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Origins: Shane MacGowan's 'Granuille' question

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GUEST,Kelmorien 17 Dec 04 - 01:43 PM
Nerd 17 Dec 04 - 02:22 PM
GUEST 06 Dec 23 - 05:59 PM
GUEST 06 Dec 23 - 06:49 PM
Robert B. Waltz 06 Dec 23 - 07:02 PM
Thompson 07 Dec 23 - 03:09 AM
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Subject: Shane MacGowan's 'Granuille' question
From: GUEST,Kelmorien
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 01:43 PM

Hello all.
On what is, I believe, his latest recording, Across the Broad Atlantic, Shane MacGowan sings a traditional song called "Granuaille" about the 16th c. Irish heroine. Although I love shane's presentation of the piece, I am unable to understand what he is saying in the first few lines because he's bombed. The first, line is especailly unclear, and the second half-intelligable, and after that I can understand everything well enough. I've searched about online, and found several different versions of the lyrics, but they all differ significantly from Shane's rendition.

If anyone has the CD I'd welcome any thoughts.

Many thanks!


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Subject: RE: Shane MacGowan's 'Granuille' question
From: Nerd
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 02:22 PM

If it's really about the 16th century Granuaile then I doubt very much this is really a traditional song. Some traditional songs personify Ireland itself as "Granuaile," such as this one. But songs actually about her are likely to be taken from Shaun Davey/Rita Connolly oratorio.

This website suggests Shane's song is probably a version of the one I linked to above, which is not at all about the real Granuaile (since Brian Boru lived 400 years before she did!)

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Subject: RE: Shane MacGowan's 'Granuille' question
Date: 06 Dec 23 - 05:59 PM

I believe this is the version he sings...

Poor Old Granuaile - Irish Street Ballads collected and annotated by Colm Ó Loughlainn, London 1928

My dream to some with joy will come and comes with grief to more,
As it did to me, my country, that dear old Erin s shore;
I dreamt I stood upon a hill beside a lovely vale,
And it s there I spied a comely maid and her name was Granuaile.

Her lovely hair hung down so fair and she was dressed in green,
I thought she was the fairest soul that e er my eyes had seen;
As I drew near I then could hear by the pleasant morning gale,
As she went along she sang her song saying I m poor old Granuaile.

In O Connell s time in '29 we had no braver men,
They struggled hard both day and night to gain our rights again;
Still, by coercion we were bound and our sons were sent to jail,
You need not fret, we ll Home Rule get, says poor old Granuaile.

I thought she had a splendid harp by her side she let it fall,
She played the tunes called Brian Boru, Garryowen, and Tara s Hall.
Then God Save Ireland was the next, and Our Martyrs Who Died in Jail,
You need not fret, we ll have freedom yet, says poor old Granuaile.

When I wakened from my slumber and excited by my fight,
I thought it was the clear daylight, and I found that it was night;
I looked all round and could see naught but the walls of a lonely jail.
And that was the last I ever saw of poor old Granuaile.

Chambers, Granuaile: Poems & Songs, 9


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Subject: RE: Shane MacGowan's 'Granuille' question
Date: 06 Dec 23 - 06:49 PM

...Or very close to it. I've seen vastly different versions.

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Subject: RE: Shane MacGowan's 'Granuille' question
From: Robert B. Waltz
Date: 06 Dec 23 - 07:02 PM

There is assuredly a traditional Granuaile song, collected in Minnesota in the United States, of all places. It's not the same as the Granuaile song cited above. The American version was collected by Bessie Stanchfield from Elma Snyder McDowell of Saint Cloud. She published the text in California Folklore Quarterly, Volume 4, #4. (October 1945), as "Old Granny Wales." Neither she nor any of the (American) folklorists she consulted recognized it as being about Granuiale. Her version begins:

Old Granny she rose in the morning so soon
She slipped on her petticoat, apron, and gown
Saying, "Very bad news last night came to me,
They're wronging my children that's o'er the sea."

Old Granny then mounted her gelding in haste,
And to fair London city -- it was her first place,
As she was prancing up fair London street
'Twas there with Lord Cornwall she chanced for to meet.

Stanchfield did not print the tune, but she collected one. It's in her papers in the Minnesota Historical Society archives. I do not believe her transcription accurate; I made an attempt to correct it on the Minnesota Heritage Songbook site. It is Roud #2817 (a version got filed as #15026). In addition to the Minnesota collection, Thompson found it in New York, and there are several songster versions.

The Chambers/O'Lochlainn song is Roud #3034, and I know of no field collections of that. Moylan and Zimmerman had another song, "The New Granuwale," that doesn't seem to have a Roud number; it doesn't have any field collections either. There is also Roud #3068, "Poor Old Granuaile," which isn't exactly about her; it's from the era of Daniel O'Connell. There are a few other Irish freedom songs that also mention her. Generally they aren't about Grace O'Malley (the "real" Granuaile) but about Granuaile as a symbol for Ireland.

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Subject: RE: Shane MacGowan's 'Granuille' question
From: Thompson
Date: 07 Dec 23 - 03:09 AM

Another aisling - a song where a poet sleeps and wakes in a dream to speak with a beautiful woman - usually with long flowing hair - who predicts that she will be freed from slavery and occupation by a hero; it's a call to battle.

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