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Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily

DigiTrad:
BANKS OF SICILY
BANKS OF SICILY (2)


Related threads:
Chord Req: Farewell to Sicily / Banks of Sicily (8)
Chord Req: 51st Highland / Banks Of Sicily (7)
Lyr Req: 51st Highland Division Farewell To Sicily (22)


Tattie Bogle 01 Jun 15 - 07:48 PM
GUEST,Johnnyboy 01 Jun 15 - 11:41 AM
RobbieWilson 16 Mar 12 - 10:27 PM
matt milton 16 Mar 12 - 07:45 AM
Paul Burke 15 Mar 12 - 08:19 PM
GUEST,doc 15 Mar 12 - 07:09 PM
GUEST,Andrew Calhoun 22 Sep 11 - 11:50 AM
Gurney 17 Sep 11 - 03:40 AM
GUEST,Andrew Calhoun 16 Sep 11 - 11:44 AM
Keith A of Hertford 16 Sep 11 - 04:35 AM
GUEST 16 Sep 11 - 04:05 AM
Keith A of Hertford 16 Sep 11 - 03:25 AM
GUEST,Andrew Calhoun 16 Sep 11 - 03:01 AM
Keith A of Hertford 16 Sep 11 - 02:44 AM
Liberty Boy 16 Sep 11 - 02:07 AM
GUEST,Andrew Calhoun 16 Sep 11 - 12:07 AM
GUEST,Andrew Calhoun 15 Sep 11 - 11:40 PM
Keith A of Hertford 15 Sep 11 - 09:17 AM
Charmion 15 Sep 11 - 08:51 AM
GUEST 15 Sep 11 - 02:38 AM
Dave Hanson 29 Jul 09 - 04:45 AM
GUEST,Jim Knowledge 28 Jul 09 - 12:57 PM
goatfell 28 Jul 09 - 12:39 PM
Rumncoke 28 Jul 09 - 12:33 PM
akenaton 28 Jul 09 - 10:57 AM
Noreen 28 Jul 09 - 07:53 AM
Jim McLean 28 Jul 09 - 04:35 AM
oggie 27 Jul 09 - 06:02 PM
goatfell 27 Jul 09 - 10:42 AM
Rumncoke 27 Jul 09 - 10:31 AM
meself 27 Jul 09 - 09:49 AM
Jack Blandiver 27 Jul 09 - 08:08 AM
Jim McLean 27 Jul 09 - 06:18 AM
Selkie1 27 Jul 09 - 05:44 AM
hannahma 27 Jul 09 - 03:25 AM
George Papavgeris 31 Jul 08 - 06:00 AM
Dave Hanson 31 Jul 08 - 03:09 AM
GUEST,Chaos_crafter 30 Jul 08 - 10:48 PM
GUEST,chaos_crafter 30 Jul 08 - 10:32 PM
Bill D 22 May 08 - 09:23 PM
GUEST,Dave MacKenzie 22 May 08 - 07:20 PM
Jack Blandiver 22 May 08 - 07:18 AM
GUEST,daveham 22 May 08 - 07:09 AM
Jim McLean 08 Jan 04 - 11:13 AM
Dave Hanson 08 Jan 04 - 05:20 AM
Jim McLean 07 Jan 04 - 09:51 AM
Jim McLean 07 Jan 04 - 08:37 AM
Malcolm Douglas 07 Jan 04 - 07:37 AM
Dave Hanson 07 Jan 04 - 07:28 AM
GUEST,Santa 07 Jan 04 - 07:11 AM
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Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 01 Jun 15 - 07:48 PM

Just picking up on the tune (after all the discussion re the words!): as Lighter said in 2004, the original title of it was "Farewell to the Creeks" written by Pipe Major James Robertson in 1915, while he was a prisoner of war in Germany: only later, with the writing of the song in 1944, I think, did it become known as the 51st Highland Division's Farewell to Sicily.
"The Creeks" are up in the North East of Scotland, near Portknockie, on the Banffshire coast.
Hamish Henderson used other WW1 pipe tunes for his songs, e.g. Bloody Fields of Flanders by PM John McLellan for "Freedom Come All Ye" (song not written until 1960).


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Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: GUEST,Johnnyboy
Date: 01 Jun 15 - 11:41 AM

I'd always imagined that the Bricht Chaumers were the rooms where the lads met the lassies as it were.


