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Lyr Add: A' Bhean Eudach / Thig am bata

GUEST,Philippa 21 Jun 02 - 05:53 AM
Malcolm Douglas 21 Jun 02 - 07:56 AM
GUEST,Philippa 21 Jun 02 - 08:25 AM
GUEST,Philippa 21 Jun 02 - 09:08 AM
Aodh 05 Feb 05 - 08:28 PM
Aodh 05 Feb 05 - 08:35 PM
Aodh 07 Feb 05 - 01:17 PM
GUEST,Philippa 08 Feb 05 - 04:39 AM
Aodh 08 Feb 05 - 11:56 AM
maple_leaf_boy 07 Oct 10 - 09:32 PM
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Subject: A' Bhean Eudach / THIG AM BATA
From: GUEST,Philippa
Date: 21 Jun 02 - 05:53 AM

There are many versions of this song. I am posting the version recorded by Eilidh Mackenzie on "Eideadh na Sgeulachd – the raiment of the tale" simply because Ciarili had already typed it out on computer disc and I had only to add line breaks and diacritical marks. You will find most of these verses and a bit more at 'alltandubh'(click on the T for a list of songs beginning with that letter). The version there has different vocables, "àill i ó" & "hai ó" so perhaps it is sung to a different air; the site is Canadian based so it might present a version that is sung in Canada? This song has been collected in the the islands of the Uists and Skye and in northern counties of Ireland. I'm not sure where else it's been collected in Scotland. But although Eilidh Mackenzie and Christine Primrose, both of Lewis, have recorded it and Lewis men Domhnaill Ruadh, Iain Mac a' Ghobhain and Norman Malcolm MacDonald have made a film (A' Bhean Eudach) and a play (A' Bhean Iadach) based on the song and story; Christine Primrose told me that this is not a Lewis song and that she learned it out of a book.

The song is that of a drowning woman, in dialogue with the jealous woman who will not rescue her. A story is told about the song, and this story is much the same in Scotland and in Ireland. The woman who drowned was a married women with young children. The jealous woman (a' bhean eudach/iadach) was either a neighbour or a servant of the married woman. They were out on the strand at low tide gathering seaweed and shellfish. They sat down to rest and the jealous woman combed the other woman's hair. The married woman fell asleep, the jealous woman entangled her hair with the seaweed, and when the tide came, the married woman was trapped. She sang this song, and it is said that the jealous woman got away with her crime and took the other woman's place until one day the husband overheard her singing the drowned woman's song as a lullabye to the baby.
You can read a good rendition of the song – in Gaelic with full English translation - in Margaret Fay Shaw, "Songs of South Uist", which was reprinted in 1999. Shaw also includeds sheet music, lyrics and translation of the song.

I am interested in learning more about how the song has been associated with specific places where people say the event occurred. I have a photocpy of a manuscript which says "The people of South Uist say the scene of this is at Aird a' Mhachar, S. Uist while the people of mnorth say that the scene of the poem is at…" Alas, the second place name is completely illegible. (I don't know the author of the ms, but will ask the person who lent me the photocopy)
In an article in "An Gaidheal", March 1927, Alexander Nicolson says that the story is said to concern "Nighean Dhomhnuill Rhiabhaich" and that she drowned at Eilean [island] Tioram near Skye. There is skerry named "Sgeir Ni'n Dhomh'uill Rhiabhaich", and it is common to name these rocks after tragedies which occurred at them. "Caisteal [Castle] Thioram" is mentioned in a Uist version quoted in KC Craig, ed "Orain Luaidh Màiri Nighean Alasdair", Glasgow, 1949.

Titles of versions of this song include A' Bhean Eudach, A' Bhean Iadach, Bean Mhic a' Mhaoir, Bean Mhic a' tSaoir, Bean Ga Bàthadh, A' Bhean Ud(aí) Thall (there are also 2 other, different songs with that title). In versions called "Thig am Bàta", the song starts off with the boat coming to find the drowned woman; in other versions these verses are at the end of the song.

Recordings include (Scottish) Flora McNeill, Eilidh McKenzie, Christine Primrose (Irish) Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin, Altan, Neilí Ní Dhomhnaill, Jimmy Meehan

RTE (Radió Teilifis Éireann) cassette and book "Scéalamhráin" has both Irish and Scottish versions, including the one sung by Neilí Ní Dhomhnaill which was souped up by Altan.

