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Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???

DigiTrad:
MINGULAY BOAT SONG


Related threads:
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GutBucketeer 15 Mar 99 - 11:50 PM
15 Mar 99 - 11:58 PM
katlaughing 16 Mar 99 - 12:32 AM
Ian Chandler 16 Mar 99 - 03:37 AM
Philippa 16 Mar 99 - 06:57 AM
Philippa 16 Mar 99 - 07:15 AM
Liam's Brother 16 Mar 99 - 10:42 AM
Steve Parkes 16 Mar 99 - 11:02 AM
Penny 16 Mar 99 - 12:01 PM
AlistairUK 16 Mar 99 - 12:50 PM
Pete M 16 Mar 99 - 03:11 PM
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Pete M 16 Mar 99 - 06:59 PM
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GutBucketeer 17 Mar 99 - 12:07 AM
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rich r 17 Mar 99 - 07:36 PM
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Subject: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: GutBucketeer
Date: 15 Mar 99 - 11:50 PM

I am trying to learn the Mingulay Boat Song and I am confused about some of the lyrics.

In the second verse the song goes...

What care we though, white the Minch is? What care we for wind or weather?

In some versions I have also seen it as

What care we how wild the Minch is. What care we for windy weather.

Ok does anyone know what a Minch is? Which version makes sense???

Thanks Jim in Silver Spring.


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From:
Date: 15 Mar 99 - 11:58 PM

Jim

I'm not completely certain, but I think a minch is a body of water, like maybe the entrance to a harbour, or a strait.

Possibly someone from Scotland will see this post and set us straight.

Jack Hickman


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Subject: Lyr Add: MINGULAY BOAT SONG (Hugh S. Roberton)
From: katlaughing
Date: 16 Mar 99 - 12:32 AM

Thanks for the interesting question. I love looking for answers to such as this on the 'Net. Found an incredibly interesting 11 page article from the magazine Dalriada at
http://www.dalriada.co.uk/Main1.htm

The author, H. McSkimming, who copyrighted it in 1985, starts out talking about crossing the Minch. If one follows to the last paragraph, one finds a reference to the "Blue Men of the Minch who are responsible for the forever restless stretch of water that lies between the south east of Lewis and Shiant Isles." Apparently the Blue Men spent their time in the water trying to sink ships. Seems the only ones they spared were those who could complete the second half of a verse of poetry which they shouted at the hapless sailors!

Have fun and thanks, again! katlaughing

Also, here are the words of the version which is in the DT database:

MINGULAY BOAT SONG
(Hugh S. Roberton, founder of the Glasgow Orpheus Choir)

Heel yo ho, boys; let her go, boys;
Bring her head round, into the weather,
Hill you ho, boys, let her go, boys
Sailing homeward to Mingulay

What care we though, white the Minch is?
What care we for wind or weather?
Let her go boys; every inch is
Sailing homeward to Mingulay.

Wives are waiting, by the pier head,
Or looking seaward, from the heather;
Pull her round, boys, then you'll anchor
'Ere the sun sets on Mingulay.

Ships return now, heavy laden
Mothers holdin' bairns a-cryin'
They'll return, though, when the sun sets
They'll return to Mingulay.

From Lorrie Wyatt's Folk Legacy Album.
Originally recorded by the McPeake Family.
@sailor
Recorded by Clancy Bros. on Isn't it Grand
filename[ MINGULY
^^


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Ian Chandler
Date: 16 Mar 99 - 03:37 AM

Might help to know that Mingulay should really be pronounced "Minch Gala".


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Philippa
Date: 16 Mar 99 - 06:57 AM

I learned the lines as "how white the spray is"
The Minch is the sea between Skye and the Western Isles (outer Hebrides). I suspect it is a generic word like The Kyles (from Gaelic "caol", a narrowing, a strait), but I can't find it in the available dictionaries.
Mingulay is south of the island of Barra and is no longer inhabited. The name as I've heard it sounds much as you'd expect from the spelling, not at all like "Minch Gala". -ay is a Norse ending meaning island, as in Vatersaigh, Pabbay, Eriskay, Berneray. When Gaelicised, the -ay is usually spelled -aidh or -eidh. Sometimes the y sound is dropped, as in "Bernera" or "Islay" (the y isn't pronounced), a partial explanation for Ian's pronounciation. I found "Miugulaidh" on a Gaelic map, with no "n" sound at all
You'll find a sound sample with the text of the song at: http://web3.foxinternet.net/celtnots/Mingulay.html The article offered by katlaughing is about Lewis, considerably north of Mingulay. You'll find a bit about the song in another article from the same on-line magazine: Barra article


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Philippa
Date: 16 Mar 99 - 07:15 AM

sound samples of "Crossing the Minch" and of the "Mingualy Boat Song" are both available at Taylors traditional tunebook


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 16 Mar 99 - 10:42 AM

Yes, that's right, the Minch is the body of water between the Outer Hebrides and the rest of Scotland including the Inner Hebrides. "How white the Minch is..." refers poetically to rough sea.

Mingulay is the 2nd southernmost of the Outer Hebrides and was uninhabited when I was in that area in the earlier 70s. I was staying on Barra, a few islands to the north, and I rented a car one day to drive Barra's 7 miles of road. From the highest point on Barra, I could see down to Mingulay.

This is a Gaelic speaking area, by the way, so I've always been curious why this song is in English. I assumed it to be a translation. Therefore, the difference in words has never bothered me. There is too some repetition of phrasing in verse and chorus which makes this short song more challenging to remember. This is the first time I've heard The Mingulay Boat song attributed to anyone and I'm happy for that information.

All the best,
Dan Milner


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 16 Mar 99 - 11:02 AM

... And absolutely nothing to do with La Manche; for some reason the french simply will not call it by its correct name, the English Channel! However, I've often wondered: "manche" means "sleeve" - is there any connection with the Gaelic origin of "Minch"?

Steve


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Penny
Date: 16 Mar 99 - 12:01 PM

My excellent French teacher, Miss Fenn, would draw our attention to the shape of the Channel and compare it to one of those lovely folk-dress sleeves to be seen in Normandy and Brittany. People certainly seem to have been able to visualise the shapes of things very early, but MInch/Manche is intriguing.


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: AlistairUK
Date: 16 Mar 99 - 12:50 PM

re steve parkes: Not only the french but a goodly portion of the rest of the world don't call it the english channel in portuguese and spanish it's canal da Mancha (port.) canal la Mancha (span.)

portuguese speaking Alistair


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Pete M
Date: 16 Mar 99 - 03:11 PM

Ah yes Alistair, but what else do you expect from foreigners? I mean, the Portugese are OK, but about the only thing to said in favour of the Spanish is that they aren't French. :-)

The English, the English, the English are best....

Pete M


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Pete M
Date: 16 Mar 99 - 04:00 PM

Back to the subject:

I don't know what " 'The author', H. McSkimming,.." copyrighted in 1985 but it certainly wasn't this song. Not unless we had an incredible amount of deja vu back in the sixties! So far as I remember it was collected / translated by Marjorie Kennedy Fraser, but I'll need to get back to the Library to confirm this.