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Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: RobbieWilson
Date: 16 Mar 12 - 10:27 PM

The whole point is that it is how someone who was there thought at the time, not how some smartarse critic thought fifty years later


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Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: matt milton
Date: 16 Mar 12 - 07:45 AM

The more I think about this song, the more I wondered about whether Sicily has "banks". Wouldn't "beaches" be more appropriate? I don't tend to think of Sicily as riverrine.

Though I suppose Henderson may have been referring to sandbanks.


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Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Paul Burke
Date: 15 Mar 12 - 08:19 PM

I heard "the pipe is dozie, the pipie is fey, he winna be wantin his vino today"..

which gave me images of the piper being on fatigues for playing badly.


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Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: GUEST,doc
Date: 15 Mar 12 - 07:09 PM

There's pure and there's accessible. Sometimes you can have both, and that's grand. Sometimes it is worth compromising to have some of both.

The pipie has a right to be dozie and fey. He's seen too much of war; seen his best friends get blown away. Maybe he's been wounded himself. Maybe he's had one too many shells go off too close to his head.

They've all seen too much, these young men, but they won't talk about it. And neither will HH. What he will talk about are the ordinary things and the good times he's had; the girls, the booze-ups.
And how strange it feels not to be ducking shells or being afraid deep down in his guts. He's leaving it...and going somewhere where it will all happen again.


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Subject: finished translation
From: GUEST,Andrew Calhoun
Date: 22 Sep 11 - 11:50 AM

One of the great things about doing a translation is how much that requires you to engage with the work itself. To think about the author's intentions, to see the beauty of the formal structure. HH is able to run the aa rhyme from verse 2 to 8. "Away" rhymes with "wall" in Scots and I can't do that, but I have run the rhymes through each section of four verses, and it feels important, to keep that long march feeling with the rhymes. I thought about "hazy" for the piper, among a hundred other words, but settled on the clearest depiction of his preoccupation, other than "distracted," which is less than poetic. "All the bright chambers are eerie" is such a resonant line. HH refers to "ye valleys," and "ye shibbeens and bothies," - but not to "ye signorinas" - there's an abstraction from the body there, eerie in itself. We'll remember the buildings. Chamber - room, gun, heart. When I learned this in Scots 35 years ago, I thought the drummer was leaving with Lola, it didn't get across that he was leaving the photo with her. And for several days while working on this, I thought "for a photo and aa" was a weak throwaway put in for the rhyme. I woke up one morning and it dawned on me that it wasn't "and all" in the sense of "and everything," but carried into all for the leave it with Lola. So I put in the word "it" for clarity. I ordered a used copy of "A' the Bairns o' Adam, A Tribute to Hamish Henderson" on Greentrax, and HH sings it there, having "kind signorinas are cheerie" after "Jock makes a date," which seems natural anyway. The only change in meaning from the original (other than losing the penumbra of an ambiguous one) is "kyles," which are straits, are "hills" here. "Shaw" is a wood, not a shore. The CD I got is used, and it is from radio station KVMR, marked as such, and on the back the music director wrote on a label: "Scottish war songs only a purist patriot could love except maybe 5,8,14." Not included in 5, 8, 14, are Farewell to Sicily, The Speaking Heart, or Freedom Come-All-Ye. I rest my case for translation. HH says they had expected to return to Italy, but were headed back to Scotland and then to France. "Leave your kit this side of the wall" seems like an image for going into battle. Wouldn't they be taking the kit with them on the ferry?

    THE 51st HIGHLAND DIVISION'S FAREWELL TO SICILY

    The piper is brooding, the piper is fey,
    He will not come round for his vino today.
    The sky o'er Messina is foreign and grey
    And all the bright chambers are eerie.

    Then farewell ye banks o' Sicily   
    Fare ye well ye valley and shade
    There's no Jock will mourn the hills o' ye
    Poor bloody bastards are weary.

    And farewell ye banks o' Sicily
    Fare ye well ye valley and shade.
    There's no home can cure the ills o' ye
    Poor bloody bastards are weary.

    Then down the stair and line the waterside
    Wait your turn, the ferry's away
    Down the stair and line the waterside
    All the bright chambers are eerie

    The drummer is polished, the drummer is tall
    He cannot be seen for his webbing at all
He's buffed himself up for a photo and all
For to leave it with his Lola, his dearie.

