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Gone the rainbow PP&M translation

DigiTrad:
BUTTERMILK HILL
I'LL SELL MY HAT, I'LL SELL MY COAT
SHULE AGRA or JOHNNY HAS GONE FOR A SOLDIER
SHULE AROON
SHULE AROON 1


Related threads:
Help: Shule Aroon: sell my rock, rod, reel (62)
Meaning: I'll dye my petticoat (55)
Chords Req: Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier (16)
Shool, shool, shool la rue (29)
Chord Req: Siuil a Ruin Chords and sheet ... (33)
(origins) Lyr Req: Siul a Ruin (81)
traditional tunes in Irish gaeilge (32)
Lyr/Chords Req: Johnny has gone for a soldier (7)
Help: Siul a Ruin (36)
Help: Suil A Ruin, correct spelling? (18)
Lyr Req: Shule Aroon (23)
Dilemma with 'Siul A Ruin' (24)
(origins) Origins: Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier (15)
Lyr Req: Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier (44)
Lyr Req: Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier (10)
Shule Aroon / Shule Agra / Buttermilk Hill: Scots? (6)
Lyr Req: Johnnie Has Gone for a Soldier (10)
Lyr Add: Mickey's Gone for a Larborer (5)
Lyr Req: Suil A Ruin (6) (closed)
Siul A Run (5) (closed)


The Villan 21 Sep 04 - 01:35 AM
Joe Offer 21 Sep 04 - 02:16 AM
The Villan 21 Sep 04 - 02:57 AM
The Villan 21 Sep 04 - 03:04 AM
GUEST 03 Feb 11 - 09:38 PM
GUEST,leeneia 04 Feb 11 - 11:53 AM
Noreen 05 Feb 11 - 08:45 AM
GUEST 22 Aug 13 - 08:56 PM
GUEST,leeneia 23 Aug 13 - 02:20 AM
GUEST,Grishka 23 Aug 13 - 05:30 AM
GUEST 23 Sep 13 - 09:02 AM
GUEST,Mek 30 Sep 13 - 02:39 AM
GUEST,leeneia 30 Sep 13 - 11:17 AM
GUEST 28 May 18 - 08:52 AM
leeneia 28 May 18 - 11:58 AM
leeneia 28 May 18 - 12:00 PM
GUEST,Derek in Hong Kong 08 Jan 19 - 01:28 AM
beachcomber 08 Jan 19 - 06:17 PM
CupOfTea 08 Jan 19 - 07:12 PM
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Subject: Gone the rainbow PP&M translation
From: The Villan
Date: 21 Sep 04 - 01:35 AM

I have for so many years sung Gone the rainbow to my daughters at bedtime (not anymore as they are a bit too old now).

The chorus has always intigued me as I havent got the faintest what it means. My kids have also asked what it means, but I haven't been able to explain it.

Is there anybody out there that can translate the verse for me?

Many thanks

Gone The Rainbow
Adapted & Arranged:Stookey/Travers/Yarrow/Okun

Chorus
Shule, shule, shule-a-roo,
Shule-a-rak-shak, shule-a-ba-ba-coo.
When I saw my Sally Babby Beal,
come bibble in the boo shy Lorey.


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Subject: RE: Gone the rainbow PP&M translation
From: Joe Offer
Date: 21 Sep 04 - 02:16 AM

Hi, Villan - all PP&M lyrics are available at http://www.peterpaulandmary.com. I posted the PP&M lyrics for this song here (click) [and I see you posted them here (click) ].

As for meaning, I think they mean the same as many similar lyrics in Irish songs - nothing. I think the words most frequently sound more like "shule aroon." I guess you could almost call them "mouth music," although actual mouth music is a little more sophisticated. Certainly, it conveys a strong tone of sadness, but I don't believe the words have any particular meaning. Note all the other threads on this song - in the crosslinks at the top of this page.