I've also got a recording somewhere of a Hebridean folk tale about a ship (from Barra I think) being sunk in the Minch by cats (witches familiars) conjured up by the skippers mother. I'd be interested if anyone else has heard this tale and any more background on it.

Pete M


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: katlaughing
Date: 16 Mar 99 - 04:39 PM

Pete M.:

Maybe my foray into html kept the truth hidden?NOI The author I referred to, H. McSkimming, was the author of the article for which I provided the web address. This is a very good and interesting article entitled, "Isles of the Hebrides", published in a magazine called, "Dalriada".

The lyrics I posted were from the DigiTrad database, as noted. katlaughing


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Penny
Date: 16 Mar 99 - 06:14 PM

Place name books not much help - my Scottish one doesn't give Minch (or Mingulay) at all, and a dictionary of British place names says, "it is probably Scandinavian in origin" deriving it from megin - great plus nes - headland. It must have been a bad night for the Vikings to call all that sea a headland.


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Alex
Date: 16 Mar 99 - 06:44 PM

To Pete I submit the old toast: "An English man is the equal of two French men, three Danes or four men from Potsdam. He's worth as much as five of the Dutch, and very nearly half of one Scots man!"


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Pete M
Date: 16 Mar 99 - 06:59 PM

Hi Kat, yes I should have picked that up, sorry pardon. Comes of reading things before brain is properly engaged, and lack of coffee.

Alex, yes I know that one, but as Steve has alluded previously, why would we waste time fighting amongst ourselves when we can gang up on the French?

Pete M


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: katlaughing
Date: 16 Mar 99 - 07:52 PM

HEY! I go to bed with a French Canadian/American every night! And, I let him stay in my house, cloth moi, feed moi, and moi's critters!

And, where would Cajun be without the French/Canadians? And, who can sound as romantic as a Frenchman when he's telling you to get screwed?

Here's hoping you won't hold it against me!

BE NICE!NOI***BG***

katlaughing, stands by her man!


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: GutBucketeer
Date: 17 Mar 99 - 12:07 AM

Wow! Thanks Katlaughling and everyone else for the information! I looked at the DT version and it didn't make sense to me. Now it makes more sense but I am still not sure how I will sing it. This just shows how great mudcatters are. I have 7 or 8 shanty books and I did not find it in any of them.

Jim in Silver Spring


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: katlaughing
Date: 17 Mar 99 - 12:18 AM

JimBunch,

I have a great version of it on a tape called "Fair Stood the Wind" by the group at Mystic Seaport.

First time I ever heard it.

The Mudcateers Come Through, again! Yea!

katlaughing


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 17 Mar 99 - 03:39 AM

Hey katlaughling, I was talking about the French French, not the Canadian French! The kind that wear berets, striped jerseys and strings of onions, and ride bikes - Johnny Foreigner personified (NOI, all you froggies!). You'll be pleased to know, I'm sure, that (and this is based on actual events): Canadians are often mistaken for Americans over here, and treated accordingly, although with due allowance for their unexpected politeness; but when they explain they're Canadian, they are welcomed most cordially, and everyone has a good laugh. (NOI, all you Yanks!)

Steve


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Pete M
Date: 17 Mar 99 - 04:21 PM

Talking of accents, on one project I worked on a vendor brought in an "expert" from California who "endeared" hinself to us by saying something to the effect that he thought all us Australians sounded alike, but when we replied that we had the same trouble with "you Canadians" he seemed to get the hump and go away. (Apologies to all Canadians)

Pete M

PS Kat - Hold it against you? what can I say? (blush) - your other half may be listening.


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Bert
Date: 17 Mar 99 - 04:39 PM

One time this Texan girl said to me "YEW SHAW DOO HA-AVE A PERRRDY AAAKSENT"

And I've got to tell my French-Canadian tale.
I was working as a customer support analyst and had ongoing dealings with a French-Canadian company. I was having great difficulty in making myself understood in English. After several frustrating phone calls I tried talking to them in my very poor "Schoolboy French". They immediately replied in perfect English.

We got on fine after that.

Bert.


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: katlaughing
Date: 17 Mar 99 - 06:15 PM

Bert: reminds me of my grandma who deliberatly would reach inside her dress and turn down her very old-fashioned (nowadays) hearing aid, just so she could plead ignorance of what someone said!

I have a hard time getting my American of French Canadian descent (being very PC here)hubby to answer in any language. Being an engineer of the ethers, his head is always in the clouds. I swear he lives in other realms of microwaves (not the oven variety), field strength analysers (not for checking one's stamina on tour), and various other esoteric machinations of the world of radio and television waves (not found on a beach)!

Steve: I've a new one to add to the NOI I coined, yes I'm bragging: NOT for No Offense Taken! That's right, I am calling here and now, for all Mudcateers to TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for their own feelings and reactions! That's right you can take charge! Let others know their NOI slings and arrows MISSED the target. Use the NOT! Why NOT?***BG***

So, Steve: NOT! from katlaughing!

As for accents, I've always imagined if I ever got to the other side of the water, I'd do everything I could to not sound American! I guess that comes from growing up in the 60's and hearing so much about the "ugly American". Plus, having inherited my grandfather's gift for accents, I've also really tuned my ear to tell the difference between, oh, say, people from the Land of Oz NOI and Englishpersons (PC, again!) I love accents and I love trying to guess where they are from, almost as much as I love trying to adopt them as my own from time to time.

When I was a kid, I used a Scottish accent (authentic, mind) so much, when a girl scout from another troop called one day she asked me where in Scotland I was from! My family used to joke about what I'd sound like that night at the dinner table. Maybe I was a chameleon in a past life?

Pete M: "my other half" is all French in that respect! Cela vie(sp?), eh?!


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: rich r
Date: 17 Mar 99 - 07:36 PM

Getting back to the original song. A version was published in "A Folksinger's Guide to Grassroots Harmony" by Ethel Raim and Josh Dunson (Oak PUblications 1968). The lyrics are pretty much what is in the DT except that they use "Hill you ho". The editors of the book add a little more to the background including the following:

"Here is a sea shanty made for stormy weather that has become gentle in the hands of the McPeakes. Norman Kennedy states that the song was originally about the supernatural powers of an owl, but when the singers of the Hebrides became embarrassed by such ideas, they ceased to sing those words. The McPeakes sang the Mingulay Boat Song during the performance at the Folklore Society of Greater Washington in 1964. Chuck Perdue provided a set of words which he learned from Bryan Sutton as the verses on the tape of the concert were difficult to pick up clearly"

Obviously a bunch of names are dropped in here. Perhaps someone can vouch for the people mentioned. What is more intriguing to me is what are the lyrics of the version about the owl?

rich r


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Bev Lawton
Date: 18 Mar 99 - 09:02 AM

I hate to disillusion you on part of this thread but there is no romantic connection between the "Mingulay Boat Song" and the pipe tune "Crossing The Minch" The tune actually refers to the dangers of crossing the Royal Mile in Edinburgh whilst "under the influence" between two well known pubs - the names escape me for now but one may be THE TRON BAR. It is a well known pipers tune and fairly modern. haven't got the info to hand but will post more later. Regards, Bev lawton


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Philippa
Date: 18 Mar 99 - 01:36 PM

I'm not disillusioned, Bev, I think it's hilarious that musicians equate crossing the mile while inebriated with sailing across the stormy Minch.
It does seem likely from what some sontributors to this thread say, that the name of the Minch is of Spanish or Portugese origin (not to be confused with Mingulay of Norse origin).


