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Lyr Add: Amhran na Craoibhe - a May Day song

DigiTrad:
CORNISH MAY CAROL
DRAWING NEARER TO THE MERRY MONTH OF MAY
MAY DAY CAROL
MAY DAY CAROL (2)
MAY MORNING CAROL
MAY MORNING DEW
QUEEN OF THE MAY


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Felipa 28 Apr 03 - 04:34 PM
Felipa 28 Apr 03 - 04:38 PM
Felipa 29 Apr 03 - 05:53 PM
greg stephens 29 Apr 03 - 06:47 PM
greg stephens 29 Apr 03 - 06:49 PM
Felipa 29 Apr 03 - 11:51 PM
GUEST,Philippa 30 Apr 03 - 08:30 AM
Felipa 30 Apr 03 - 07:40 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: Amhran na Craoibhe - a May Day song
From: Felipa
Date: 28 Apr 03 - 04:34 PM

AMHRÁN NA CRAOIBHE

'S í mo chraobhsa craobh na mban uasal
Haigh dó a bheir i' bhaile í 's a haigh di
Craobh na gcailín is craobh na mbuachaill;
Haigh dó a bheir i' bhaile í 's a haigh di
Craobh na ngirseach a rinneadh le huabhar,
Haigh dó a bheir i' bhaile í 's a haigh di
Maise hóigh, a chaillíní, cá bhfaigh' muinn di nuachar?
Haigh dó a bheir i' bhaile í 's a haigh di
Gheobh' muinn buachaill sa mbaile don bhanóig;
Haigh dó a bheir i' bhaile í 's a haigh di
Buachaill urrúnta , lúdasach, láidir,
Haigh dó a bheir i' bhaile í 's a haigh di

translation
THE GARLAND SONG
My branch is the branch of the noble women,
Hey to him who takes her home, hey to her;
The branch of the lasses and the branch of the lads;
The branch of the maidens made with pride;
Hey, young girls, where will we get her a spouse?
We will get a lad in the town for the bride,
A dauntless, swift, strong lad,
Hey to him who takes her home, hey to her;

this is a May day song unique to south-east Ulster, Ireland. It has been recorded by Páidraigín Ní Uallacháin in the Gael-Linn album An Dealg Óir and in her new book,Songs of a Hidden Ulster, published by Four Courts Press. The lyrics above are but a portion of the song, but enough to give you the flavour of it.

From the album notes:
"A processional chant-like song from Killeavy in Co. Armagh sung by women carrying the May Garland or a branch of blackthorn blossom as part of the fertility ritual celebrations of the May festival of Bealtaine. In this song the branch is being carried up to where the young men are gathered with the horses in their golden bridles. It is most likely that the singing of the refrain was originally accompanied by collective dancing as in a Long Dance. In this arrangement the women carrying the branch are heading uphill followed by a troupe of fiddlers, drummers and other musicians. The song ... was collected from Sarah Humphreys who lived in Lislea in the vicinity of Mullagban in Co. Armagh. The air of the song from Cooley in Co. Louth surved in the oral tradition from my father Pádraig. It was mistakenly called 'Lá Fhéile Blinne' (The Feast of St Blinne) by one collector. Though it was sung as part of the celebrations of Killeavy Pattern it had no connection with Blinne of Moninne, a native saint of South Armagh, but rather the old surviving pre-Christian traditons had been incorporated into Christian celebrations. The district of 'Bealtaine' is to be found within a fe miles of Killeavy where this song was traditionally sung, though the placename had been forgotten since Irish ceased to be the vernacular of the community within this last century. Other place names nearby associated with May festiviites are Gróbh na Carraibhe: The Grove of the Branch/Garland (now Carrive Grove); Cnoc a' Damhsa: the Hill of Dancing (now Crockadownsa)"


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Subject: RE: Amhrán na Craoibhe - a May Day song
From: Felipa
Date: 28 Apr 03 - 04:38 PM

I see there's an accent mark missing (repeatedly) in the refrain,
"... í ' bhaile ..."

if you are interested in Irish May Day songs, don't forget to look up Thugamar Féin an Samhradh Linn (also recorded as Amhrán na Bealtaine)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Amhran na Craoibhe - a May Day song
From: Felipa
Date: 29 Apr 03 - 05:53 PM

the blackthorns are only just starting to flower; it's really a bit early for blackthorn blossoms here (I write from Derry, northwest Ireland)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Amhran na Craoibhe - a May Day song
From: greg stephens
Date: 29 Apr 03 - 06:47 PM

Are the blackthorns that late in Derry? They come way before the mayblossom(hawthorn) in England, and that is now well open in the south, just opening in the midlands, and soon to come in the north. The blackthorn was out ages ago everywhere. Could you give a rough date for blackthorn and hawthorn in Derry? This is very interesting. the mayblossom has advanced by a couple of weeks(ish) in most parts of England in the last twenty years, incidentally..global warming!!
   The line in an English may song
"It's naught but a sprout
But it's well budded out"
shows clearly that at that time (and place) the May blossom wasnt open on May Day. It would seem Mayblossom was always out in the 1700's, then started opening after Mayday till very recently, and has now gone earlier again.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Amhran na Craoibhe - a May Day song
From: greg stephens
Date: 29 Apr 03 - 06:49 PM

PS and do remember everybody. Put hawthorn blossom in your hat, process with it, hang it on your door, but NEVER. EVER, bring it in to your house.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Amhran na Craoibhe - a May Day song
From: Felipa
Date: 29 Apr 03 - 11:51 PM

The hawthorn won't be blooming in profusion here before the end of May. Then the fields are a sight as so many of them are bordered with hedgerows containing a large proportion of hawthorn.

The blackthorns are coming into bloom now, but we don't have so many of them.

Old people here in Derry City have told me of hanging flowering gorse or whin (yellow flower) over their doors on May Day, to ward off evil.
Yesterday at set-dance class I asked about a half-dozen middle-aged people (40s/50s) and they don't remember the custom though some had also been told about it. Two of them volunteered the line:
"Don't cast off your clout Before May is out", pointing out that this refers to the May blossom and not to the month and therefore means about another month from now, when it's warm enough to dress lightly.


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Subject: Amhráin Oirialla - Songs of a Hidden Ulster
From: GUEST,Philippa
Date: 30 Apr 03 - 08:30 AM

According to http://www.opengroup.com/mubooks/185/1851826858.shtml , Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin's new book Amhráin Oirialla - Songs of a Hidden Ulster Published by Four Courts Press (ISBN: 1851826858) costs $126!
It's a 450 hardback book with illustrations and Audio CD (according to notes with the Dealg Óir album, there are 2 CDs containing 54 songs sung unaccompanied). An Dealg Óir, issued by Gael-Linn, contains a smaller selection of the songs from the book, sung with musical accompaniment.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Amhran na Craoibhe - a May Day song
From: Felipa
Date: 30 Apr 03 - 07:40 PM

Today I saw more blackthorn blossoms, enough to make a garland in time for May day. It's partly that I was looking out for them more, but also a couple of days can make a big difference to flowers. But it's still true that locally the flower associated with May Day appears to be gorse.

The other tradition some of my dancing partners recalled was washing one's face in the May Morning Dew. I hadn't realised that the dew on the first of May is supposed to have more power than dew of other May mornings. So I'll be out in the garden first thing tomorrow morn, improving my complexion!

The cherry blossoms are nearly gone, but the horse chestnuts are in full bloom. I've seen a good deal of lilac, which my memory would have said blooms later on. Anyway, this is a beautiful time of year, always my favourite.


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