Thig am bàta

Thig am bàta, hug-o
Moch a-maireach, hug-o
Bidh m'athair innte, hi ri o ro
'S mo thriùir bhràithrean, hug-o

'S mo chéile donn, hug-o
Air ràmh braghad, hug-o
'S gheibh iad mise, hi ri o ro
Air mo bhàthadh, hug-o

'S togaidh iad mi,…
Air na ràmhan,…
'S mo bhreacan donn, …
Snàmh na fairge,…

Cha b'e 'n t-acras
Chuir do'n tràigh mi
Ach miann an duilisg
'S miann nam bàirneach

' Fhir ud thall
Falbh na tràghad
Soraidh bhuam-sa
Gu mo mhathair

O mo mhallachd
Aig bean iadaich
Dh'fhàg i mise
'San sgeir-bhàite

Thig am bàta
Moch a-màireach
'S gheibh iad mise
Air mo bhàthadh

Translation
The boat will come
early tomorrow
My father will be on board
and my brothers three

and my brown-haired sweetheart
will be at the forward oar
and they will find me drowned
already drowned

and they will lift me
on the oars
with my brown plaid
swimming in the ocean

It was not hunger
that sent me to the shore
but a desire for dulse
and a desire for limpets

You, man over there
walking on the shore
say farewell for me
to my mother

O my curse
on the jealous woman
she left me
on a submerged reef

The boat will come tomorrow
early tomorrow
and they will find me
already drowned


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: A' Bhean Eudach / THIG AM BATA
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 21 Jun 02 - 07:56 AM

The set Christine Primrose sings is a shortened version of that noted by Frances Tolmie from Mrs. Hector MacKenzie of Dunvegan, Skye, in 1862. Miss Tolmie published it in The Journal of the Folk Song Society, vol.IV, issue 16, 1911, which was devoted entirely to her One Hundred and Five Songs of Occupation from the Western Isles of Scotland. As printed, the song ran to thirty stanzas. A second tune, with one verse, was also given; this from Miss Tolmie's own memory, "Remembered from early youth in Minginish, Skye, 1854." This verse was also incorporated into the recording made by Christine with Alison Kinnaird (The Quiet Tradition, Temple Records COMD 2041, 1990). Christine can't have got the song directly from the Journal, though, as the notes say, "We had no tune for the middle section" [i.e., Frances Tolmie's verse] "so Christine composed the melody for the verse which links the two parts of the song."

Miss Tolmie didn't have any comments to make about reputed locations for the action.

A transcription of Flora MacNeill's version (A Bhean Iadach), which she learned from her mother, appears in Peter Kennedy's Folksongs of Britain and Ireland. Kennedy cites a number of published sets; mostly from Scotland, but including two found in Nova Scotia.

Previous discussion:   An Bhean Udaí Thall


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: A' Bhean Eudach / THIG AM BATA
From: GUEST,Philippa
Date: 21 Jun 02 - 08:25 AM

thanks for further info, Malcolm. An Irish version is at the other thread; anyone who wishes to add Irish lyrics should use the link to An Bhean Udaí thall


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: A' Bhean Eudach / THIG AM BATA
From: GUEST,Philippa
Date: 21 Jun 02 - 09:08 AM

correction to end of second section of my first message, "You can read a good rendition of the song " should read "You can read a good rendition of the story" (both song and story are in Margaret Fay Shaw's book.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: A' Bhean Eudach / THIG AM BATA
From: Aodh
Date: 05 Feb 05 - 08:28 PM

Hello Philipa!

Dont get much of a chance to get on here these days! but anyway!

Aird a Mhachair is in the north end of South Uist in the parish of Iochdar. The village sits on a headland of machair between the atlantic on the west and the wide Loch Bee of the swans to the east. Its the end of the road type of place. Althouth there are the long atlantic beaches on either side the headland does have some rocks around it. Its interesting to note that that area came in to the news a few weeks ago when a family were tragicly killed when the rising tide and flood waters swept the parents, children and grandfarther out to sea. The land around there is very flat, and to get from there to Iochdar you have to pass over a low bridge over the very narrow mouth of Loch Bee.

As for the song A'Bhean Eudach, I was told that the bad lass was the poor victims sister, who was jealous of her. The song is the drowning womans lamment for her husband and child, whom she was leaving behind. It is also said that the Husband heard the song in a waking dream as his wife was drowning, a very South Uist twist I may add. The Bad sister was found out when He heard her sinning it to his son.

One last thing you may find interesting, Before the latter half of the 20c there was a lot of movement between Skye and South Uist, A ferry sailed from Dunvegan in Skye to Loch Sgioport on Uist. And a lot of people from Skye came out to Uist in the 19th C, including my mothers grandmothers family, who had been running the farm at Glen Brittle for MacLoad of Talisker. The trend died a bit when the ferry moved to Uig (Skye) to Loch Maddy (North Uist)

Hope you find this interesting.