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Bev Lawton
Date: 20 Mar 99 - 01:35 PM

The tunes composer was : Pipe Major Donald MacLeod he was in either The Seaforth Highlanders or The Cameron Highlanders, Scottish Military, Highland Division and I guess it was written in 1930'ish can't recall exactly. Problem is the MacLeod's are a famous family of pipers from the Western Isle's streching back many generations from father to son and more than one is called Donald! The bar I mentioned isn't correct, one of the 2 bars involved IS "The Hebridian" and the other has a name connection with the same area (but I still can't recall it) hence the title! I will hazard a guess he wrote it whilst stationed at the barracks in Edinburgh Castle, if you do not know the area the Royal Mile leads directly to the gates of the Castle. The bar I mentioned earlier "The Tron" or "Tron Ceilldh House" (depending on which side of the building you look at!), Davey Square, is the most fantastic place for Celtic folk music four levels with a session on all of them ! Many famous band members hang out there and join in the informal sessions. Another to visit is "The Scotsman's Lounge" for hard-core Highland Pipes etc., all within a short stagger of each other and the Castle. Been a long time since I lived there but go back often and the folk music along "the mile" is amongst the best there is. Regards, Bev Lawton.


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Wotcha
Date: 20 Mar 99 - 03:58 PM

Jim:

Well Jim, guess you now know the history behind the name of Wheaton,Maryland's own Royal Mile Pub ... not to mention the song that is sung by the same lady every time they hold a shanty night there. See you at May's sing (won't be there in April). cheers, Brian


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Subject: Lyr Add: MINGULAY BOAT SONG (Sir Hugh Roberton)
From: Ian
Date: 20 Mar 99 - 05:21 PM

Oops!

Just looked in Paterson & Gray "Songs of Scotland,” 1996 and found the following:

MINGULAY BOAT SONG
(Sir Hugh Roberton)

Hill you ho, boys, let her go, boys,
Bring her head round, now all together.
Hill you ho, boys: let her go, boys;
Sailing home, home to Mingulay.

What care we tho' white the Minch is?
What care we for wind or weather?
Let her go, boys! Ev’ry inch is
Wearing home, home to Mingulay.

Hill you ho, boys; let her go, boys;
Bring her head round, now all together.
Hill you ho, boys: let her go, boys,
Sailing home, home to Mingulay.

Wives are waiting on the bank, or
Looking seaward from the heather;
Pull her round boys! And we'll anchor,
Ere the sun sets at Mingulay.

Hill you ho, boys; let her go, boys;
Bring her head round, now all together.
Hill you ho, boys: let her go, boys,
Sailing home, home to Mingulay.

Sir Hugh Roberton (1874-1952) was conductor of the famous Orpheus Choir of Glasgow for which he made many choral arrangements of Scots songs. He also published songs of the Isles (1950), a collection of traditional tunes for which he invented English words. 'Mairi's Wedding’ (the Lewis Bridal Song), 'Westering Home' and the 'Mingulay Boat Song' were all popularized by Roberton and they remain perennial favourites. The remote, barren island of Mingulay lies to the south of Barra in the Western Isles. Sometimes referred to as 'the nearer St Kilda', it was a crofting and fishing community of about 160 people until 1912. Isolation, infertile land, lack of a proper landing place and the absentee landlord problems familiar to the Western Isles and Highlands, resulted in a gradual disintegration of Mingulay's culture. The process of voluntary evacuation began in 1907 with land raids by the impoverished crofters to the neighbouring island of Vatersay, and Mingulay is now completely deserted. But summer visitors to Barra regularly brave the two-hour journey in exposed seas from Castlebay to Mingulay, inspired by Roberton's evocative but sentimental song, which has no connection with either the island or its people.

Looks like the Mingulay Boat Song is nothing to do with Mingulay either!


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Alice
Date: 20 Mar 99 - 05:35 PM

Thanks for all the background on this song. It's a fun one to sing. Was there a definitive answer regarding the pronunciation of Mingulay? Ian Chandler said Minch Gala. What is correct?

alice in montana


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Ian C
Date: 22 Mar 99 - 03:31 AM

My information comes from Dr. Kay Muhr, who researched amongst Gaelic speakers on Barra. She is now in charge of the Irish Placenames project (which has a site on the internet). There is no-one left on Mingulay to ask, but It seems likely that the people of Barra (some of whom came from Mingulay) would know.

Cheers! Ian


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Philippa
Date: 22 Mar 99 - 07:42 AM

Give Kay my regards, Ian; I met her years ago at Corrymeela, Co Antrim. Does she speak Scottish Gaelic? I think the stress would be on the first syllable - the way you wrote it people might think it is on the 'GA' of 'gala'


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Ferrara
Date: 22 Mar 99 - 08:26 AM

Hi. Jim, sounds like it would be a local phone call, if you still need the tune I could get it to you easily enough. E-mail for phone number.

In about 1979 I was doing a computer project at the Pentagon and saw a lovely small oil painting hanging over someone's desk. It reminded me of my one visit to Skye, so I asked the man about it. He said it had been hanging over his bed at a bed & breakfast in Scotland, I forget the town, and it had reminded him of the scenery all around him. He stayed for a while and got to know his hosts, and they gave him the painting. He pointed to the largest island and said, "That's Mingulay, over there." The family had stayed in touch and one of the sons had visited him.

By the way, I took three trips to Europe in the late 70's and people were absolutely wonderful to us in spite of our obvious American-ness. We even found a helpful taxi driver in Paris during the Paris Air Show!

One more question, for JimBunch and Wotcha, you seem to be going to the shanty sings at the Royal Mile in Wheaton. It's about two fairly plebeian (not Royal) miles from my home. I've been wanting to go for months, but have allergies and I've heard it's pretty full of cigarette smoke. How bad is it? (Remember I'm a delicate flower, it might be fine for someone who isn't allergic to the stuff.)


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: GutBucketeer
Date: 23 Mar 99 - 12:23 AM

Hi Ferrara:

Thanks for the offer of the tune. I have found several Midi's of the tune on the Web, and have a printed version in the "Songs and Dances of Scotland".

The Pub Sing has grown in the last year. I took about 9 months off and it went from about 15 people in the back of the pub, to basically taking over the whole bar. It's great, and there are several professional singers that often come, but your turn only comes up maybe once or twice an evening. The smoke isn't as bad as I remember the blues bars in Chicago to be, but you still wake up with the smell in your hair.

