Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Music on My Mind

Ella Roberts, "Siúil a Rúin". It's an old ballad, although very little is known about its history. It is mentioned several times in Robert Louis Stevenson's The Master of Ballantrae. Probably the best known modern version is that of Clannad:

Clannad, "Siúil a Rúin".

What really strikes me about the song is how effectively the English and Irish are blended; macaronic songs usually play on the sharpness of the difference between the two languages in question, but the English chosen has at least very broad sound-similarities to the Gaelic chorus (lots of sh and l and ending n, particularly).

As is sometimes the case with sufficiently old Irish or Scottish ballads, there is a closely related American Appalachian version, "Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier". I like Suzy Bogguss's version.

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