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Any Info on Sister's Lament?

Peter T. 23 Apr 04 - 05:19 PM
Malcolm Douglas 23 Apr 04 - 10:06 PM
Malcolm Douglas 23 Apr 04 - 11:48 PM
masato sakurai 24 Apr 04 - 02:00 AM
Peter T. 24 Apr 04 - 09:39 AM
Peter T. 24 Apr 04 - 09:42 AM
ciarili 25 Apr 04 - 11:21 PM
Malcolm Douglas 25 Apr 04 - 11:38 PM
Peter T. 26 Apr 04 - 10:25 AM
ciarili 26 Apr 04 - 01:37 PM
GUEST 17 Dec 11 - 07:00 AM
GUEST,leeneia 17 Dec 11 - 10:30 AM
maeve 05 Jan 12 - 08:26 PM
GUEST,Jenny 13 Oct 12 - 12:59 PM
GUEST,Fred McCormick 13 Oct 12 - 01:13 PM
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Subject: Any Info on Sister's Lament?
From: Peter T.
Date: 23 Apr 04 - 05:19 PM

On a compilation disc of Alan Lomax's recordings of Scotland, one of the tunes is called "A Sister's Lament" (from the island of Barra). It is in Gaelic, and there is no information about it on the album. Does anyone know anything about this song, possible words, the singer, anything? (It is very beautiful)

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Any Info on Sister's Lament?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 23 Apr 04 - 10:06 PM

Flora MacNeil, I expect. Quite likely A Phiuthrag 's a Phiuthar, but there are other possibilities. Is the Gaelic title not given? Why do you not tell us what the record is called, and who issued it? The catalogue number? The year? With the best will in the world, we are not all psychic.


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Subject: RE: Any Info on Sister's Lament?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 23 Apr 04 - 11:48 PM

Or alternatively, perhaps (same title) sung by "Kitty MacLeod and eight women" (World Library of Folk and Primitive Music: Scotland. Vol 3, Rounder 1743, 1998). You can hear a very short extract at Rounder's website: http://www.rounder.com//index.php?id=album.php&catalog_id=5001.


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Subject: RE: Any Info on Sister's Lament?
From: masato sakurai
Date: 24 Apr 04 - 02:00 AM

From Notes to SONGS IN SCOTS GAELIC:

22. A PHIUTHRAG 'S A PHIUTHAR - CRAIG: 1949 p4 - KENNEDY FSBI 1975 #22 p50 notes p62 -- Kitty McLEOD with a group of 8 women rec by BBC, Glasgow 1951: BBC LP 28767/ COLUMBIA SL-209 1952/ ROUNDER CD-1743 1998 - EMBER FA-2055 1968 titled "Sister's Lament" (also on this LP is "Lament for Wm Chisholm")

There is a story about this song that it is a girl's cry for help to her sister after being carried off by the fairies to Heaval, a hill in Barra (see KENNEDY FRASER: 1909, vol. 1, p38ff). From the text as given by Flora MacNeil, however, all that can be definitely stated is that the singer is in some uncomfortable if not dangerous plight, and that she is seeking the aid, or at least the sympathy, of her sister. It may be a waulking song, as it conforms to the metrical and vocable pattern of such functional songs, and a version is given in CRAIG: 1949, though the story there would appear to be of a very realistic and human murder rather than a vague fairy elopement. The date of this text is not easy to ascertain, though the description of the thatchless house, which implies the thatched as being the norm, certainly makes it no later than the eighteenth century. The version in CRAIG: 1949 would confirm this, as it refers to writing as being one of the accomplishments of the murdered shepherdess; this could hardly have been the case at any pointln the seventeenth century. There is, however, a completely different song beginning with the same line in CARMICHAEL: I954, vol. V, p56. This appears to fit the same metrical and vocable pattern, and may in fact be an older song whose words were supplanted by more modern ones. The music of the song depends very much on the use of grace-notes which vary to suit the cadences of the words, and tghere is a fluidity of tempo within a fairly strict rhythmic pattern. Flora McNeil learned the song from a first cousin of her mother's, Mrs Mary Johnstone, who was born on the uninhabited land of Mingulay.