And fare well ye dives o' Sicily
   Fare ye well ye cottage and hall
    We''ll all mind canteens and shanties
    Where Jock made a date with his dearie.

      Then fare well ye dives o' Sicily
    Fare ye well ye cottage and hall
   We'll all mind ye stables and shanties
    Where kind signorinas were cheerie.

    Then tune the pipes and drub the tenor drum
    Leave your kit this side o' the wall
    Then tune the pipes and drub the tenor drum—
    All the bright chambers are eerie.


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Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Gurney
Date: 17 Sep 11 - 03:40 AM

Er, you live and learn.
I always heard the line as 'An' aa the bricht charmers are here-ee.'
All the flash girls are here to see us off.
I've even sung it that way.

Not that it matters.


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Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: GUEST,Andrew Calhoun
Date: 16 Sep 11 - 11:44 AM

"heedless" for "dozie."

All translations are just that - something lost and something gained. As I've said, I sing it in Scots and performed it that way for many years. There is no reason not to translate this, it is the same as translating Baudelaire. People who speak French might say that English translations of Baudelaire can never be as good as the French or just "sound stupid." People who don't speak French might yet be grateful for a glimpse of his work. A translation can be done well or poorly, and perhaps I have done it poorly, but there is no reason not to make the attempt. I except my audiences will take more interest in the song, and its subjects, and in Hamish Henderson, if they are given it in a form they can understand, rather than hearing some charming Scots sounds that they can't. To claim that Scots in particular shouldn't be translated is a form of narrow-minded conservatism I can't abide. Poets translate other poets whose work they are called to. Scots is no different in this respect than any other language.
For me "bright chambers" refers among other things to the hearts of the men.


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Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 16 Sep 11 - 04:35 AM

I agree, but sometimes I want listeners to know what is meant.
I could not match Henderson's poetry if I spent a lifetime trying.


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Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Sep 11 - 04:05 AM

All the anglicised versions just sound stupid to me, English people should not sing this song at all if they can't get a grip on the Scots language,and then they really shouln't sing it anyway.

The translation into English is what we call ' bastardised '

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 16 Sep 11 - 03:25 AM

I sometimes anglicise verse two thusly-

The drumie he's polished the drummie he gleams,
He cannot be seen for his webbings bright sheen,
He's beazed himself up for a foto of him,
To leave with his lola his dearie.

I would then give "all the bricht chaulmers are eerie" as "The buildings stand empty and eerie"


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Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: GUEST,Andrew Calhoun
Date: 16 Sep 11 - 03:01 AM

According to Dick Gaughan, Scots is a separate language, not a dialect. I enjoy singing it in Scots. But I'd also like to have the song understood. I translated "Epie Morrie," which I also used to perform in crackling Scots, and when people could hear the story, they were on the edge of their seats. I really didn't think this was translatable, but y'all were so rude to the fellow's attempt earlier that I thought I'd take a pass at it. Well, a couple days' obsession. I'm happy with it, and expect Hamish would have appreciated it as well. I do understand why he wrote it in Scots, and that particular effect is lost, but there is more than that rendered in the song - the otherworldiness of performing ordinary activities under exhaustion and the threat of death. That to me is the heart of the song and its poetry, and I think it does translate here. Cheers folks, it's not as if you don't still have the original.

THE 51st HIGHLAND DIVISION'S FAREWELL TO SICILY

    The piper is haunted, the piper is fey,
    He will not come round for his vino today.
    The sky o'er Messina is foreign and grey
    And all the bright chambers are eerie.

    Then fare well ye banks o' Sicily
    Fare ye well ye valley and shade.
    There's no Jock will mourn the hills o' ye
    Poor bloody bastards are weary.

    And fare well ye banks o' Sicily
    Fare ye well ye valley and shade.
    There's no home can cure the ills o' ye
    Poor bloody bastards are weary.

    Then down the stair and line the waterside
    Wait your turn, the ferry's away
    Down the stair and line the waterside
    All the bright chambers are eerie

    The drummer is polished, the drummer is shined
    He cannot be seen for his webbin's so fine
    He's spiffed himself up for a photo to sign
    To leave with his Lola, his dearie.

