Lyr Req: Jessie MacDonald of Balranald
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Lyr Req: Jessie MacDonald of Balranald

GUEST,Marina 17 Feb 07 - 11:41 AM
Big Tim 18 Feb 07 - 11:40 AM
GUEST,Marina 19 Feb 07 - 08:16 AM
GUEST,Heather 29 Nov 10 - 03:32 AM
GUEST,FairEllender 30 Nov 10 - 02:42 PM
GUEST 12 Jun 11 - 07:47 PM
GUEST,Richard 16 Sep 11 - 03:38 PM
Jim Dixon 20 Sep 11 - 01:33 PM
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Subject: Lyr Req: Jessie MacDonald of Balranald
From: GUEST,Marina
Date: 17 Feb 07 - 11:41 AM


I'm looking for some Scottish Gaelic lyrics, I hope you can help! The song I'm looking for tells the story of Jessie MacDonald of Balranald North Uist, who eloped with her lover in 1850.
I've heard this song from Julie Fowlis live at BBC Travelling Folk around Christmas time last year, but I don't know anything else...

Thanks for helping!
Marina from Italy

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jessie MacDonald of Balranald
From: Big Tim
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 11:40 AM

Is there a Gaelic title?

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jessie MacDonald of Balranald
From: GUEST,Marina
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 08:16 AM

I think the title is A T-Aparan Goirid 's A T-Aparan Ur...
I don't know anything else!

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jessie MacDonald of Balranald
From: GUEST,Heather
Date: 29 Nov 10 - 03:32 AM

Hi Marina,
I just found this post so don't know if you still want the info about Jessie of Balranald.
The CD by Julie Fowlis is called Cuilidh and the 3rd song "An t-Aparan Goirid's an t-Aparan Ur: Oran do Sheasaidh Bhaile Raghnaill" is about Jessie.
Jessie was my partner, Noel's g.g.grandmother.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jessie MacDonald of Balranald
From: GUEST,FairEllender
Date: 30 Nov 10 - 02:42 PM

A late reply, but here are the lyrics from Julie's website

"Seo fear dhe na h-rain a rinneadh mu dheidhinn Seasaidh Bhaile Raghnaill, nuair a theich i le fear s an Eilean Sgitheanach. Mo thaing do Cheit-Ann Hna airson a cuideachaidh 's a comhairle. 'S e brthair mo mhthar, Anndra, a dh'iarr orm an t‑ran seo ionnsachadh an toiseach, agus tha mi 'n dchas gun crd e ris!

This is one of many, many songs composed about the famous elopement of Jessie of Balranald with a Skye man. She was supposed to marry a man named Cooper, but she took advantage of her engagement celebrations to elope on the ship "Eliza Jane"with a MacDonald man from the Isle of Skye.

Thanks to Mark Kelly for this one, and to Kathleen MacInnes.

An t‑Aparan Goirid 's an t‑Aparan r:
ran do Sheasaidh Bhaile Raghnaill
An t-aparan goirid 's an t-aparan r,
An t-aparan goirid nach ruig ach a' ghlin,
'S nuair bha mi g 's mi furast' rim lb',
'S e dh'fhg mi fo len ach an t-aparan r.

Bha cli ort, a Sheasaidh, 's tu 'n ainnir bha suairc,
A chumadh rid ghealladh 's a leanadh rid luaidh;
'S ann unnad bha 'n spiorad, 's tu 'chinneadh nam buadh
Nach gabhadh an giorag 's nach tilleadh ron chuan.

'S ann ort a bha bithas san dthaich a bh' ann:
Cha ghabhadh tu Cooper, cha b' bhuidh' leat a chainnt;
'S ann bha thu nad bhitaidh, 's tu 'm flr gun mheang,
'S nam faighinn mo dhrachd, bhiodh dic leat air limh.

'S nuair fhuair an Eliza Miss Jessie air brd,
'S ann oirre bha 'n sgoinn 's iad a' hoidhsteadh nan sel;
Bha muir air gach taobh dhith a' sgaoileadh mu brd
'S bha h‑aigne cho aotrom ri faoileag air ln.

