Friday, June 26, 2009

A Mhàiri Bhàn Òg (Young, Fair-Haired Mary)

James Graham, singing. He has such a self-effacing way of presenting a lovely tune like this one; it does both the music and himself much credit.

I searched high and low (perhaps not high enough, or not low enough) to find a bit of a translation to put up, but they seem to be in short supply. In about another fifty years I may be able to translate it for you myself, but in the meantime, here is the first verse, as the poet Duncan Bàn MacIntyre wrote it:

A Mhàiri bhàn òg 's tu 'n òigh th'air m'aire,

Ri m'bheò bhith far am bithinn fhéin,

On fhuair mi ort còir cho mór 's bu mhath leam

Le pòsadh ceangailt' o'n chléir,

Le cùmhnanta teann 's le banntaibh daingean,

'S le snaidhm a dh'fhanas, nach tréig:

S e t'fhaotainn air làimh le gràdh gach caraid

Rinn slàinte mhaireann am' chré.

7 comments:

John said...

How lovely. I'd forgotten about that tune; thanks for putting it up.

I've rummaged around and found this as a translation:
http://cityofoaks.home.netcom.com/tunes/FairYoungMary.html
It's by no means literal (it doesn't even translate the words "Mairi bhan Og" directly) but I suppose that's easier said than done when aiming for a verse translation. The English does fit the tune pretty well.

And here's Jimmy MacColl playing it on pipes right after the Skye Boat Song.

Yes, a nifty tune. That's going to have to go back in the repertoire.

Cheers (and good luck in your new digs),

-John-

Molly said...

Thanks so much for that, John! It's nice to not have to wait 50 years to find out what it means. I am eager to try it on the chanter. When I was poking around, I kept noticing people speak of it as though it is quite a popular tune, but I couldn't say that I've ever heard it before.

John said...

I forgot to put in the link to Jimmy MacColl. Try this:
http://new.music.yahoo.com/james-maccoll/tracks/over-the-seas-to-skye-fair-young-mary-dream-angus-medley--177002451

The "dots" are in Guards I on pg 249 in my edition. A friend of mine has specified that tune for her funeral. She's a decade or so younger than I so we presume that will be in the far distant future.

Cheers,

-John-

Molly said...

. . .And thanks again!! I have a stack of music approximately 10 feet tall that I am supposed to be learning for the new band. . .but I guess one more won't hurt, eh?

Cattia Salto said...

I
A Mhàiri bhàn òg 's tu 'n òigh th'air m'aire,
Ri m'bheò bhith far am bithinn fhéin,
On fhuair mi ort còir cho mór 's bu mhath leam
Le pòsadh ceangailt' o'n chléir,
Le cùmhnanta teann 's le banntaibh daingean,
'S le snaidhm a dh'fhanas, nach tréig:
S e t'fhaotainn air làimh le gràdh gach caraid
Rinn slàinte mhaireann am' chré.
II
Chaidh mi do'n choill an robh croinn is gallain,
bu bhoisgeil sealladh mu'n cuairt,
's bha miann mo shùl do dh'fhiùran barraicht'
an dlùthas nam meanganan suas;
gueg fo bhlàth o barr gu talamh,
a lùb mi farasda nuas;
bu duilich do chàch gu bràth a gearradh
's e 'n dàn domh 'm faillean a bhuain
III
Dheanaiun duit ceann, is crann, is t-earrach,
an am chur ghearran an éill;
is dheanainn mar chàch air tràigh na mara
chur àird air mealladh an éisg:
mharbhainn duit geòidh is ròin, is eala,
's na h-eòin air bharra nan geug;
's cha bhi thu ri d' bheò gun seòl air aran,
's mi chòmhnuidh far am bi féidh
IV
Na'm faighinn an dràsd' do chàramh daingean
an àite falaich o'n eug;
ged thigeadh e 'd dhàil, is m' fhàgail falamh
cha b' àill leam bean eil' ad dhéidh;
cha toir mi gu bràth dhuit dranndan teallaich,
mu'n àrdaich aileag do chléibh,
ach rogha gach mànrain, gràdh, is furan,
cho blàth 's a b'urrainn mo bheul.

Cattia Salto said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Molly said...

Thanks very much for taking the time to send that, Cattia. It's great to have that right here, handily near the video. It would appear that I was so excited to have the words that I accidentally posted your contribution twice! Take care.