It's funny, last month I sang for two hours. I had one beer not because I didn't want to order another but because it was so crowded that the waitress only came around once. Well, I started driving home and filled with the music I was singing at the top of my lungs and my arms were a flailing. Before you know it there I was on University Blvd. with flashing lights behind me. It turns out the parking lot was well lit, and I had forgotten to turn on my lights. Plus, I was driving slow because I don't see that well at night. Well, when the officer heard that I had been to the Shanty Sing he put me through every test he could think of (I don't think he really believed me when I said I had only had one beer). I can't say the alphabet from d to w fast without singing the ABC song even when I'm sober. Anyway, He finally let me off with a warning. I think he followed me for about a mile after he let me go.

To make a long story short, the smoke is noticeable but not too bad.

Do you go to the Folk Society sing alongs on the first Friday of every month, and do they sing Shanties there? I always have my son's Cubscouts, but someday...

Jim Bunch


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Wotcha
Date: 27 Mar 99 - 12:03 AM

Jim and Ferrara:

The old pub can get pretty smoked up but that's cos Maryland has not yet passed any legislation on smoking tobacco in bars. To be fair though, the advent of more shanty singers has reduced the number of smokers who are relegated to the public bar. Come on down!

Some of the regular singers are trying out a new venue in Old Town Alexandria -- the third Tuesday of each month at The Hard Times Cafe on King Street: since that is Virginia, the smoking regime may be somewhat different (despite being home of RJ Reynolds et al).

Jim, some free legal advice: try not to sing the Sailor's Alphabet when the officers stop you next time ... they get all confused when you get to "S is for stunstail ..."

Cheers, Brian


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: BK
Date: 27 Mar 99 - 12:42 AM

Re some of the earlier postings: Many English still believe that "The wogs begin at Calais."

Otherwise: fascinating info abt an interesting song; so just how is Mingulay supposed to be pronounced, in case I get crazy enough to try to learn it (been tempted, as I don't know enough Scottish songs).

Cheers, BK


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Matthew B.
Date: 17 Apr 99 - 12:50 PM

Ask Dan Milner to tell you the story about leaving a man on Mingulay!


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Bud Sherman
Date: 17 Apr 99 - 06:06 PM

Earlier in this thread there was a discussion about the similarity of Minch and Manche. Would the Celtic presence in Brittany be the connection? Breton is considered to be one of the still living Celtic languages. Brittany means "little Britian" as I recall. Many Celts fled there when fleeing the Saxons, etal.


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: MacRodel@aol.com
Date: 17 Apr 99 - 07:44 PM

just tae add tae th' confusion, th' sang "Mingulay Boat Sang" is th' pipe chune "Creag Guanach", an' in th' notes on ma sheet music, it says that the chune was "originally a Lochaber tune and derives its name from a crag in Glenroy. It is a very old hunting song that comes from ancient times in the Highlands...also entitled "The Aged Bard's Wish." In it he tells that his last resting place should be near his favourite hunting grounds near Loch Treig, and speaks of pastoral scenes of great beauty and tenderness. The popular modern 'Mingulay Boat Song' uses the air but not the sentiments." Hey, don't blame th' piper, I'm just quotin'! -cheers, Sumac, Apprentice Piper


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: katlaughing
Date: 18 Apr 99 - 03:29 AM

So....SuMac! Are ye goin' ta post 'em for us ta read? Bein' of partial Highland heritage, I'd luv ta knoo wha' they are.

Thanks,

katlaughing, whose Grandmas & greatgrandma were a Crawford, a Ewing, and a Fountain, two originally from Nova Scotia, farther back all from Bonnie Scotland!


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Alice
Date: 18 Apr 99 - 09:06 AM

so, Ian, is it MINCH Gala, Minch GAla, or Minch GaLA??

alice


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Jerry Friedman
Date: 18 Apr 99 - 01:32 PM

I hope I'm not being a curmudgeon to point out that no one has presented a single scrap of evidence that "Minch" comes from French, Spanish, or Portuguese. All those languages have a word that means a similar body of water and has a similar sound. That's it. Stop before you land on a conclusion!


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: John Nolan
Date: 18 Apr 99 - 05:35 PM

One source, Johnston's Place names of Scotland, 1892, theorizes Minch is from the Norse megin nös (great ness)or megin nish, shortened to min-nish, and corrupted to Minch. On the other hand,in the Concise Scots Dictionary, minch is equivalent to mince, and therefore "what care we how white the minch is" may mean, "we are so starving that we are going to eat that meat pie, whether it is completely baked or not."


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Pete M
Date: 18 Apr 99 - 05:38 PM

Precisely Jerry, you may as well conclude that it refers to feeding fish because of the similarity to "Munch".

Added to which the theory that the Celts "fled" anywhere to escape Saxons or anyone else has been discredited by genetical research. Data from the Human genome project indicates that there is a common racial / ethnic strain running from Ireland (ALL of it) across Wales, across all of Southern England to Essex and extending into Western France. The prick is mightier than the sword, and assimilation easier than extermination.

Pete M


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Philippa
Date: 18 Apr 99 - 05:49 PM

I don't know that there's any connection between the names Mingulay and Minch; Mingulay is but one of many islands reached by sailing the Minch. The Norse 'megin' theory is intriguing and maybe does after all indicate common origin for the two names for the Gaelic 'Miugulaidh' sounds something like 'Mig-oo-lye' (emphasis on first syllable and no 'n' sound; a Barra native confirmed that 'Miugulaidh' is the Gaelic name used by Barra people; I'm not sure I remember his pronunciation of the third syllable correctly; it may have been closer to 'lay' than to 'lye').
I don't know if we have more concrete evidence, but a Spanish/Portugese derivation for the Minch isn't implausible; they were seafarers.


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: MacRodel@aol.com
Date: 18 Apr 99 - 09:33 PM

katlaughin': if th' wairds tae th' "Aged Bard's Wish" haed been on th' pipe music's liner notes, I'd hae been th' fairst tae send 'em tae ye; as 'tis, I've sent ye aa' thaur was exceptin' th' henscratches an' staves, an' aa' those wee sma' notes that pass fer pipe music. I'm that sorry! -SuMac, Apprentice Piper


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 19 Apr 99 - 03:39 AM

Tut-tut, Pete! Surely you mean "the penis mightier than the sword"?

Steve


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Ewan McV (inactive)
Date: 19 Apr 99 - 04:40 AM

I'm fascinated to learn that someone says that Mingulay is regularly pronounced Min Gala. I've never heard such a pronunciation in the mouths of Scots or Gaelic speakers, but anything is possible in ths wild world of ours. There are two ways I've heard it said is something like the following :

more usually : ming goo lay sometimes : min geeue lay In either case the emphasis is slightly but not heavily on the first and third syllables. Ewan McVicar


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Sailor boy
Date: 19 Apr 99 - 07:47 AM

It may be of interest to note that there is a pipe tune called Crossing The Minch otherwise known as Crossing The Minge in piping circles. This translation places a very different connotation on the words of the song and it should therefore be re-classified as Lewd and Baudy.

I hope this helps.


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: katlaughing
Date: 19 Apr 99 - 02:10 PM

SuMac, never fear, darlin', I shoula guessed thar'd be na words fer a "piper" ta sing, else how'd he pipe?:->

Sailor Boy, will you share those of the lewd and bawdy nature, or did I miss something?