Bha seorsa duine aca mach air a' watch
A' gerd a' bhaile 's na thigeadh mun cuairt,
Ach cheangaileadh a chasan 's a lmhan gu cruaidh,
'S mun tinig a' mhadainn, chaidh a ragadh le fuachd.

Dh'fhg thu do mhthair is d' athair fo len
Nach d' rinn iad dhut banais le aighear 's le cel,
Ach tillidh tu fhathast do dh'Uibhist an ern',
'S bidh sicar an glainne 's todaidh ga l!

The Short Apron and the New Apron:
Song for Jessie of Balranald
The short apron and the new apron;
the short apron which only reaches the knee
When I was young and easily led
the new apron was the cause of my hurt.

You were famous, Jessie, as a polite young woman
who would keep your word and be faithful to your beloved.
How spirited you were, a descendant of the truly virtuous clan,
which knew not fear and for whom the sea held no dread.

You became famous in the area.
You wouldn't entertain Cooper; you cared not for his conversation.
What a beauty you were, a flower without blemish,
and had I my wish, a duke would have you by the hand.

When Miss Jessie boarded the Eliza,
there was a flurry of activity as the sails were hoisted.
The sea was parting for her bow
and her spirit was as light-hearted as a seagull.

They had a kind of man on watch,
guarding the village and all who approached.
But his feet and hands were tightly bound and,
by morning, he had stiffened with the cold.

You left your mother and father depressed
because they were unable to provide for you a wedding with music and merry-making.
But you'll return some time to Uist of the barley
and there will be sugar in glasses for drinking toddies!"

Hope it helps!

Fair Ellender

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jessie MacDonald of Balranald
Date: 12 Jun 11 - 07:47 PM

When the exploits of Donald and his associates became known, quite a number of songs were written commemorating the event. The writer recalls hearing some of them in his youth, and some are still sung in Skye, but as they have never been recorded in print, whole songs have been entirely lost and of those which are still remembered only fragments remain.

In order that they be not entirely lost, the following verses, remembered by Mrs Annie Arnot, Jonathan Macdonald and others are given. They will perhaps help others to recall some of the lost verses, if not the lost songs. The translations are by the writer.

        When Jessie was missed at Balranald.

        An sin thuirt Cooper ri Allie
        "Dean cabhag's no dean moil'
        Gheibh thu crodh is baile fearann
        Faigh mo leannan 's i air chall.

        Gheibh thu coach agus each slubhlach
        Cuir srian dubailt na cheann
        Falbh a nis's thoir ort na Hearradh
        'Siubhail e fo cheann gu ceann."

        Dh' eirich Allie noch's a mhadam
        'S thug leis each bu bhrasa ceum
        Nuair a rainig e a Rodil
        Bha 's Eliza mach fo bhreid.

        Nuair a rainig e a Rodil
        Fhuair e soirbheas nach robh gann
        Fhuair e sealladh air an ubhrach
        A rinn air Choopair call.

        Failte dhut, deagh shlainte dhuit, etc. Hail to thee, etc.


As Donald and his companions leave Rodil compelled to leave Jessie behind.
        An sin thuirt Maighstir Domhnull
        "A Shednaid na bi g a'm ch.oidh
        Oir raun tig da JDhi-Domhnuich
        Bidh sin posd' ge boil leln cridh"

        Cooper then exhorted Allan,
        "Hasten and make no delay;
        Whoso finds my missing sweetheart
        Well shall I his work repay

        Take a pair of swiftest horses
        And a carriage strong to ride,
        Go and search the whole of Harris
        And bring back my missing bride."

        With morning light Allan departed,
        Mounted on the swiftest grey;
        But as he approached to Rodil
        The Elizabeth had left the bay.

        When he did arrive in Rodil
        Seeking the eloping pair,
        He beheld the ship Eliza
        Far at sea beyond his care.

        To his sweetheart Donald whispered,
        "Jessie do not for ma mourn.
        Ere two Sabbath suns have risen
        We to fetch you shall return."


Describing the attack which followed on Rodil House

        Sud far an robh an "hurly harley"
        Direadh agus bearnadh stadhir
        Bristeadh ghlasan, sgoltadh dhorsan
        Thug iad mach I neo-air- thaing.
        Thanaig mach an baillidh Cooper
        "S gunna dubailte na laimh
        Labhair e ann Beurla's Gaidhlig
        "Who is ther!" is "Co sud annl"

Another bard describes the deparure from Rodil with Jessie on board.

