Finally, finally, after a long time of being near enough silent, I have found my singing mode again! Inspiration struck last weekend, when I attended the Trad at the Trian concert and following singing workshop with Jim Mac Farland, one of my favorite trad singers. Together with Kathrijn (who is getting more and more keen on singing), I went for the first half of the concert, which also featured the fiddling of Dermot McLauglin. Before the concert I chatted with Jim, whom I meet at the Ballyliffin singing weekend every year, and Ballyliffin was just the main focus of conversation! We all can’t wait to go, enjoy great company, good music and lots of songs, and beautiful scenery! The wee ones are looking forward to staying at the hotel (ooooooh *clapping of wee hands*), beach combing and generally being away from home. Hopefully we can tempt them to listen to some of the singing as well!
Anyway, the concert. I made notes of the songs Jim sang and who he got them from and promptly but inadvertently disposed of them when I tidied my *singsong voice* handbag. I remember only that I felt so happy to be living somewhere where I can see and hear a singer of his caliber in my own town! The next day I got Kathrijn to come with me to the workshop. Unfortunately, but lucky for us, we were the only students, so we got a private lesson!
The singing workshops I have attended with Jim have been the best prepared ones of all: all songs burned onto a cd (so no fiddling with recording devices, mike that don’t work etc.) and all lyrics printed off. We listened to the songs from the cd to familiarise us with them, and as the third song started, I veered up: Lough Erne Shore is a song I have longed to learn for a long time, but somehow I never can get my head round the tune. When I mentioned this, the cd was stopped and Jim taught us the song, wehey!
Click Lough Erne Shore to listen to my first feeble attempts.
One morning as I went a-fowling bright Phoebus adorned the plane
‘T was down by the shores of Lough Erne I met with this wonderful dame
Her voice was so sweet and so charming, these beautiful notes she did sing
And the innocent fowl of the forest their love unto her they did bring
It being the first time I met her my heart it did leap with surprise
I thought that she could be no mortal but an angel that fell from the skies
Her hair it resembles gold tresses and her skin was as white as the snow
Her lips were as red as the roses that bloom along Lough Erne shore
When I found that my love was eloping these words unto her I did say
Oh, take me to your habitation for Cupid has led me astray
For ever I’ll keep the commandments they say that it is the best plan
Fair maids who yield to men’s pleasure the scriptures do say that they’re wrong
Oh, Mary don’t accuse me of weakness for treachery I would disown
I would make you a maiden of honour if with me this night you come home
O had I the lamp of great Alladin, his rings and his genie what’s more
I would part with them all for to gain you and live along Lough Erne’s shore
Especially for Kathrijn Jim then taught a song that wasn’t on the program, Wee Weaver. A lovely song that I had been taught before by Rita Gallagher, but had forgotten about, even though I love it. It was good to be reminded.
I am a wee weaver, confined to my loom
My love she is as fair as the red rose in June
She is loved by all others, and that does grieve me
My heart is in the bosom of lovely Mary
As Mary and Willie roamed by yonder green bower
Where Mary and Willie spent many a the happy hour
Where the thrushes and linnets in chorus do chore
In singing the praises of Lough Erne Shore
As Willie and Mary walked by yonder Lough side
Said Willie unto Mary will you be my bride
This couple have got married and they’ll roam no more
They’ll have pleasures and treasures ’round Lough Erne Shore
Another song in the workshop was Jacket so blue, a song I only have heard Jim sing. If you are interested in hearing more of his singing, he has brought out two cd’s: A Taste of Tradition: Mountain Streams, and Our Ship She Lies Ready, a recording together with Jackie Boyce.
To round of this post, below a recording from the wonderful collections from the Irish Traditional Music Archives
As usual the songs will be added to my songs archive!