Pay special attention to the notes from Belden in the Digital Tradition entry here. Apparently, Belden thinks they have meaning, and who am I to disagree with Belden? Belden says "Shule" (siubhal) means walk or come. He won't commit himself to a further interpretation of the meaning, but he does give a possible Gaelic source and translation (see DT).
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Gone the rainbow PP&M translation
From: The Villan
Date: 21 Sep 04 - 02:57 AM

Thanks Joe
So its Irish then.

Do you know what, I always thought it was Jewish.


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Subject: RE: Gone the rainbow PP&M translation
From: The Villan
Date: 21 Sep 04 - 03:04 AM

saw this which seesm to gte nearer to the meaning.

Shool, shool, shool la rue Shool la rack shack Shool la ba ba coo When I saw my Sally bally Bill Come bibble in a brook, come Laurie (lorry)!


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Subject: RE: Gone the rainbow PP&M translation
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Feb 11 - 09:38 PM

Lol my mum thought it was Hebrew as well, I on the other hand thought it was just baby talk sounding. Doesn't sound much like Hebrew to me, or much like anything really. I do love it though :)


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Subject: RE: Gone the rainbow PP&M translation
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 04 Feb 11 - 11:53 AM

I always thought somebody stuck those syllables in because the song wasn't long enough to make it on a radio station. I always found them rather embarrassing. I mean - bibba bibba boo? Please!

When I play this song on my dulcimer, I replace them with improvisation on the instrument.


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Subject: RE: Gone the rainbow PP&M translation
From: Noreen
Date: 05 Feb 11 - 08:45 AM

Please, PLEASE read one of the threads about Siul e ruin, eg origins thread and listen to this most beautiful of songs,

eg: Clannad : Siuil a Ruin

You will see and hear that the PPM song is based on an Irish song and the original Irish language refrain has been changed by those who didn't understand it into something they could sing... but the original words are FAR from being nonsense.

(I feel better now!)


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Subject: RE: Gone the rainbow PP&M translation
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Aug 13 - 08:56 PM

who can explain this song?


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Subject: RE: Gone the rainbow PP&M translation
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 23 Aug 13 - 02:20 AM

I believe the Irish song 'Siul a ruin' (that may not be spelled right) is about a disappointed lover, walking and thinking.

The American song is about a mother singing to her baby. The father (Johnny) has gone to war, and the mother has sold her spinning wheel and flax to provide him with a sword.

See one version here:

http://www.peterpaulandmary.com/music/f-02-02.htm


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Subject: RE: Gone the rainbow PP&M translation
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 23 Aug 13 - 05:30 AM

"Shuyle a ru" ("שול אַ רו") is clearly Yiddish (not Hebrew), obviously what the OP was associating. The Irish connection looks much more likely though.


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Subject: RE: Gone the rainbow PP&M translation
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Sep 13 - 09:02 AM

I am a Chinese lecturer now,I had ever heard this song in 1998 when I was a freshman in chengdu normal college.I remembered it.today i rethink about it i find i do not understand it's meanning as you.now do you know it?if you know tell me pls.

from yangjian

Department of Chinese of Huizhou University
Huizhou City, Guangdong 516007, South China
Skype: mygoodbody


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Subject: RE: Gone the rainbow PP&M translation
From: GUEST,Mek
Date: 30 Sep 13 - 02:39 AM

This thread is amazingly lived so long and still active.
Well I guess somebody put in the effort and explain this song in wikipidea now.

I think I'll point this out for future wanderer who might come across here.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Si%C3%BAil_A_R%C3%BAn


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Subject: RE: Gone the rainbow PP&M translation
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 30 Sep 13 - 11:17 AM

Hello, Guest from China

There's more than one set of words sung to this tune, and that makes things complicated. Some are about a failed love affair and some are about soldiers. The tune is often called by its Irish name, Shule Aroon or Suil a Ruin (same thing spelled differently)

This thread that we are on is called 'Gone the Rainbow,' so I will explain that particular version.
========
A mother is sitting on a hill called Buttermilk Hill, and she is singing to her baby. The baby's father has left them to become a soldier. The mother sold her rock, her reel and her spinning wheel (these are things she needs to make thread from fibers) to make money to buy a sword for the baby's father.