      Then fare well ye dives o' Sicily
    Fare ye well ye cottage and hall
   We'll all mind ye cowsheds and shanties
    Where kind signorinas were cheerie.

And fare well ye dives o' Sicily
   Fare ye well ye cottage and hall
    We''ll all mind canteens and shanties
    Where Jock made a date with his dearie.

    Then tune the pipes and drub the tenor drum
    Leave your kit this side o' the wall
    Then tune the pipes and drub the tenor drum—
    All the bright chambers are eerie.


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Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 16 Sep 11 - 02:44 AM

"shore" and "haunted" are not even dialect, they are English!


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Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Liberty Boy
Date: 16 Sep 11 - 02:07 AM

IMHO this has to be song in Scot's dialact. It's meaningless otherwise!


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Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: GUEST,Andrew Calhoun
Date: 16 Sep 11 - 12:07 AM

going with "valley and shade,"
and "the ferry's away."

ok


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Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: GUEST,Andrew Calhoun
Date: 15 Sep 11 - 11:40 PM

thanks, Charmion, new to posting here though I've ended up here a hundred times looking for information. Getting closer to this. Could use "downcast" or "useless" instead of "haunted" but haunted is the most beautiful sound here, resounding in "foreign" and "all." It's the sound Hamish had through the song, "awe," but I've lost that mostly in the first half. "Useless" might be better. I'm singing from Farewell to the Creeks, A C C D, A C C D, with B as instrumental break. Actually I think it translates well, if you put the time in. I expect The Iliad was better in Greek, but there's no reason not to make it sensible.

    THE 51st HIGHLAND DIVISION'S FAREWELL TO SICILY

    The piper is haunted, the piper is fey,
    He will not come round for his vino today.
    The sky o'er Messina is foreign and grey
    And all the bright chambers are eerie.

    Then fare well ye banks o' Sicily
    Fare ye well ye valley and grove.
    There's no Jock will mourn the hills o' ye
    Poor bloody bastards are weary.

    And fare well ye banks o' Sicily
    Fare ye well ye valley and grove.
    There's no home can cure the ills o' ye
    Poor bloody bastards are weary.

    Then down the stair and line the waterside
    Wait your turn, the ferry's gone over
    Down the stair and line the waterside
    All the bright chambers are eerie

    The drummer is polished, the drummer is shined
    You won't know the man for his webbin's so fine
    He's spiffed himself up for a photo to sign
    To leave with his Lola, his dearie.

      Then fare well ye dives o' Sicily
    Fare ye well ye shanty and hall
   We'll all mind ye sheds and huts fondly (or sheds and hutches)
    Where kind signorinas were cheerie.

And fare well ye dives o' Sicily
   Fare ye well ye shanty and hall
    We''ll all mind ye boozers and bothies
    Where Jock made a date with his dearie.

    Then tune the pipes and drub the tenor drum
    Leave your kit this side o' the wall
    Then tune the pipes and drub the tenor drum—
    All the bright chambers are eerie.


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Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 15 Sep 11 - 09:17 AM

Why "off" for "awa" instead of just "away"
Why "alien" for "unco" instead of just "uncommon"
Why "grove" for "shore"?


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Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Charmion
Date: 15 Sep 11 - 08:51 AM

That's pretty good, Andrew. I've never been able to perform this very Lallands song with my sharp Canadian accent, so I might just use your version.

Next time you post, do name yourself in the From field.


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Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Sep 11 - 02:38 AM

THE 51st HIGHLAND DIVISION'S FAREWELL TO SICILY

    The piper is fading, the piper is fey,
    He will not come round for his vino today.
    The sky o'er Messina's an alien grey
    And all the bright chambers are eerie.

    Then fare well ye banks o' Sicily
    Fare ye well ye valley and grove.
    There's no Jock will mourn the hills o' ye
    Poor bloody bastards are weary.

    And fare well ye banks o' Sicily
    Fare ye well ye valley and grove.
    There's no home to cure the ills o' ye
    Poor bloody bastards are weary.

    Then down the stair and line the waterside
    Wait your turn, the ferry is off
    Then down the stair and line the waterside
    All the bright chambers are eerie,

    The drummer is polished, the drummer is shined
    You won't know the man for he's dressed up so fine
    He's spiffed himself up for a photo to sign
    To leave with his Lola, his dearie.