On my tape from the singers at the Mystic Seaport, in CT, they pronounce it Ming(as in ming dynasty) gah lay with the accent on the first two syllables.

Thanks,

katlaughing


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Pete M
Date: 19 Apr 99 - 04:23 PM

Bravo Steve! how did I miss that? might have something to do with lack of sleep, but more likely sheer stupidity.

Pete M


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Philippa
Date: 04 Jun 99 - 11:15 AM

The following information of Mingulay is from Ben Buxton. "Mingulay: an Island and Its People". Birlinn, Edinburgh, 1995

p. 33
"A large number of the place names in the Barra isles are of Norse origin (or are compound Norse-Gaelic), as are the names of the islands themselves. The name Mingulay is thought to derive from the Old Norse 'mikil', meaning big, and 'ay', meaning island. In Gaelic i is 'Miughalaigh', pronounced something like 'me-ul-eye', or 'Miùghalaigh', which accounts for the form 'Mewla' given in a 17th century source. [anon 1620 in J L Campbell, ed, "The Book of Barra", 1936, p 44] Monro's version of 1549 - Megaly - is the earliest known; Martin Martin, 1695, gives 'Micklay'. The current spelling and pronuciation in English has drifed further from the Gaelic than in other cases, possibly because of the various forms used by early writers and map makers."

p. 47-48

"Mingulay's most famous song - outside Barra and Vatersay that is - is "The Mingulay Boat Song'. But neither the words nor the melody originate anywhere near Mingulay; it is a romantic invention of the 20th century. It was devised in 1938 by Glasgow-born Sir Hugh Roberton, who was very fond of the melody of 'Creag Ghuanach', a song from Lochaber, which celebrates a crag near Loch Treig. He needed a sea shanty, and so he adapted the music, chose the romantic name Mingulay, and composed the words. It was to be sung in F, slowly and rhythmically. [Roberton Publications, personal information; Derek Cooper. "The Road to Mingulay: a View of he Western Isles", London, 1985]…

"It is ironic that this song should be the only well-known song associated with the island, and, for many, the only reason they have heard the name Mingulay at all. "

In his appendix, Buxton publishes two real Mingulay songs, in Gaelic with Englsh translations: 'Oran do Dh'Eilean Mhiulaidh' /'Song to the Isle of Mingulay' and 'Turas Nèll a Mhiùghlaigh'/ 'Neil's Trip to Mingulay'

I repeat my earlier statement that I know of no evidence of a connecton between the names 'Mingulay' and 'Minch'. There are many islands in the Minch. Though there is Johnson's theory of a similar Norse derivation for Minch (see John Nolan's 18 Apr posting). In Skye there is a place called 'Minginish', which supposedly has the same meaning as Mingulay, 'inis' or 'inish' being the Gaelic equivalent of the Norse 'aigh' or 'ey' for 'island'.


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Frank of Toledo
Date: 04 Jun 99 - 11:40 AM

On Saturday the 22nd of May I held a concert here in Toledo, Oregon with a young trio "Casey Neill Trio". They closed a very good show with the "Mingulay Boat Song",and they mentioned that they learned the song, or their version, from Al Capolla on the Hudson river Sloop Clearwater (PS). It is on their recent CD "SKREE'. on Appleseed Recordings......


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Philippa
Date: 15 Jun 99 - 07:13 PM

The Gaelic for the Minch is "an Cuan Sgith", the winged (wing shaped, I suppose) sea. I think this lends creedance to the theory advanced in this thread that Minch is related to 'manche' or 'mancha'in Romance languages, meaning sleeve.


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Alice
Date: 19 Feb 01 - 01:26 PM

As I was singing this song last night with a bunch of friends, I was thinking of this old thread. No matter if we Montanan's pronounce it correctly, it certainly is a great one to gather harmonies of different voices together. An old favorite here.


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: GUEST,DocWood@uri.edu
Date: 19 Feb 01 - 01:48 PM

What a fascinating discussion on one song! Very few versions exist on MP3 but you can listen to my version at www.mp3.com/docwood.


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 19 Feb 01 - 02:04 PM

you can get my version from my web page too!

;-)


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Wotcha
Date: 19 Feb 01 - 04:26 PM

Too bad that Philip Caputo didn't read this thread before he penned his book "The Voyage." Check out the first chapter describing the Mingulay Boat Song as "the ancient chantey" (being sung about 1900 in the relevant scene). Sort of spoiled the start of this fine novel ...
Cheers,
Brian


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Dez Yello
Date: 23 Oct 02 - 08:38 PM

Back in 1984 I was singing this song in a group in the Manchester area, we could only find the opening verse and the Wive's are waiting verse. So myself and group member Paul Whitehill wrote this verse as we thought at the time only two verse was too short a song. This verse was recorded by then South Wales based shanty group Motley Crew now Baggyrinkle in the late eighties. I still use this verse when I sing the song.

Bairns are waitin' by the fireside
In the cradle rocking gently
There's a candle in the window
Ere the men return to Mingulay.

Hope this might be of use to any of you out there.


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: David Ingerson
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 04:33 PM

This is an illuminating thread. Thanks for all the contributions, agus go raimh mile maith agat, a Philippa, for your reaearch and authoritative posts.

Apparently no one in Portland's song circle has read it, for we still repeat our bit of folk mythology about it for newcomers--that this is the only surviving bit of (presumably ancient) culture from the island, whose population had been wiped out by disease. How romantic! I will correct that notion next time it's sung here!

By the way, I had been singing the song for many years before I saw a deeper layer of meaning there for me: If you want to get "home", you have to turn and "face the weather."

David


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 11 Jan 03 - 08:25 AM

Going back to 17 Mar 99 where rich r asked about the supernatural powers of the owl, has anyone any more info about this earlier song. One of my friends was asking about it last night & I said I'd check Mudcat.

extract from Rich's post -
"Norman Kennedy states that the song was originally about the supernatural powers of an owl, but when the singers of the Hebrides became embarrassed by such ideas, they ceased to sing those words."

sandra


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Strupag
Date: 11 Jan 03 - 10:38 AM

As someone who lives by repairing gear on the boats that fish in the Minch I would like to point out, just to be geographically correct, The Minch is the stretch of sea beetween the Scottish mainland going as far south as Ardnamurchan and as far north as Cape Wrath.
We ofter refer to North Minch and South Minch. Skye, being close to the mainland is on the mainland side of the minch.
Aye, there's not much going on in Mingulay these days but Eriskay (of Eriskay Love Lilt fame) now has a causway joining it to the Uists
and some people are moving back to the island as it is possible for them to commute now. They have a few good boats there and are doing all right.
As to the origins of the word Minch: I'm off to work on a boat here in Skye and I'll ask around. I'll be back
Cheeridh an drasda


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Strupag
Date: 11 Jan 03 - 12:26 PM

OK Thanks for waiting. I've just been down to
Portree Pier and started a discussion with local fishermen about as long as this one as to the origins of the word Minch.
Most of these guys were native gaelic speakers and we are all convinced that it is not a gaelic word.
As someone said earlier, many of the place names around these parts and on the north west mainland coast are of Norse origin and it is suspected that it's a Norse word. Mingulay, as with all island ending in the ay sound is almost certainly a norse word.
Interesting to hear that the song was actually written by Hugh Roberton. I've heard a gaelic version sung many years ago by a Barra man.He used the same tune but with a much faster beat.
Could it be that Hugh did a "Marjory Kennedy Frazer" and took up an old traditional song and "anglisized" it.