In the last verse the mother sings 'gone the rainbow, gone the dove.'
These are symbols that mean that the beauty and peace have gone from her life.
=========
In the 1960's (or maybe 1970's) a trio of singers called Peter, Paul and Mary (PPM for short) recorded this version, which many people heard on the radio and still remember. The song wasn't really long enough, so it was padded out with nonsense syllables.

A long time ago, the nonsense syllables may actually have been words in the Irish language, but nobody knew about that in the 1960's.


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Subject: RE: Gone the rainbow PP&M translation
From: GUEST
Date: 28 May 18 - 08:52 AM

I always assumed those syllables were adaptations of the Gaelic, transformed into lullabye syllables, pallatable for singing to a child (the point of a lullabye)--bibby babby beal - isn't that just what we'd say to a little one?


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Subject: RE: Gone the rainbow PP&M translation
From: leeneia
Date: 28 May 18 - 11:58 AM

You are right. Somebody night sing nonsense syllables to make a soothing sound and make the song longer. After all, you need to keep singing until the baby is well and truly asleep.

I wouldn't choose those particular syllables myself. They sound too silly. Also, babies are interested in syllables - that's what they listen for when first learning to speak. The crisp syllables of "rack shack bibba boo" will wake the kid up again.

IIRC, some relative of P, P, or M wrote those syllables.


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Subject: RE: Gone the rainbow PP&M translation
From: leeneia
Date: 28 May 18 - 12:00 PM

A delightful video of a baby who has mastered syllables:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOhZivlLvOo


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Subject: RE: Gone the rainbow PP&M translation
From: GUEST,Derek in Hong Kong
Date: 08 Jan 19 - 01:28 AM

I heard this song when I was in secondary school in mid 70s, the chorus was so soothing and impressing although I didn't understand what that meant at all.... Last year I become grand father, I heard from my daughter the new mother tried to make baby sleep by singing something like "shule, shule, shule......" She even used an apps from Ipad to play the voice... Daughter said these are similar to what baby heard when it was still in mother's body.   Anyway, this is a special song that I won't forget. Thanks to PPM for making it popular.


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Subject: RE: Gone the rainbow PP&M translation
From: beachcomber
Date: 08 Jan 19 - 06:17 PM

Good heavens, I cannot believe some of the "explanations" given here as to the "meaning" of Shule a rack shack etc.,
There is no meaning, because the words were originally in the Irish language. I've known this song as an Irish song, since well before the 60s when P.P & M. recorded it. Obviously they heard some Irish source and liked the song so much that they wanted to record it. There were plenty of Irish singers plying there trade in the Bars and clubs of New York at the time and some would have known this song. (It does allow that P.P. & M. style)They didn't have time, or maybe couldn't be bothered, learning the Irish words phonetically so, either they or some other agent, replaced the Irish words with some syllables that could be easily remembered and were in the correct meter.
That's all, no Yiddish,no Scottish, no nuttin' else, just plain old Irish. It's a lovely song and P.P. & M. did a beautiful version.


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Subject: RE: Gone the rainbow PP&M translation
From: CupOfTea
Date: 08 Jan 19 - 07:12 PM

It is possible PP&M got this song from an intermediary source, rather than mangling the Irish they couldn't pronounce. (I can't either, which is why I sing "Gone the Rainbow/Buttermilk Hill" along with Irish traditional songs: better the specificly American version than mess up a lovely thing in Gaelic.) I found a version in Pete Seeger's Clearwater Songbook that was from the lower Hudson Valley, sung by the Allison family, with same first and last verse, no chorus, and a middle verse running:
Me, oh my, I loved him so,
Broke my heart to see him go
Only time will heal my woe.
Johnny's gone for a soldier.

The verse fits neatly into the PP&M version, so I sing it, too. I do believe that it started out as an Irish Gaelic song, and went through several adaptations (including mangling the English words for weaving tools up for sale) before slipping into the PP&M repertoire.

Joanne in Cleveland, with no aspirations whatsoever to sing in Gaelic of any flavor.


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