        Nuair fhuair an Eliza
        Mo Shessie air bord
        'S ann oirre bha'm broilleach
        'N am boiseadh nan seol.

        'S nuair fhuair I lan aodaich
        'S muir sgaoilte fo sroin
        Gun'd fhaldh I cho aotrom
        Ri faoileag air lon.

        Ne'er was seen such hurly harley,
        Climbing and descending stairs;
        Locks were broken, doors burst open'
        Jessie soon was borne away.

        Then cried out the baillie Cooper,
        Loaded pistol in his hand
        First in English, then in Gaelic,
        "Who is there!" and "Co sud ann!"

        When aboard the Eliza
        Jessie sagely was brought,
        The sails fully billowed
        As the fresh breeze they caught.

        And when under full canvas,
        With the wide sea ahead,
        Like a gull on the waves
        O'er the water she sped.


After the Elizabeth had left Rodil the vessel was later seen rounding Rhudh Hunish in the extreme north of Skye making for Gairloch. The watchers ashore addressed the following verses to Donald and the others on board.        

        'A fhleasgaich oig a dh'fhag an duthaich
        Be mo dhurachd dhurachd dhuit gu dian
        Turas taitneach, ruigheachd sabhailt
        Dh'Ionsaigh ait, dom bheil thu traill.

        Failte dhuit, deagh shlainte leat
        Sud slainte, chuirim as do dheigh
        Failte dhuit, deagh shlainte leat.

        Nuir chaidh thu tim cheall an Rudha
        Bha mi dubhach as do do dheih
        Gus an till thu rinn a rithist
        Biodh gach slighe dhuitsa reidh,
        Failte dhuit, etc

        Gallant youth from us departing,
        This my fervent wish I send
        Pleasant voyage, safe arrival,
        Kindly welcome from good friends.

        Hail to thee, good health to thee,
        This the greeting I would send;
        Hail to thee, good health to thee

        As you sail beyond the headland,
        Sad were we to see you sail;
        And until we bid you welcome,
        May good fortune never fail.

Another bard pays to the young couple his tribute.

        Is ur a chraobh bho'n drinn sibh fas
        Na bheil fo thalabh is gu h'ard
        Cha'n eil searg am bun no'm bar
        Anns an ghuithas laidir og.

        Cha chreid mi nach dean sibh feum
        tha sibh ionnsachte le cheil
        Maighdean uasal ort ann deidh
        Fhuair thu I 'n ceitean na h-oig.

        Flourishing is the tree from which you have sprung,
        Sound the root and strong the branch;
        Neither blight nor yellow foliage
        In lithe and youthful pine.

        You are both of the Macdonald line,
        The red hand is your heritage,
        With silver salmon and rampant lion;
        That and the fresh green heath.

        Certain we are that in future you'll prosper
        Good birth and learning you both do inherit
        A well-born maid, Donald, had made you her choice,
        Her heart you did win in the May of her youth.

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Subject: G'tar chords: An t-aparan goirid's an t-aparan Ur
From: GUEST,Richard
Date: 16 Sep 11 - 03:38 PM

I've been looking all over the interweb for the guitar chords used in Julie Fowlis's lovely song 'An t-aparan goirid's an t-aparan Ur' (from her 'Cuilidh' album). But without success.

I'd very much like to work out an instrumental version of the tune for acoustic guitar. I've been able to figure out some of the chords but there seem (to me at least) to be many chord changes as the verse progresses, and I just can't figure out what they are.

Any help would be very much appreciated.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jessie MacDonald of Balranald
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 20 Sep 11 - 01:33 PM

GUEST,Richard: If you want to discuss a different song than the one this thread is about, it's best to start a new thread with the song title as the thread title. More people will see your request that way. Also, we don't like to see people discussing more than one song per thread; overlapping discussions can get messy and confusing.

Ah, but I see you've already done that. See here: Chord Req: An t-Aparan Goirid's an t-Aparan Ur.

Good job. I hope you get some results.

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