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 13 Jan 03 - 07:32 AM

refresh -

does anyone know anything about the owl song I referred to above?


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 13 Jan 03 - 07:53 AM

It would at any rate be interesting to know where Norman Kennedy got his story from. So far as anyone knows, Roberton set his new words to a Lochaber tune, as mentioned a couple of times earlier; and none of the (vague enough) descriptions anyone has come up with of the old song seem to have much to do with owls. It may also have been known in the Islands, of course; but if it was, Roberton doesn't seem to have known about that. Equally, Roberton's text may subsequently have been translated into Gaelic, which would not be unusual, and could possibly Strupag's hearing it there.


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 14 Jan 03 - 07:06 AM

thanks, Malcolm I've passed this thread to the friend who enquired.

sandra


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: GUEST,Bernie in Ontario
Date: 11 May 10 - 02:19 AM

I heard many years ago from a Scotish friend of mine that the Minch was the white caps on top of the waves at sea. It's an indication of how rough the sea is. Hope this helps.


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 11 May 10 - 06:50 AM

I don't think that's the case (minch= whitecaps).

The Gaelic names for the Minch (both parts) are completely unrelated to the word, and it's used in several places in the UK to mean a somewhat crooked channel or body of water.

From my (admittedly fairly basic, but including a lot of dialect, historic and seafaring terms, since I worked on Norwegian vessels for several years in my youth) Norwegian, it doesn't seem to fit with any old Norsk, Ny Norsk or Bøkmal Norsk terms or word roots that I know, so I'd be very much inclined to think that the derivation is the same as "Manche" as used in French for the Channel.

Island names such as Mingulay are certainly of scandinavian origin. They match the Norwegian ending "øy" for island and there are several possibilites for the fore-part of the name. Probably the most logical would be the old Norsk for "big"...ie "Big Island" since, although Mingulay isn't actually the biggest of its local group, standing tall it *looks* to be the biggest from a boat. Giving descriptive names ("sheep island", puffin island", "bird island", etc) seems to have been very much a habit of scandianvian seafarers in the dark ages.


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: IanC
Date: 11 May 10 - 07:05 AM

Not necessarily Scandinavian. Most islands in the Cambridgeshire fens have names ending in -ey (e.g. Whittlesey, Ely) and in the Somerset marshes (e.g. Athelney) which is a standard Anglo-Saxon suffix for an island.

:-)


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 11 May 10 - 08:22 AM

Fowler reckon's that Minch is probably from th Old Scandinavian "megin nes" = great headland.

They give "mickill ey" (muckle island) for Mingulay (Miughalaigh) so the 'n' looks as if it intruded on Anglicisation.

Of the song they say "A famous but inauthentic 'folk song', based on a tune from the Western Highlands and with words by Hugh S. Robertson, written in 1938 for his Glasgow Orpheus Choir."

As for non-Scandinavian roots, you wouldn't find many Anglo-Saxons in the Highlands and Islands till fairly recently, and their place-names are usually recognisably English rather than Anglo-Saxon.


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Gutcher
Date: 11 May 10 - 04:50 PM

Anent a previous post on this thread which states that Norman Kennedy
thought that this song had something to do with an Owl. Do any of
you gaelic scholars have any knowledge of an ancient song called
"The Owl"?
In a traditional tale of Malcolm 11, King of Scotland, it is given
that this was his favourite song & that his youngest daughter would
sing it to him to help him to relax. Gaelic was at that time the
language used in Scotland.
Malcolm 11 was grandfather to Duncan & McBeth if my memory is
correct,they being sisters sons.
The daughter accompanied herself on the harp when singing.


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 11 May 10 - 07:11 PM

Fowler reckon's that Minch is probably from th Old Scandinavian "megin nes" = great headland.

I don't see it myself: the Minch is a *channel*. Both the Minch and the Little Minch are surrounded by headlands, but from a boat no one of them stands out as being particularly "great" compared to the others. And in any event sailors are not prone to naming water features after nearby land features, or vice-versa. It just sounds like someone who hasn't been able to find a plausible etymology clutching at straws.

It also seems odd that the Minch features at all in the song, seeing as Mingulay is actually in the Hebridean Sea, with a hell of a pull even to the south end of the Little Minch...probably much further than local boatmen would have normally gone back when the island was inhabited...just one more indication that the song was written by someone outside the community.


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 11 May 10 - 07:28 PM

I shouldn't worry too much about what does or doesn't feature in the song - Hugh Robertson was writing in Glasgow where the niceties of Highland geography probably didn't matter too much.

Fowler doesn't give linguistic history, or cite sources.


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: GUEST,Allan
Date: 12 May 10 - 02:35 PM

"As for non-Scandinavian roots, you wouldn't find many Anglo-Saxons in the Highlands and Islands till fairly recently, and their place-names are usually recognisably English rather than Anglo-Saxon."

Quite so common sense suggest it is Scandinavian rather than Anglo-Saxon. The Hebrides were owned by the King of Norway and didn't come back within the Scottish kingdom until about the 13thC or so and of course the Northern Isles were Norse for another couple of hundred years. The Scottish isles are littered with names of Norse origin.


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Mr Fox
Date: 12 May 10 - 09:15 PM

Google is your friend


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 13 May 10 - 02:55 AM

Yes and no, Mr Fox: the link doesn't actually clarify anything much regarding the discussion above, other than confirming that the Gaelic name for the Minch bears no resemblance to "Minch". The map also confirms that Mingulay is in the Hebridean Sea and not near either of the Minches. It says nothing about the origins of the names.


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Mr Fox
Date: 13 May 10 - 06:37 AM

The map also confirms that Mingulay is in the Hebridean Sea and not near either of the Minches.

It doesn't have to be right next door - it's the area they fish in. (and its quite possible that the writer of the song got his geography slightly out).

It says nothing about the origins of the names.

It doesn't? Whoops, I should have read the whole article! Not Gaelic? Um, I know it sounds silly (for western Scotland) but how about French? Their name for the English channel is Le Manche (the sleeve). Could some Gallic explorer have used it in the Hebrides as well?


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 13 May 10 - 01:09 PM

I've read the whole article, and it still says nothing about the origins of the name other than *confirming* that it's not gaelic...which we'd *already* established many posts above.

Have *you* read the thread? Or indeed my reply to your post in context? If so I totally fail to understand your aggressive stance.

The article mentions nothing about a French derivation for the name...and we've already discussed that probability at some length.

We'd also discussed the probability that a writer in Glasgow had got his geography out.

So what *exactly* did your "google is your friend" post and link add to the discussion? To say nothing of your subsequent rude reply.


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 13 May 10 - 01:37 PM

It was Wikipedia anyway. Nothing to do with Google.