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Subject: RE: Any Info on Sister's Lament?
From: Peter T.
Date: 24 Apr 04 - 09:39 AM

Hi Sorry, Malcolm, I am far from record in question, as I scribbled it down, without getting the number, and the title was not given, nothing! But that is it, much thanks -- the one with Kitty McLeod, which I dug out, is the same song (mislabelled in the World Library of Folk and Primitive Music CD). And lo and behold 3 songs later on is the voice of Flora MacNeill -- the same voice, to be sure. But excuse my total ignorance: who was Flora MacNeill? -- lovely voice.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Any Info on Sister's Lament?
From: Peter T.
Date: 24 Apr 04 - 09:42 AM

Perhaps I will start a new thread on her. yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Any Info on Sister's Lament?
From: ciarili
Date: 25 Apr 04 - 11:21 PM

Of all the places to find this, I found it in the Celtic Fake Book! At least we have some words. That book calls it A Fairy Plaint, or Ceol-brutha:

Phiùthrag a phiuthar

Nach truagh leat fhéin phiùthrag a phiuthar
O hi o hu o ho
Nach truagh leat fhéin nochd mo cumha
O hi o hu o ho

Nach truagh leat fhéin nochd mo cumha
'S mise bhean bhochd chianail dhubhach

'S mise bhean bhochd chianail dhubhach
Mi'm bothan beag iosal cumhann

Mi'm bothan beag iosal cumhann
Gun lùb siomain gun sop tughaibh

Gun lùb siomain gun sop tughaibh
Uisge nam beann sios 'na shruth leis

Uisge nam beann sios 'na shruth leis
Ged's oil leam sin cha'n e chreach mi

Ged's oil leam sin cha'n e chreach mi
Cha'n e chuir mi cha'n e fhras mi

Would you not pity me, o sister?
Would you not pity me my mourning tonight?

My little hut

Without a bent rope or a wisp of thatch
Water from the peaks in a stream down through it

But that's not the cause of my sorrow


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Subject: RE: Any Info on Sister's Lament?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 25 Apr 04 - 11:38 PM

Flora McNeil's set is transcribed in Kennedy, Folk Songs of Britain and Ireland, p 50. Do the editors of the "Celtic Fake Book" credit a source for their example? I'm guessing that they copied it from Songs of the Hebrides (vol I; fairies are mentioned), but I don't have that available to check.


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Subject: RE: Any Info on Sister's Lament?
From: Peter T.
Date: 26 Apr 04 - 10:25 AM

Thanks again. Wish I could find out a few things about Flora MacNeill. I see from one site that she is to be featured in one of the Alan Lomax Portrait series (not yet out). Lord knows how long one will have to wait.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Any Info on Sister's Lament?
From: ciarili
Date: 26 Apr 04 - 01:37 PM

It says nothing about the sources. The book just has tunes & words. I was in a music shop looking for something else & mentioned Gaelic music, and one of the clerks thrust the thing in my hands. I was amazed at its contents, but it's nothing like Peter Kennedy's famous tome. I just bought it for the fact that it had words I'd been looking for.
As I recall, this version is the same as that on Scottish Drinking and Pipe Songs, sung by Kitty McLeod(?)


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Subject: RE: Any Info on Sister's Lament?
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Dec 11 - 07:00 AM


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Subject: RE: Any Info on Sister's Lament?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 17 Dec 11 - 10:30 AM

YouTube has a lovely version of Flora singing this song. Search for A Phiuthrag 's a Phiuthar

I've decided to order The Celtic Fake Book, using Mudcat's Amazon page. Less than $20 for 250 pages of music. Thanks, Ciarili.

And what is the URL for the page where the Mudcat gets a cut? It's

http://www.amazon.com/?ie=UTF8&%2AVersion%2A=1&tag=themudcatcaf&link_code=hom&%2Aentries%2A=0


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Subject: RE: Any Info on Sister's Lament?
From: maeve
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 08:26 PM

I've been learning this one. Flora's singing of it is even better live.

The Amazon link benefiting Mudcat, posted by leeneia:
http://www.amazon.com/?ie=UTF8&%2AVersion%2A=1&tag=themudcatcaf&link_code=hom&%2Aentries%2A=0


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Subject: RE: Any Info on Sister's Lament?
From: GUEST,Jenny
Date: 13 Oct 12 - 12:59 PM

Referring back to Malcolm Douglas's post of 25 April 04 I can confirm that the Gaelic lyrics given by charili above are indeed from A Fairy Plaint (Ceol-brutha) in Songs of the Hebrides, Vol 1, although the English translation is somewhat different. I have both volumes of Songs of the Hebrides, very battered and old now. The notes at the top of the music say "Noted from the singing of Mrs. Macdonald, Skallary, Barra". Like other music in these volumes, it has been collected manually by notation while listening to singers in the islands, and arranged for piano and voice by Marjory Kennedy-Fraser.

I'm looking for audio recordings of this song - any help would be much appreciated.


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Subject: RE: Any Info on Sister's Lament?
From: GUEST,Fred McCormick
Date: 13 Oct 12 - 01:13 PM

Heather and Glen, which has the recording by Flora McNeill, has been reissued on CD on the Acrobat label.

The same record has a translation of the song, spoken by Calum Johnson.


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