 08 Jan 02 - 11:08 AM
Paddy Plastique 09 Jan 02 - 09:24 AM
Matthew Edwards 09 Jan 02 - 09:52 AM
Paddy Plastique 10 Jan 02 - 04:38 AM
Brían 11 Jan 02 - 03:35 PM
Matthew Edwards 12 Jan 02 - 12:46 PM
Matthew Edwards 18 Jan 02 - 05:18 AM
Brían 18 Jan 02 - 03:40 PM
Matthew Edwards 18 Jan 02 - 05:40 PM
Brían 18 Jan 02 - 11:46 PM
GUEST,Br?an ?g 31 Oct 17 - 03:39 AM
GUEST,Michael McDonnell 10 May 18 - 03:37 AM
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Subject: Bacach Síol Andaí
From: Matthew Edwards
Date: 08 Jan 02 - 11:08 AM

Bacach Síol Andaí

On the CD Róise na nAmhrán: Songs of a Donegal Woman (RTE CD 178) Róise Bean Mhic Grianna of Arranmore Island sings two verses of the song Bacach Síol Andaí. These were recorded in May 1953 for Radio Éireann by Proinsias Ó Conluain, but earlier in the same year Seán Ó hEochaidh from the Irish Folklore Commission had noted a more complete version from her. The song is said to refer to the landing by Napper Tandy on nearby Rutland Island in 1798.

An raibh tú i dToraigh nó i gCaisleán an Bharraigh,
Nó an bhaca tú an campa a bhí ag na Francaigh?
Mise agus tusa agus eireball na muice,
Agus Bacach Síol Andaí, Bacach Síol Andaí.

Ag gabháil síos Burtonport dó rinneadh an spórt de,
Bacach Síol Andaí, Bacach Síol Andaí,
Ag gabháil soir Poll an Mhadaidh dó cuireadh na madaidh ann,
Bacach Síol Andaí, Bacach Síol Andaí.

Ag gabháil siar Baile an tSratha dó cuireadh an tsrathar air,
Bacach Síol Andaí, Bacach Síol Andaí,
Ag gabháil siar Baile an tSratha dó cuireadh an tsrathar air,
Bacach Síol Andaí, Bacach Síol Andaí.

Ag dul fríd Rinn na Feirste dó briseadh na heasnacha ann,
Bacach Síol Andaí, Bacach Síol Andaí,
Ag dul fríd Rinn na Feirste dó briseadh na heasnacha ann,
Bacach Síol Andaí, Bacach Síol Andaí.

Ag dul sir chun na gCloch Corr dó cuireadh an tóir ar
Bhacach Síol Andaí, Bacach Síol Andaí,
Ag dul siar chun na hUillinne dó cuireadh an deilín ar
Bhacach Síol Andaí, Bacach Síol Andaí.


On their album Crann Úll, Clannad perform a variant of this song under the title Bacach Shile Andai, and song is also known as Mise agus Tusa agus Ruball na Muice, or simply Ruball na Muice – The Pig's Tail. The lyrics used by Clannad seem to refer more to the events surrounding the landing of the French forces at Killala under General Humbert in August 1798, and the subsequent battle known as "The Races of Castlebar," where the British forces ran away from the combined French and Irish force. (The story of this episode has been told by Thomas Kenneally in his novel The Year of the French.)

Bacach Shile Andai

An raibh tu I gCill Alla no Caislean a'Barraigh,
Bhfaca tu campai a bhi ag na Francaigh?

Curfa:
Mise 'gus tusa 'gus ruball na muice 'gus bacach Shil' Andai.

Bhi me I gCill Alla is Caislean a'Barraigh,
Chonaic me campai bhi ag na Francaigh.

Curfa:
Mise 'gus tusa 'gus ruball na muice 'gus bacach Shil' Andai.

An raibh tu ar a chruach no bhaca tu slua,
Bhi ar Chnoc Phadraig, bhi ar Chnoc Phadraig?

Curfa:
Mise 'gus tusa 'gus ruball na muice 'gus bacach Shil' Andai.

A bhi me ar a chruach is chonaic me slua,
A bhi ar Chnoc Phadraig, bhi ar Chnoc Phadraig.

Curfa;
Mise 'gus tusa 'gus ruball na muice 'gus bacach Shil' Andai.


The phrase "Bacach Shile Andai" in this variant of the song seems to have caused some confusion, and it has sometimes been assumed to be a corruption of "Bucky's Highlanders", a Scottish regiment under the command of the Marquis of Buckingham which "retreated" so rapidly at Castlebar.
However in Róise's song it appears to be a reference to Napper Tandy himself, even though his landing at Rutland Island on September 16, 1798 was only very brief; giving him only time to issue a proclamation and distribute green cockades, before counselling withdrawal on learning the news of the defeat of the French force at Ballinamuck on September 8 by Cornwallis.