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Darowyn
Date: 13 May 10 - 02:14 PM

Assuming that the Scottish vowel shift has consistent rules, (a very big assumption!) then if the word were derived from "La Manche", would it not become "Monch" in Scottish dialect?
A Mon's a Mon for a' that.
Cheers
Dave


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: GUEST,guest
Date: 15 Sep 12 - 03:25 PM

2012 09 15

"La Manche" is from Latin "manica" and "muinchille" or "mainchille" in Irish or Scots Gaelic is from its Latin diminutive "manicula". Geographical features often have more than one name. Isn't it possible that these straits were informally called "the sleeve" and that the word "muinchille" underwent a sound change and was shortened owing to its use by English speakers.


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Joe Offer
Date: 18 Mar 15 - 04:43 AM

We've had lots of versions of this song posted, but I'm not convinced that we've ever found the original lyrics by Sir Hugh Roberton. Ian (click) came up with lyrics that sound quite authentic, but they come from a book published in 1996. Anybody have lyrics that actually come from Roberton?
I'd love to get hold of Roberton's 1950 book, Songs of the Isles (1950),.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: FreddyHeadey
Date: 18 Mar 15 - 07:33 AM

? There do seem to be a few in the UK
http://www.abebooks.co.uk/Songs-Isles-Curwen-Edition-No-6375/4406302215/bd

http://www.abebooks.co.uk/Songs-Isles-Volume-Curwen-Edition-2985/11049721687/bd

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/offer-listing/B001AQEQNU/ref=tmm_pap_used_olp_sr?ie=UTF8&condition=used&sr=&qid=

& USA
http://www.ebay.com/itm/1950-Songs-of-the-Isles-Hugh-S-ROBERTON-Imperial-Ed-Scottish-Islands-Highlands-/221703846974?pt=LH_Defau
The fidgety bairn
Highland cradle song : O hush thee, my babie
Ho-ree, ho-ro, my little wee girl
In praise of Isla
Island spinning song
Air falalalo
Joy of my heart
Lewis bridal song : Mairi's wedding
Mingulay boat song
Morag's cradle song
Ossianic processional
Iona boat song
Shuttle and loom
Sing at the wheel
The top of the morning
Uist tramping song
Westering home
Marie's wedding
The Glenlyon lament
The dashing white sergeant
6" x 9", stapled wraps, 48 pp.
    Thanks, Freddy. I bought the one on eBay. -Joe-


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Lighter
Date: 18 Mar 15 - 03:03 PM

For those who believe that Roberton "got his geography wrong" because he was writing in Glasgow (which would must have confused anybody, right?), "Minch" makes perfect sense, even if it is far from Mingulay.

If a fishing boat is returning to Mingulay from the northwestern mainland, it *must go through* the stormy Minch and then the South Minch in order to get home.

In any case, "Mingulay Boat Song" is now a "traditional song" by any definition. Few singers know or care who wrote it, most assume it's ancient, it really is based on a traditional melody, and so many variations have developed since 1938 that not even the Mudcat knows what the original lyrics were.

I haven't seen Roberton's 1950 publication either, but presumably the recording by the professional, copyright-conscious Kenneth McKellar is essentially Roberton's own text.

McKellar's version, from "Kenneth McKellar's Scotland," 1967.


Chorus:
Hill-yo-ho, boys! Let her go, boys!
Bring her head round, now all together.
Hill yo ho, boys! Let her go boys,
Sailing home, home to Mingulay.

What care we, though white the Minch is?
What care we for wind or weather?
Let her go, boys! Ev'ry inch is
Wearing home, home to Mingulay.

Chorus

Wives are waiting on the bank or
Looking seaward from the heather;
Pull her round boys, and we'll anchor,
Ere the sun sets at Mingulay.

Chorus (2x)

My *guess* is that if Roberton had written further stanzas, McKellar would have sung them. The track is only about two minutes long. It makes the point and quits. No candles, no bawling kids.

I liked the song so much when I heard KM sing it around 1971 that I refused to listen to it again for many years!

"Hill-yo-ho!" sounds to me like one of those hearty cries made up by a romantic songwriter.

Versions beginning "Keel your haul, boys!" don't have a clue, of course, about what "keelhaul" means. It just sounds like a cool thing sailors do.

PS, now there's a faux American Civil War version as well:

thread.cfm?threadid=77029#1369775


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Lighter
Date: 18 Mar 15 - 03:16 PM

It was Kipling, not Roberton, who fumbled his geography in "Mandalay," not "Mingulay.

in Kipling's day, poetic licenses were issued more freely than they are now. But is there a man or woman with soul so dead that they regret the line where "dawn comes up like thunder out o' China 'crost the bay"?


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Mar 15 - 03:34 PM

"Image Not Available
Songs of The Isles
Roberton, Hugh S

Published by J Curwen & Sons Ltd., 1950"

http://www.abebooks.co.uk/servlet/SearchResults?isbn=&an=roberton%2C%20hugh%20s&tn=songs%20of%20the%20isles&n=100121503&cm_sp=mb

A bunch available at that site.


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: GUEST,#
Date: 18 Mar 15 - 03:35 PM

Tha twas me.


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Gallus Moll
Date: 18 Mar 15 - 05:49 PM

I think Hugh Roberton conducted the legendary Orpheus Choir, and arranged pieces for them to sing- - I believe they were part of the soundtrack of 'Whisky Galore'? - Would it have been Hugh Roberton who formed the Orpheus choir?

I seem to recall being taken to St Andrew's Halls (Glasgow) behind Mitchell Library for the Ne'erday Concert of The Messiah by The Orpheus-(or was it the Phoenix?! I should've checked dates before posting) St Andrew's Halls burned down - when? 1950s? 1960s?

The Phoenix Choir grew from the remnants of the Orpheus - - not sure why the choir ceased? Was it when Hugh Roberton died?


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Gallus Moll
Date: 18 Mar 15 - 06:25 PM

OK I did a little checking- St Andrews Halls burned down in 1962 so I was taken to Ne'erday Messiah Concerts there- but it must have been with The Phoenix Choir as The Orpheus was disbanded in 1951 ---- but my father certainly had old fashioned records (75s?) of Orpheus that he played, All in an April's Evening, many Scots Psalms, Scots / Hebridean songs (Margery Kennedy Fraser -- OK I know there are issues with her- - !)
the Orpheus was magical, legendary.


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 18 Mar 15 - 09:16 PM

Masses of individual scores and arrangements on this site here: 304 items on 26 pages.
http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/sm/composer|10034-b/9
(Sorry, iPad refusing to do blickies!)

According to Wikipedia, Roberton did found the Glasgow Orpheus Choir and disbanded in 1951 when he retired. It also says that the choir was banned from broadcasting by the BBC during WW 2 as he was an affirmed pacifist.


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: GUEST,Jim I
Date: 18 Mar 15 - 09:19 PM

I have always understood that the chorus and the verse were sung to different tunes. Looking at '100 Scottish Songs' does seem to confirm this but almost everyone I have ever heard sing this sings both parts to the same tune.