Aodh.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: A' Bhean Eudach / THIG AM BATA
From: Aodh
Date: 05 Feb 05 - 08:35 PM

Oh meant to add, Loch Sgioport is a little south east of Iochdar!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: A' Bhean Eudach / THIG AM BATA
From: Aodh
Date: 07 Feb 05 - 01:17 PM


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: A' Bhean Eudach / THIG AM BATA
From: GUEST,Philippa
Date: 08 Feb 05 - 04:39 AM

Tha mi toilichte cluintinn bhuat a-ríthist!

Thanks for those details, Aodh and Malcolm. I don't recall the bit about the husband hearing the song first in a dream. That would clarify how he understood the import of the song when he heard a' Bhean Eudach singing it as a lullaby.

I wonder do the stories about the jealous woman being a sister of the drowned woman go far back or have they started from folklorists and collectors making a connection with this song and the Child Ballad 10, the 2 sisters? The collected stories that are published refer to the jealous woman either as a neighbour or as a servant of the married woman, but nowadays it is common for singers to say that the women were sisters. I think this is a relatively new version of the story, but I can't be sure for instance that Aodh didn't hear this tale from his granny who heard it from her granny who ...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: A' Bhean Eudach / THIG AM BATA
From: Aodh
Date: 08 Feb 05 - 11:56 AM

Hello folks,

Sadly not from my Granny, but from a cousin that knows about such folklore. I suppose looking at the song above, there is little to show they were sisters, the poor drowning woman would have made a point about that. And there is nothing mentioned about their relationship, othere than the jealous woman leaving her there to drown.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: A' Bhean Eudach / THIG AM BATA
From: maple_leaf_boy
Date: 07 Oct 10 - 09:32 PM

The Julie Fowlis version is a little different.

Thig am bàta àill iò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

Moch a-màireach haoi ò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

Bidh m'athair innte àill iò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

'so mo thriùir bhràithrean haoi ò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

Mo chèile donn àill iò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

air ràmh bràghad haoi ò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

Gheibh iad mise àill iò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

air mo bhàthadh haoi ò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

Togaidh iad mi àill iò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

air na ràmhan haoi ò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

Mo thrusgan donn àill iò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

Snàmh na fairge haoi ò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

Mo chuailean donn àill iò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

Am measg nan carraigean haoi ò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

Mo bhroids airgid àill iò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

Am measg nan gainmheach haoi ò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

Cha b'e 'n t-acras àill iò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

chuir dhan tràigh mi haoi ò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

Miann an duileasg àill iò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

miann nam bàirneach haoi ò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

Sòraidh eile àill iò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

gu mo phàistean haoi ò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

Fear dhiubh bliadhna àill iò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

fear a dhà dhiubh haoi ò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

A'fear bliadhna àill iò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

nach eil làidir haoi ò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

Dh'fhàg mi e àill iò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

as a' chùlaist haoi ò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

Iarraidh e a-nochd àill iò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

cìoch a mhàthar haoi ò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

Ma dh'iarr chan fhaigh e àill iò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

ach sùgan sàile haoi ò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

O mo mhollachd àill iò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

Aig bean eudaich haoi ò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

Dh'fhàg i mise àill iò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

San sgeir bhàthte haoi ò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

Thig am bàta àill iò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

moch a-màireach haoi ò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

Gheibh iad mise àill iò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

air mo bhàthadh. haoi ò
Ro àilleagan àill iò, haoi ò
Ro àilleagan àill iò



English:
The boat will come, àill iò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

Early tomorrow haoi ò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

My father will be on board and my three brothers àill iò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

My brown-haired husband at the breast-oar haoi ò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

They'll find me drowned àill iò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

They will lift me up on the oars haoi ò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

My brown cloak swimming in the sea àill iò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

My brown locks among the carageen haoi ò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

My silver broch among the sand àill iò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

It wasn't hunger that sent me to the shore haoi ò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

or a craving for dulse or limpets àill iò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

Another farewell to my little ones, haoi ò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

one a year old, one a two-year old àill iò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

The year old, who is not strong, haoi ò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

I left him in the back room àill iò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

Tonight he will ask for his mother's breast haoi ò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

If he does he will get only sea-water àill iò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

Oh my curses on the jealous woman haoi ò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

She left me on the rock of drowning àill iò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

The boat will come early tomorrow, haoi ò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

they'll find me àill iò
Ro àilleagan àill iò

drowned haoi ò
Ro àilleagan àill iò, haoi ò
Ro àilleagan àill iò


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