       And fare well ye dives o' Sicily
   Fare ye well ye cottage and hall
    We'll remember ye barrooms and bothies
    Where Jock made a date with his dearie.

Then fare well ye dives o' Sicily
    Fare ye well ye cottage and hall
   We'll remember ye shacks and cowsheds
    Where kind signorinas were cheerie.

    Then tune the pipes and drub the tenor drum
    Leave your kit this side o' the wall
    Then tune the pipes and drub the tenor drum—
    All the bright chambers are eerie.

first pass at a translation - Andrew Calhoun


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Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 29 Jul 09 - 04:45 AM

What on earth is Rumncoke talking about ? certainly got nowt to do with Hamish Hendersons song or the tune 51st Highland Divisions Farewell To Sicily.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: GUEST,Jim Knowledge
Date: 28 Jul 09 - 12:57 PM

I `ad that Tony Deane out of "Elsie`s Band" in my cab the other day. I picked `im up at Cecil Sharpe `ouse and `e looked well pleased with `imself.
I said, " `ere Tony, you`re looking chipper. Your cd out or something"
`e said, " Nah. I`ve been looking up the meaning of the words in "Banks of Sicily" for my new book. It`s all about soldiers and what they say and I found it all in library."
I said, "Blimey. You learn something every day, don`tcha?. I thought it was about where the Mafia stuffed their money!!"


Whaddam I Like??


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Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: goatfell
Date: 28 Jul 09 - 12:39 PM

the tune is called 51st highland farewell?


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Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Rumncoke
Date: 28 Jul 09 - 12:33 PM

Only the tune is Italian - the words are English - very English with all those 'whithers' I think.

I learned it some ten or more years before Singing Together - we had to 'mouth the words' in a very overdone manner - the teacher was trying to obliterate the Yorkshire tone, and failing.

She was the one who got the morris dance teacher sacked for falling of her bicycle and showing her knee length bloomers to the whole school - I used to think that peripatetic meant to smell of hair conditioner. (aka gin)

She'd have had three fits at the idea of a dialect being spoken - never mind sung.

I wonder what she would have made of my reading Chaucer in the original, so English but not at all proper!!

Anne Croucher


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Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: akenaton
Date: 28 Jul 09 - 10:57 AM

Back to "fey"

Hamish wrote it right!...The old Scots meaning was spellbound, whimsical,otherworldly.
That fits in with dozie perfectly.....maybe "introspective"

Fey was used often in the West of Scotland to describe someone who was dreamy or appering to be under a spell.....Ake


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Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Noreen
Date: 28 Jul 09 - 07:53 AM

Anne- that song is called Marianina, and was in Singing Together Summer 1968- identified as an Italian folksong at folkinfo :0)


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Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Jim McLean
Date: 28 Jul 09 - 04:35 AM

The pipie is dozie, the pipie is fey
He wullnae come roun for his vino the day
The sky owre Messina is unco an gray
An aa the bricht chaumers are eerie

How would you rhyme 'fu' with 'grey'? and does it mean he was too drunk too get his daily dose of wine or whatever booze he drank?


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Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: oggie
Date: 27 Jul 09 - 06:02 PM

Couple of points - I got told off by a piper once for singing "fey", he insisted that the word was "fu" meaning drunk. Not what Henederson wrote but an example of the folk process in action and at least it makes sense.

Secondly, there is film of Henderson describing how the song was written (BBC or C4 documentary many years ago). He was on the dockside at Salerno where the Scots were embarking and the Pipes broke into Farewell to the Creeks and as he said "The words came unbidden".

It is important to remember that the troops embarking for the invasion of Italy were the 8th Army. They had fought through North Africa, invaded Sicily and after a brief respite were about to invade again. These were battle hardened but weary troops who almost uniquely had been fighting throughout the war. They also knew the odds on survival.

Steve


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Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: goatfell
Date: 27 Jul 09 - 10:42 AM

what happened to LP's, they are now vinal


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Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Rumncoke
Date: 27 Jul 09 - 10:31 AM

At junior school we sang

O'er the ocean flies a merry fay
Soft her wings are as the clouds of day

a very English song.

Also - eerie is quite common - it's use to describe abandoned rooms would surely be on the lines of strange and uncanny due to their being unoccupied, inducing a feeling of panic by their desolation.

