Boyle Traditional Singers' Circle - Ciorcal Ámhránaíochta Traidisiúnta Mhainistir na Búille

3rd Saturday of every month. Next session: 21st March 2020. CANCELLED

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Fáilte - Welcome
to the Boyle Singers' circle - Ciorcal Amhránaíochta Mhainistir na Búille

Traditional unaccompanied singing, in English and Irish.

Dodd’s Crescent Bar (back room), The Crescent, Boyle, Co. Roscommon, Ireland.
The third Saturday of every month, all year around, 9.30pm onwards.

All singers and listeners welcome.

April 2015, Roisín White, TG4 Amhránaí na Bliana, guest at the Boyle Tradional Singers Session

Notes, not the singing ones, were kept for the first half of this session, and maybe for the second half too, but if they were, those ones have mysteriously vanished - again. [Enjoying yourself too much to your mind to the task – again - Ed.]
We had Roisín White as our guest and she was accompanied by her husband Alwyn, also an excellent singer.
Roisín kicked off with Erin’s flowery plains, a song she recorded on her album, Le Buíochas, With thanks. This song is also sung by The Usher Family, Co. Louth, on the ‘Traditional singing from County Louth’, a CD of field recordings made in 1974, featuring Pat Usher, Mary Ann Carolan and their cousin Petey Curran and relaunched in 2014:
Of all the nations in this earth, I solemnly protest,
This matchless island of my birth, I surely love the best.
Roisín also sang the Flower of Magherally. A certain person present who makes an attempt at that song every so often was listening carefully to the line, ‘of all the wealth that is possessed, by the great –oh’ heard (open to correction here) ‘the greatest Raleigh, oh’ from Roisín. This word has been a bit of a mystery to many over the years. Sam Henry suggested a couple of possibilities: ‘‘the great titter-a-tally O’, the reference being in all probability to Damer, of Shronill, near Tipperary, the richest man in Ireland about the year 1800, or it may be a corruption of ‘the great Tetrarch Ali O!’ as the old song makers were very fond of learned allusions.’ Take  your pick.
Alwyn sang The (Banks of the) Sweet Prim(e)roses: As I roved out one bright May morning ... introducing the first birds to the evening – ‘songbirds do change their voices’ – a pre-sound for our May session. As we’re taking part in the (almost) nationwide Bird Song Project, the Boyle May singing session will emphasise the theme of birds, and any song references to them will receive particular attention (and enthusiastic applause).
             I will go down in some lonesome valley
Where no man on earth shall e'er me find,
Where the pretty little songbirds do change their voices
And every moment blows blusterous winds.
Jackie Boyce sang ‘O’Reilly from the Co. Leitrim’, a song he has on the album he made with Derry singer, Jim Farland, 'Our ship she lies ready'. Jackie is from Co Down and is the author of 'Songs of the Co Down', 2005. There’s a note on from Jackie: ‘I'd like to let folk know who are interested in the book 'Songs of the County Down' that the publisher 'Ballyhay Books' is considering reprinting this book in paperback and that a CD of some of the songs within may be available in the near future.’ Has this happened, Jackie?
It was back to summer and singing birds for Donna, ‘Oh the happy summer of the golden days’, Clíona, ‘The cuckoo’s a pretty bird’ and Tony, ‘The Cocks are crowing’. Next some landscape: Bríd from Sligo was ‘Down the moor’, Marie, ‘The lambs in the green fields’, Helen, ‘On the wild plains of Mayo’, a song about Úna Bhán, and Frank, ‘Verdant slopes of the Kerry Hills’ a Tim Dennehy song.

Around to Eugene and it’s a migratory bird, of sorts. A macaronic song by Donncha Rua Mac Conmara, (1715–1810), ‘As I was walking one evening fair, Is mé go déanach i mBaile Sheáin [St John’s, Newfoundland]’. This song’s tone shifts constantly, depending on whether the lines are in Irish or English. It’s thought the poet was in Newfoundland when he wrote both this and another well-known song, ‘Bánchnuic Éireann Óighe’.
As I was walking one evening fair
Is mé go déanach i mBaile Sheáin
I met a gang of English blades
Is iad á dtraochadh ag a namhaid
I sang and drank so free and airy
With those courageous men of war
Cé go mb’fearr liom Sasanaigh ag rith le foréigean
Is gur iad Clanna Gael bocht a bhuaigh an lá.

I spent my money by being freakish
Drinking, raking and playing cards,
Cé nach raibh airgead agam ná gréithre
Ná rud sa tsaol seo ní gan aird
Then I turned a jolly sailor
For work and labour I worked abroad
Cé gur maith linn gur mórán bréag san
Is gur beag den tsaothar a thit lem' láimh.

Now Newfoundland is a wide plantation
It will be my station before I die
Cé  go mb’fhearr liom a  bheith in Éirinn
Ag díol gartaeirí nó ag dul fé’n gcoill.
There you may find a virtuous lady
A charming fair one to please the eye
Ó paca straipanna is measa tréithe
Is go mb’fhearr liom féin ar bheith as a radharc.

We will drink a health, boys to Royal George
Our Chief Commander, nár ordaigh Críost
Is achnaímís ar Mhuire Mháthair,
É féin is a ghardaí a leagadh síos
We’ll fear no cannon nor loud alarms
While noble George will be our guide;
Is a Chríost go bhfeicfead-sa iad á gcarnadh
Ag an mac so ar fán uainn ag dul don bhFrainc.
Clare stayed in the late 18th century with the story of 1798’s 36 heroes shot on Dunlavin Green. Jim Bainbridge came back to 20th century atrocities of war in Franco’s Spain.  Jim has recorded this song, ‘Owt for Nowt’ by John Watt on his album, ‘Lights on the River’:
When you're lounging on the beaches of Espagna's sunny shore,
And the hawkers group like leeches ' helados, por favour?',
Remember Franco's icy reign as you ride on RENFE's rails,
Think of the terror and the pain that lurked in Spanish jails.

Espagna, you bled from Bilboa to Seville,
While the ghosts of your dead,
Oh they walk the beaches still,
So while you're busy getting laid and you're raising merry hell,
Think of what the price was paid for your dirt cheap San Miguel
Breege stayed local with the ‘Boatman of Lough Key’ and Roisín finished the first half with, firstly, ‘I was quartered in the town of Boyle‘ and then the ‘Song of Riddles’.
The second half was equally full of great songs and singers with recitations adding to the enjoyment of the evening.
Next session in May is the one where songs about birds will be most welcome, although not obligatory. Come along and warble.

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