Newsletter #33: January 2016

Song of the month


“Song of the month” aims to encourage the readers of this newsletter to learn songs in Irish and sing them themselves. The lyrics of each song are provided, along with a translation into English and a link to a video of the song on YouTube.


This month’s song is “Casadh an tSúgáin” (“The Twisting of the Rope”), a song that is being much spoken of at the moment because of Iarla Ó Lionáird's beautiful version of it in the film Brooklyn (2015). The version we have for you is by The Bothy Band, and it was recorded live in the 1970s. It’s available on the album After Hours (Live in Paris) (1979).


The story behind this song is that of a man who is in love with a young woman who is living with her mother. The man comes to visit them in the house one day, and the mother wants to get rid of him. She puts him ‘ag casadh an tsúgáin’, that is, twisting a straw rope. To do this, he must walk backwards, and he walks and walks until he is outside of the house and the mother closes the door on him. You can listen to Joe Heaney telling this story here.




Agus rinne mise cleas i dtigh Mhac Uí Dhomhnaill aréir,I performed a trick in Ó Domhnaill’s house last night,
Is an tarna cleas i dteach an ósta lena thaobh, And the second trick in the inn beside it,
An tríú cleas níorbh fhearr domh bheith cur le mo scéal, I’d prefer not to add the third trick to my story,
Is a mhinicí bean a gcaithfeá an dúthracht mhaith léi.And often it takes effort to seduce a woman.

Is a Rí na bhfeart cad a chas ins an dúiche seo mé,O Almighty God, what brought me to this place,
Gur mó cailín deas a gheobhainn i mo dhúthaigín beag féin, When there are many nice girls that I could get in my own little homeplace,
Nó gur casadh mé isteach mar a raibh searc is grá
geal mo chléibh,
Until I went into where my own true love was,
Is chuir an tseanbhean amach mé ag casadh an tsúgáinín féir. And the old woman sent me out, twisting the straw
rope.

CurfáChorus
Má bhíonn tú liúm, bí liúm a stóirín mo chroí, If you’ll be with me, be with me, o my love,
Má bhíonn tú liúm, bí liúm os comhair an tsaoil, If you’ll with me, be with me before the whole world,
Má bhíonn tú liúm, bí liúm gach orlach ded’ chroí, If you’ll be with me, be with me with every inch of your heart,
Is é mo lom go fann nach liúm Dé Domhnaigh thú mar mhnaoi. Alas that you aren’t by my side on Sunday as my wife.

Tá mo cheannsa liath le bliain is ní le críonnacht é,My head has been grey for a year, but it’s not caused by old age,
Ní bheathaíonn briathra na bráithre pé sa domhan scéal é, Fair words butter no parsnips, anyway,
Is táimse i do dhiaidh le bliain is gan fáil agam ort féin,And I’ve been after you for a year without getting you,
Is gur geall le fia mé ar shliabh go mbeadh gáir chon ’na dhiaidh. I’m like a deer on a mountain who can hear the baying of pursuing hounds.

CurfáChorus

Agus threabhfainn, d’fhuirsfinn, chuirfinn an síol ins a’ chré,And I would plough, harrow and plant seed in the soil,
Agus sheolfainn na gamhna ar an tamhnach is fearr a bhfaighidís féar,And I would send the calves up the mountains to get the best grass,
Do chuirfinn crú faoin each is mire shiúil riamh ar féar, I would shoe the most spirited steed that ever walked on grass,
Is ná héalódh bean le fear ná ndéanfadh sin féin.And a woman shouldn't run away with a man who couldn’t do that much.

CurfáChorus