Anne Croucher


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Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: meself
Date: 27 Jul 09 - 09:49 AM

This curious statement appears above, from back in '02:

'"Fey" is quite widespread in the USA and Canada, quite possibly because there is no real substitute. Because it is an old, old word, it has several meanings now, which are usually clear from the context of the writing or speaking.'

This is not consistent with my experience - I don't believe I have ever heard this word spoken in Canada, and I've spent time all over the country, and listened to a lot of talk. And I think it's fairly rare to encounter it in print in North America, at least in any kind of serious work published within the past sixty years or so. Outside of certain children's books, you would be more likely to find it used in the sense of "precious" rather than in reference to the supernatural. That's my impression, anyway, for the benefit of future lexicographers.


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Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 27 Jul 09 - 08:08 AM

I notice that although only one of my grandparents was Scottish, I could instantly understand most Scots dialect (Burns,etc) from a young age... think it's passed down in the blood?

With me it was a mixture of Scots relatives & a regular diet of Oor Wullie & The Broons from an early age; that and being brought up in Northumbria of course, which is culturally closer to Scotland than it is to England (WAV, if you're reading, please take note of this!) but I do believe in more occult methods of transmission as you suggest.

To hear Clive singing Banks of Sicily go to http://www.myspace.com/greatheresy - it's the first track, but it's set to random, but just click on it to play. Clive was a friend of Hamish, so this is first hand stuff!


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Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Jim McLean
Date: 27 Jul 09 - 06:18 AM

My sister, when at school in Paisley, West Scotland, was asked to translate "Oh fegs" said the old lady.
She wrote "Oh cigarettes" said the old lady.


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Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Selkie1
Date: 27 Jul 09 - 05:44 AM

No, It's down to intelligent listening,guesswork and a good ear.but I doubt that you would understand "most Scots dialect" as most Scots dont! Henderson,like Burns before him, borrowed dialect words from other regions of Scotland if they fitted better, or enhanced the picture.On occasions, Burns even modified words to suit a line. In one of my own dialect songs,"Lallans Love" (Wildgoose Records WGS346 CD "Ingleneuk") the first line is, "When cranreuch cauld,has gar'd the gimmers coorie doon ahint the wa'" Now cranreuch, (hoar frost,Scots gael.) is not an Ayrshire word,but it does fit the line I think. The Auld,Scotch,dialect has died out in most areas,but a few try to keep it alive. I recall my brother being informed at our village school in the 50's that his "bits (shoes) were a' glaur" (mud) I don't think that many Culton weans, would understand that now.


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Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: hannahma
Date: 27 Jul 09 - 03:25 AM

(lurker timidly raises hand)
I first heard the song on some folkie record, probably the Chad Mitchell Trio. Eventually I came to love the real thing. Maybe Anglicising the Scots song is "taking a hammer to it" but at least it introduces people to a great tradition, and as they develop,they come to learn and love the Scots language. Those who record and sing in Scots should consider posting a "translation" on the liner notes, etc. for beginners.
    I notice that although only one of my grandparents was Scottish, I could instantly understand most Scots dialect (Burns,etc) from a young age... think it's passed down in the blood?


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Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 06:00 AM

GUEST, daveham

The McCalmans DID record the song on the album "Side by Side" (Transatlantic TRA 346, 1977), whose tracklist is:

Side One: Side By Side By Side (sondheim); Romeo and Juliet (Stan Kelly); Dancing Days (John Connolly/Bill Meek); Bellman's Song (Bill Meek); The Chair at the Table (unknown); Hornpipe; Farewell to Sicily (Henderson)
Side Two: Sheriff Muir; Loving Hanne; German Lairdie; Standing In the Rain (Sydney Carter); Broadside Man (John Connolly); Bound to Go; Side By Side (H Woods)

And yes, I own the vinyl, but I am not selling...:-)


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Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 03:09 AM

In my humble opinion it's better not to sing it than to destroy it's character by anglicising the words, the beautiful Scots dialect confers more than just the literal meaning of words.

eric


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Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: GUEST,Chaos_crafter
Date: 30 Jul 08 - 10:48 PM

Oh FWIW, I've strongly on the don't anglicise side in that part of the debate.
The song is beautiful in its original form. The reason (to me at least) for translating is to learn to understand it better and to better interpret other songs in the same dialect.