I'd be grateful for any additional information about this song as well as some help with translation. My apologies for any transcription errors.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Bacach Síol Andaí
From: Paddy Plastique
Date: 09 Jan 02 - 09:24 AM

Sorry about not being much help on the translation - but you're fairly charitable to Napper Tandy in your account. His 'landing' apparently finished with him having to be carried back onto the French ship - as he was too roaring drunk to manage it himself - the last throw of a fairly farcical character all round. My Irish is too bad to even know what a 'bacach' is (a 'tramp'?)- but 'síol Andaí' I'd reckon to be 'of Andy's seed' or 'of the line of Andy'


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Bacach Síol Andaí
From: Matthew Edwards
Date: 09 Jan 02 - 09:52 AM

Yes I've read that story too in Thomas Pakenham's history of 1798, The Year of Liberty. However I've learned not to trust Pakenham too closely, although Tandy's reputation is generally poor. However when he was later captured by the British in Hamburg no less a person than Napoleon Buonaparte insisted on Tandy's release in a clause in the Treaty of Amiens, and on gaining his freedom he was feted as a hero in France.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Bacach Síol Andaí
From: Paddy Plastique
Date: 10 Jan 02 - 04:38 AM

You spotted my source, Matthew, and I'll bow to your assessment of Pakenham's veracity. I've not read much of the recent rash of stuff on '98. Getting out my 'foclóir' last night, I see that a 'bacach' is a 'lame person', a 'beggar' in some cases and generally a 'useless person'. The 'Andaí' I'd guess at being a version of Tandy's surname. The placenames in the 1st version are around Donegal (apart from Castlebar) - so this would make me believe the derision is meant for Tandy not for redcoats. Looks like someone transposed it to Mayo and came up with a version where the redcoats are sneered at. Thanks for the transcripion, anyways.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Bacach Síol Andaí
From: Brían
Date: 11 Jan 02 - 03:35 PM

I have a translation in the liner notes that I got with the RTE CD. I could add them later. I saw an article with a longer version of this song in Treoir from CCE, although the pub where I saw it has long since closed its doors.

The melody Róise sings this to is THE LEG OF A DUCK, which I have heard Kevin conneff of the Cheiftains sing on their Bells of Dublin recording. I heard a recording of Joe Derrane playing the same jig.

I couldn't do any better than Paddy for Bacach Síol Andaí, although it seems to be a derogatory reference to Napper Tandy.

Beidh mé ag caint libh arís,

Brían


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Bacach Síol Andaí
From: Matthew Edwards
Date: 12 Jan 02 - 12:46 PM

Brían, thanks for the Treoir reference; I'll try to track it down, and let you know what I find. I ought to have said at the outset that the song is partially translated in the notes to the CD of Róise's songs, and that the English translation given for the last two verses (which are all that was recorded, or maybe all that survived of the original recording) is as follows:

As he was going through Ranafast, his ribs were broken,
Bacach Síol Andaí, Bacach Síol Andaí,
As he was going through Ranafast, his ribs were broken,
Bacach Síol Andaí, Bacach Síol Andaí.

As he went west to Cloghcor, they set off in pursuit of
Bacach Síol Andaí, Bacach Síol Andaí,
As he went west to Illion, the litany was recited for
Bacach Síol Andaí, Bacach Síol Andaí.

As for Pakenham's account its not so much that I doubt his veracity, but that as he himself admitted in his preface the documentary evidence he used was very heavily drawn from the records on the British side, so that I find it hard to accept some of the statements he makes as being as impartial as he would have us believe.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Bacach Síol Andaí
From: Matthew Edwards
Date: 18 Jan 02 - 05:18 AM

I showed this song to a lecturer from the School of Irish Studies in Liverpool, who consulted one of his colleagues. It seems the song is nonsensical, and partially obscene, (which explains why my little pocket Irish dictionary couldn't cope with it).

More interestingly, it was suggested that the song seems to be a sort of work song, similar to the "waulking songs" of the Hebrides. This category of song is very rare in Irish Gaelic, not necessarily because there were very few in the past, but rather that only a small number have been preserved out of what once may have been an extensive body of song.

If I can get hold of a translation I will add it here.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Bacach Síol Andaí
From: Brían
Date: 18 Jan 02 - 03:40 PM

Did they come up with different verses? I don't see anything particularlly obscene in these verses, except for possibly Poll which can mean sort of hole.

Brían


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Bacach Síol Andaí
From: Matthew Edwards
Date: 18 Jan 02 - 05:40 PM

Brían, actually I have to agree with you that there doesn't appear to be anything obviously obscene - but you know what these academic types are like - they can can find "dirty bits" anywhere!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Bacach Síol Andaí
From: Brían
Date: 18 Jan 02 - 11:46 PM

Ooops, I meant any sort of hole.

I suspect Bacach Síol is not a very flattering expression.

Brían


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Bacach Siol Andai
From: GUEST,Br?an ?g
Date: 31 Oct 17 - 03:39 AM

I can see that I'm coming to this thread 15 years after the rest of ye, but I'm finding this very interesting and I can fill in some of the gaps in the story of the song I think.

Cloch corr, Uillinn, Poll a Mhadaigh and Baile an tSratha are all places on Arranmore island where R?ise lived most of her life, so 'poll' isn't an obscenity or anything, but the name literally means 'hole of the dog'. Burtonport is the nearest port to Arranmore and Rutland. It's interesting that it mentions Rinn na Feirste too, because I didn't know there was any part of Napper Tandy's story based out there.

I find it interesting that it refers to Napper Tandy, because in that case it would be telling a story of everyone beating him up, breaking his ribs, having a litany said for him, setting dogs on him, putting a yoke on him (as in the piece of a harness put over animals to pull a plough), and 'making sport' of him (which I figure must mean hunting him away). They must have really hated him if this was about him.

The Bacach S?ol bit seems like a curse on him alright.

Br?an


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Bacach Siol Andai
From: GUEST,Michael McDonnell
Date: 10 May 18 - 03:37 AM

This is quite a mysterious song and every time I sing it I imagine that the text " gus ruball na muice" might have some connection with Ballnamuck. "ar baile atha na muice' the contraction of the towns name would be in keeping with the rest of the style..... such as Bucky Highlanders etc

The Donegal version seems to include a lot of place names and Ballinamuck was certainly central to the whole French "adventure"
"A pigs tail" seems very vague
"a rabble of Mickeys" even more daft

any takers?


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