I have learned the sound of a lot of languages (French, German, Italian, Welsh, Latin...) from choral singing, but the songs of Scottish Gaelic are near and dear to me because I grew up with them. My father was a native speaker, and my mother a second language speaker (though they did not teach us as children, darn them), and both of them ( and many of their friends) were singers. Are there any other Gaelic song lovers out there who would be interested in sharing songs, translations, stories and links? My father has now passed away and I really miss that connection to the music - and having him to translate!
The song that I keep singing right now is Balaich an Iasgaich - because we have been talking about people and foods! https://www.bbc.co.uk/alba/oran/orain/balaich_an_iasgaich/
Fàilte gu fearann air balaich an iasgaich Iomradh is tarraing is gearradh a' bhiathaidh, Coma leam leabaidh no cadal no biadh Gum faigh mi mo lìon an òrdugh.
Bàtaichean Gallach a' gearradh an t-siabain, Biotadh gu caladh an aghaidh sruth lìonaidh, Bàtaichean biorach aig Nisich is Siaraich Fada mun iar air Rònaigh.
Tha 'n geamhradh cho fada 's an gaillean cho cruaidh, Droch shìde le cabhadh, clach-mheallain is fuachd, Cha mhòr tha chur-seachad aig balaich 'an Ruaidh Ach cèilidh is bualadh eòrna.
Thig an Fhèill Phàraig mum pàigh sinn na fiachan Ri dorghach nam biorach air slios an Taoibh Siair; Tha prìs air an langainn an Sasainn am bliadhna 'S gheibh mi mo lìon an òrdugh.
Bidh riasladh is màladh air ràmh agus cliabh Gun iaradh no tàmh eadar àiteach is lìon; Thug Cailean a làmh dhomh nam pàigheadh an t-iasg Gu faodainn Cairistìona phòsadh.
'S i leabaidh as fheàrr leam na gàbhadh nan tonn Tha plaide mo mhàthar 's mo làmh fo mo cheann, Nas fheàrr na bhith lapadh ri fasgadh nan crann Ag èisteachd ri srann nan ròpan.
Siud agaibh na balaich nach gearain air cruadal, Sìnt' air a' bhalaist gun pheallaig mun uachdar; Còignear no seisear 's an lethcheann air cluasaig, Ulpagan cruaidhe Cheòsan.
Nuair thig sinn à Gallaibh 's a thogar am bàrr, Bheir bùth Sheumais Chaluim dhuinn preasain air dhàil; Bidh dùil 'am bho Chailean ri feannag no dhà, 'S bheir m' athair a' phàirc is bò dhuinn.
Nam faighinn Cairistìona chan iarrainn a-chaoidh Ach bothan beag riabhach is sìoman mu dhruim Sabhal is bàthach is stàbhag bò-laoigh, Gearran beag donn is òisgean.
The Gaelic lyrics are in the description, but an English translation is found here: http://www.celticlyricscorner.net/capercaillie/mionam.htm
My story with Scotland is pretty recent. I grew up around Scottish-American people, but it wasn't part of my culture. The only Gaelic I was exposed to was the Ulster Irish music of Clannad and a few others. However, earlier this year I did a genealogy project, and found out that my Scottish ancestors came from the same clan (and their sept), so it got me interested in their history. That grew into my interest with Scotland. Now, I want to visit the places in Scotland connected with my clan. I imagine a lot of people here feel the same.
Thanks for this Catriona. I also love listening to Gaelic singing but hadn't heard this song before. When I was a child I was a Gaelic learner in Glasgow and we learned a lot of songs. One I always remember is the puirt Brochan Lom (thin porridge!) - another food related song. http://www.celticlyricscorner.net/puirt/brochan.htm
It's an easy one to sing along to with this version by Robin Hall and Jimmie MacGregor https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrePSyQqUxs
Thank you for sharing this. I love the sound of Gaelic songs and agree that learning songs is helpful in learning the sounds of any language. I am looking forward to listening to this one. There is a book available on Amazon entitled Songs of the Hebrides. The songs were collected in the early 1900s and the book provides piano scores.
There are two books under the title Ceol nam Fèis, that were prepared a number of years ago mainly for young people wanting to participate in the Fèisean - Gaelic festivals with quite a big learning input in trad music etc etc. They may not be easy to come by (lucky me, a cousin was involved :) ) but if you can get hold of them, they have easy music arrangements - melody and chords, mostly - text and translations, plus tunes without lyrics. Also check out the BBC Gaelic songs resource, now archived - requires Flash player to hear the recordings - Bliadhna nan Òran.