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A Cur Nan Gobhar

This month and bho am gu am (from time to time) hereafter, I'll be sharing Gàidhlig music with you. Sometimes that music will have specific applicability to Paganism, but more often than not I'll just be passing along bits of song culture I think you might find interesting. I'll always provide Gàidhlig lyrics and their translations, and I'll always provide recordings of my renditions of the pieces.

Today I'm sharing a strathspey Port-à-beul* with you. 'Puirt-à-beul' is Gàidhlig for 'tunes from the mouth'; instrumental pieces sung to simple, sometimes nonsense lyrics often for traditional dance accompaniment. Strathspeys are in 4/4 time but are slower and accented differently from reels, which are also in 4/4 time. Finally, mouth tunes are usually sung in pairs, but I'll save the reel I learned with this strathspey for another entry.

Here are the lyrics, and you'll find my recording below. I hope you enjoy them, and Happy Beltane!

A chur nan gobhar às a' chreig
'S e 'n fhèile beag bu dòcha leam -
A chur nan gobhar às a' chreig
'S e 'n fhèile beag a bh'fhearr leam.
A chur nan gobhar às a' chreig
'S e 'n fhèile beag bu dòcha leam -
A chur nan gobhar às a' chreig
'S e 'n fhèile beag a bh'fhearr leam.

'S e 'n fhèile, 'S e 'n fhèileadh
'S e 'n fhèile beag bu dòcha leam -
'S e 'n fhèile, 'S e 'n fhèileadh
'S e 'n fhèile beag a bh'fhearr leam.
'S e 'n fhèile, 'S e 'n fhèileadh
'S e 'n fhèile beag bu dòcha leam -
A chur nan gobhar às a' chreig
'S e 'n fhèile beag a bh'fhearr leam.

Nam faighinn-sa mo roghainn-sa
'S e 'n fhèile beag bu dòcha leam -
Nam faighinn-sa mo roghainn-sa
'S e 'n fhèile beag a bh'fhearr leam.
Nam faighinn-sa mo roghainn-sa
'S e 'n fhèile beag bu dòcha leam -
Nam faighinn-sa mo roghainn-sa
'S e 'n fhèile beag a bh'fhearr leam.

 -

For herding the goats from the rocks
It is the little kilt I would hope for -
For herding the goats from the rocks
It is the little kilt I would prefer.
For herding the goats from the rocks
It is the little kilt I would hope for -
For herding the goats from the rocks
It is the little kilt I would prefer.

The kilt, the kilt
The little kilt I would hope for -
The kilt, the kilt
The little kilt I would prefer.
The kilt, the kilt
The little kilt I would hope for -
The kilt, the kilt
The little kilt I would prefer.

If I could get my way, my choice
It is the little kilt I would hope for -
If I could get my way, my choice
It is the little kilt I would prefer.
If I could get my way, my choice
It is the little kilt I would hope for -
If I could get my way, my choice
It is the little kilt I would prefer.

* 'Port' is the singular word 'tune', while 'puirt' is the plural word 'tunes'.

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C.S. MacCath is a writer of fiction, non-fiction and poetry whose work has appeared in Strange Horizons, Clockwork Phoenix: Tales of Beauty and Strangeness, Murky Depths, Witches & Pagans and other publications. Her poetry has been nominated twice for the Rhysling Award, and her fiction has received honorable mention in The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Sixth Annual Collection.

Ceallaigh's first collection of fiction and poetry entitled The Ruin of Beltany Ring has been called 'wonderful, thoroughly engaging, always amazing', a book of 'tiny marvels' and 'well-worth reading'. At present, she's working on a science fiction series entitled Petals of the Twenty Thousand Blossom and a second collection of fiction and poetry.
 

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