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Flora MacNeil A Phiuthrag 'S A Phiuthar Sister O Sister

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Uploaded on Aug 27, 2010

A phiùthrag 's a phiuthar

A phiùthrag 's a phiuthar, hu ru
Ghaoil a phiuthar, hu ru
Nach truagh leat fhèin, ho ho ill eo
Nochd mo chumha, hu ru

Nach truagh leat fhèin, hu ru
Nochd mo chumha, hu ru
Mi'm bothan beag, ho ho ill eo
ìseal cumhag, hu ru

Mi'm bothan beag, hu ru
ìseal cumhag, hu ru
Gun sgrath dhìon, ho ho ill eo
Gun lùb tughaidh, hu ru

Gun sgrath dhìon air, hu ru
Gun lùb tughaidh hu ru, hu ru
Ach uisge nam beann, ho ho ill eo
Sìos 'na shruth leis, hu ru

Ach uisge nam beann, hu ru
Sìos 'na shruth leis, hu ru
Hèabhal mhòr, ho ho ill eo
Nan each dhriumfhionn, hu ru

Little sister, sister
Little sister, sister
Beloved sister
Do you not pity
My grief tonight
Do you not pity
My grief tonight
In a little hut I am
Low and narrow

In a little hut I am
Low and narrow With no protection
and no thatching

With no protection
and no thatching
But the rain from the hills
streaming into it

But the rain from the hills
Streaming into it
Mighty Heaval
with the white-maned horses



Recorded in 1951 by Alan Lomax and Hamish Henderson
Here are more songs from the same sessions:
http://research.culturalequity.org/rc...


From Notes to SONGS IN SCOTS GAELIC:

22. A PHIUTHRAG 'S A PHIUTHAR - CRAIG: 1949 p4 - KENNEDY FSBI 1975 #22 p50 notes p62 -- Kitty McLEOD with a group of 8 women rec by BBC, Glasgow 1951: BBC LP 28767/ COLUMBIA SL-209 1952/ ROUNDER CD-1743 1998 - EMBER FA-2055 1968 titled "Sister's Lament" (also on this LP is "Lament for Wm Chisholm")

There is a story about this song that it is a girl's cry for help to her sister after being carried off by the fairies to Heaval, a hill in Barra (see KENNEDY FRASER: 1909, vol. 1, p38ff). From the text as given by Flora MacNeil, however, all that can be definitely stated is that the singer is in some uncomfortable if not dangerous plight, and that she is seeking the aid, or at least the sympathy, of her sister. It may be a waulking song, as it conforms to the metrical and vocable pattern of such functional songs, and a version is given in CRAIG: 1949, though the story there would appear to be of a very realistic and human murder rather than a vague fairy elopement. The date of this text is not easy to ascertain, though the description of the thatchless house, which implies the thatched as being the norm, certainly makes it no later than the eighteenth century. The version in CRAIG: 1949 would confirm this, as it refers to writing as being one of the accomplishments of the murdered shepherdess; this could hardly have been the case at any pointln the seventeenth century. There is, however, a completely different song beginning with the same line in CARMICHAEL: I954, vol. V, p56. This appears to fit the same metrical and vocable pattern, and may in fact be an older song whose words were supplanted by more modern ones. The music of the song depends very much on the use of grace-notes which vary to suit the cadences of the words, and tghere is a fluidity of tempo within a fairly strict rhythmic pattern. Flora McNeil learned the song from a first cousin of her mother's, Mrs Mary Johnstone, who was born on the uninhabited land of Mingulay.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flora_Ma...

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