Just as a matter if interest I have just nipped through a half dozen versions on You Tube and so far the only people I could find singing the right tune (as I understand it) was a clip of the Corries.


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 18 Mar 15 - 09:58 PM

Me too! I was soundly berated by someone at an English folk festival for singing the other tune to the verses: "never 'eard of it" was his scathing remark, really rubbishing me!
Also some versions have that octave leap in it (as per McCalmans' version) whereas most people only go up a fifth on the word "let". Both versions are shown on Google images


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: FreddyHeadey
Date: 19 Mar 15 - 04:32 AM

That octave leap is a great test to sort the singers from the rest of us!
Though I don't enjoy the 1960s BBC style I do like the speed and singing of Kenneth McKellar here Kenneth McKellar and the two melodies.


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 19 Mar 15 - 05:04 AM

Yes, that's the second tune for the verses. I don't do the octave leap version(though I could!) simply because I learned it the other way.

(Incidentally, another song that is rarely sung with its 2 parts of tune is Burns' song "Green Grow the Rashes" - Rod Paterson does both parts, but not many others do. Again it's a more challenging range to do both parts!)


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Gallus Moll
Date: 20 Mar 15 - 07:52 AM

I have Hugh S Roberton's 'Songs of the Isles' book and was wondering if there is some way I can copy / paste The Mingulay Boat Song (plus index, front cover etc) into this dialogue box?

If there is please explain it to me in very simple terms -- -- -


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Subject: ADD: Mingulay Boat Song (original) Hugh S Roberton
From: Joe Offer
Date: 01 Apr 15 - 06:07 PM

Hi, Gallus Moll. I thought I had posted this, but I can't find it. My copy of the book arrived last weekend, and I typed the lyrics up for the Rise Again Songbook. Lighter also bought a copy of the book, and posted the index here (click).

Roberton's version from Songs of the Isles:

MINGULAY BOAT SONG
(Hugh S. Roberton)

Hill you ho, boys; Let her go, boys;
Bring her head round, now all together.
Hill you ho, boys; Let her go, boys;
Sailing home, home to Mingulay

What care we though white the Minch is,
What care we for wind or weather?
Let her go boys! every inch is
Wearing home, home to Mingulay.

Wives are waiting on the bank, or
Looking seaward from the heather,
Pull her round, boys! and we'll anchor
Ere the sun sets at Mingulay.


Words by Hugh S. Roberton
Traditional Gaelic tune (probably Lochaber) arranged by Hugh S. Roberton

Copyright USA 1938, by Hugh S. Roberton

from Roberton's Songs of the Isles, J.Curwen & Songs, London, 1950
pp. 22-23


I'm short of time now, but somebody please remind me to post a MIDI after 15 April 2014. Better yet, transcribe a MIDI from the book and send it to me for posting.
joe@mudcat.org


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Jack Campin
Date: 01 Apr 15 - 06:31 PM

You already have the MIDI. There is an ABC file from your own site. Just paste it into an ABC-to-MIDI converter if you want to waste a minute or two on an entirely useless activity.

http://abcnotation.com/tunePage?a=www.joe-offer.com/folkinfo/songs/abc/749/0000&m=p


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Lighter
Date: 01 Apr 15 - 07:38 PM

As the late, ever knowledgeable Malcolm Douglas noted in 2006, "The original tune was a pipe tune, 'Creag Guanach'; from, not called, Lochaber. Roberton had it from memory and had forgotten its name."


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: GUEST,DTM
Date: 01 Apr 15 - 07:42 PM

I recall finding an old vynil 33rpm of John Alan Cameron's.
On the sleeve notes he described the Minch as being"a river in Scotland".
Deary me, you'd think a Cape Bretoner would have known better.


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Jim Brown
Date: 02 Apr 15 - 03:53 AM

If the tune is called "Creag Guanach", that might make sense of the connection to a song about an owl that someone asked about way back on this thread and never got an answer. There is an old Gaelic song from Lochaber called "Oran a' Chòmhachag" ("The Song of the Owl", often called "The Owl of Strone" in English), in which, among other things, an ancient owl tells somebody about the heroes of the past and the great hunting expeditions that she has seen, particularly around Creag Guanach (sometimes written Creag Uanach). This author of the poem, Donald son of Finlay of the Lays, is said to have been a famous hunter in Lochaber in the sixteenth century.

There is a Gaelic text of the song with an English translation in "Duanaire na Sracaire / Songbook of the Pillagers: Anthology of Medieval Gaelic Poetry" ed. by Wilson McLeod and Meg Bateman (Edinburgh: Birlinn, 2007). Unfortunately I can't find a translation online. There are recordings of part of the song at http://www.bbc.co.uk/alba/oran/orain/creag_uanach/ but it looks as if they can only be listened to in the UK, so I can't check if it is the same tune. Does anyone know?


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Joe Offer
Date: 02 Apr 15 - 04:02 AM

Thanks, Jack - I forget to check folkinfo, and there's wonderful information there:


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Apr 15 - 06:54 AM

From: FreddyHeadey
Date: 19 Mar 15 - 04:32 AM

That octave leap is a great test to sort the singers from the rest of us!
Though I don't enjoy the 1960s BBC style I do like the speed and singing of Kenneth McKellar here Kenneth McKellar and the two melodies.


This style of singing Scottish traditional music was the sole reason I hated it in my youth.


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Lighter
Date: 02 Apr 15 - 07:27 AM

Almost exactly a dozen years ago on another thread, Jim McLean observed that

"The Hawk that Swoops on High (by Pipe Major J MacKay) also goes by the Gaelic title 'Creag Ghuanach', the 'Nodding Stone' and is, as lighter says, the same melody as the Mingulay Boat Song. I've played it many times."

On the same thread, George Seto gives the words to the sixteenth- century poem "Creag Guanach" by Donald McDonald:

http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=10414

It seems to me that the pipe tune would have to be adjusted (just a little) to fit the Gaelic words. So it would seem that the Mingulay *tune* was not called "Creag Guanach" except by the very few who were aware that the Gaelic words had been set to it and unaware that it was composed (as "The Hawk that Swoops on High") by Pipe Major MacKay.
(Sometimes it's given as "Creag Ghuanach" - don't know which is correct.)

Does anyone know when MacKay wrote "The Hawk That Swoops on High"? Or know anything about him? "The Hawk" was in print in 1936 as part of the pipe repertoire of the Seaforth Highlanders, shortly before Roberton wrote "Mingulay."

"The Hawk that Swoops on High" is not quite identical to "Mingulay" – and, IMO, not quite so good. The tunes are, however, essentially the same.

(PS: Have just heard a commercial recording of Mingulay that contains the lines, "What care we/ Though fighting inches?")


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Subject: RE: Mingulay Boat Song's Minch ???
From: Jim Brown
Date: 03 Apr 15 - 02:38 AM

First of all, apologies for making a mess of the Gaelic title of the owl song in my previous message, It should be "Òran na Comhachaig".

Second, I've just found a recording of some verses of the song being sung at Tobar an Dualchais (http://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/en/fullrecord/104342/1), but not to a tune with any similarity to the Mingulay Boat Song melody as far as I can detect.


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