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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,Seamus Seachran Charn tSiail (19) RE: Seachran Charn tSiail 24 Jan 13


Just stumbled across this. The thread is probably long forgotten but in case future seekers come here, better late than never...

To alison and the others trying to make out the time signature -- Gaelic music, particularly Gaelic songs, often change tempo unexpectedly and in ways not connected to Western music, due to the nature of the music itself (which is in some ways more eastern than Western), and due to the artistic sensibility of the old generation of native Gaelic singers and their native audiences, in which the musical aspects are secondary to the more important aspect of the telling of the tale or poem. Therefore, tempo might change quite dramatically as the singer emphasizes a phrase to make it stand out. (In this it is similar to the more artistic renditions of some European bel canto music.) I have sometimes had trouble making sound engineers (and non-Gaelic musicians, even from Ireland) understand this aspect of the music.

Anyway, to add to Philippa's masterful summary, here is what seems to me to be a fairly good translation of the Clannad version:


As I was going out to Carn tSiail,
to the annual fair on the feast of Great (St.) Mary (i.e., The Assumption),
it happened that a young woman came toward me,
as she pensively passed me by.
It seemed to me that all sense had left me,
as if deluded or the worse for drink;
it looked to me as though the bright sun were dark,
compared to the radiance in her cheeks like roses.
With a start I greeted the maiden,
without no trace of sense in my voice.
I inquired of her if there was a man in Ireland
whom she would choose over me in her path.
She asked of me where was my shirt,
my wig, my beaver hat, not to mention my shoes;
that she had rarely seen a sack as clothes
on a man who'd entice young girls.

There's not a place from here to Min a' Lábáin,
where I haven't been in love with a woman or two,
a woman in the Rosses over in Min 'a Marach,
from Gleann Ailne to Mucais Mhor,
a pair in Baollach, a pair in Báineach,
a woman in Aran and one by Gweedore,
from Letterkenny to Ballydavid,
and to Coillidh Mhánais along the way.

I was in Moneymore, in Caislean Cabha,
in Baile Uí Dhálaigh and in Lisnaskea;
I have been in Monahan and at the Grainsi
and at Droichead Chúl Aine for over a year.
Last night I happened to be in Drogheda
and tonight I'm here around Carn tSial,
and now if you don't prefer me to men of affairs,
here's my hand to you and I'll travel on.


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