I'd love it if someone put it down in original form with the translation along-side for reference though.


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Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: GUEST,chaos_crafter
Date: 30 Jul 08 - 10:32 PM

Another way of looking at "A' the bricht chaulmers are eerie" would be "all the bright chambers are darkened"
In other words all the rooms that once were full of light and joy are now dark and abandoned as their tenants depart.
All the lights are going out.


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Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Bill D
Date: 22 May 08 - 09:23 PM

on this   page there are 8 McAlmans albums, but not that song. Perhaps they never recorded it.


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Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: GUEST,Dave MacKenzie
Date: 22 May 08 - 07:20 PM

I seem to remember reading somewhere that swaddies is the original form from one of the Indian languages, and that squaddies was a later form by association with the English "squad".

It's a long time ago, but I can hear Hamish singing bastards with that intonation of his, but I also remember swaddies.

As for antrin, the only other place I can recall coming across it is in MacDiarmid's "Watergaw".


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Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 22 May 08 - 07:18 AM

I love this song more than word can say, but every time I try singing it I start crying.

Nice to know Hamish sang bastards; I got mine off Clive Powell, who got it off Hamish, and Clive sings swaddies as he would of course because that's the kind of guy Clive is!


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Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: GUEST,daveham
Date: 22 May 08 - 07:09 AM

What an education !
may i say that while agreeing with the sentiment of Scabby Douglas i.e. that "anglicising this great song is like taking a hammer to it."
I say that to do justice to Hamish and to all others who have associations, particularly the squaddies(my dad for one), the anglicised version will spread the word better.
However, my original search was to find the song version by the Macalmans. Who knows where I can find it. They did it on the Wally White ? show on Radio 2 ? about 30 years ago.


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Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Jim McLean
Date: 08 Jan 04 - 11:13 AM

OK Eric, I knew Hamish well and he always sang 'bastards'. As you say, later on but only in 'proper' company, he sang 'swaddies'. When he was pissed (which was quite often) or in the house, he always sang 'bastards'. If you get the chance listen to him singing on the Greentrax CD. I know he was a great scholar and writer but I always got the feeling he learnt Lowland Scottish as he learned German, as a foreign language because when he sings Fareweel etc., he says 'water' not 'waater' and 'mourn' not 'murn'. He almost sounds like an Englishman singing Scottish .... not, however, in my opinion, as bad as McColl.
Jim


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Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 08 Jan 04 - 05:20 AM

Hamish did use both bastards and swaddies, as I said earlier he sent
Charles Causley the words fo his book Modern Folk Ballads which contained the Bastards line and said this was his earlier version, the later version used ' swaddies '
eric


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Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Jim McLean
Date: 07 Jan 04 - 09:51 AM

According to Encarta: Swaddie (solder) [Early 19th century. Formed from a dialectal word used as an insult for a country person, of uncertain origin: perhaps from a Scandinavian source.]
The word 'swedebashers' is used as a derogatory term for farmers/peasants in the UK. Could there be a link?


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Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Jim McLean
Date: 07 Jan 04 - 08:37 AM

'Swaddies' can be found in 19th century American literature and also appears in The Trooper Cut Down In His Prime where it it defined as an English slang term for a soldier. I agree that it is not a particularly Scottish word as the Scottish word 'swad' means a swede or a turnip. Hamish didn't write 'swaddies'; he wrote (and sang) 'bastards'. I think 'polite' company may have replaced his original word.


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Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 07 Jan 04 - 07:37 AM

No. As I said, it's a separate word in its own right; not Scottish in particular, I think, though it probably continued in use there longer. The slang term Squaddy is only just getting into dictionaries, and I wouldn't be surprised if it arose by analogy with the older term, though we'd need somebody with bigger dictionaries than I have to confirm -or otherwise- that thought.


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Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 07 Jan 04 - 07:28 AM

Hamish wrote ' swaddies ' just dialect for the English term 'squaddie ' ie a member of a squad etc.
eric


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Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: GUEST,Santa
Date: 07 Jan 04 - 07:11 AM

Yes, I was on my way to correct myself...you beat me to it - tea and a wad it was.

Wasn't a swabbie a sailor swabbing i.e. cleaning the deck?


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