The title of our CD comes from a concert that we played in the beautiful gardens of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Barnstable Village, on Cape Cod, MA in the summer of 2008.
1. Cornish Medley – This consists of three traditional Cornish tunes: “The Pretty Maid,” “Trelawny,” and “The Seige of Malo.” Arranged for harp trio by Thom Dutton.
Cornwall comprises the South West penninsula of Britain, and is sometimes mistakenly labeled as part of England. The Cornish language is related to Welsh and Breton, and more distantly to the other Celtic languages. While Cornish seemed to have died as a language, the 20th century has seen a strong revival among those hoping to preserve the language and the culture.
2. Suo Gân – This is a traditional Welsh lullaby, and in fact, the title means “lullaby”. Arranged for harp trio by Nancy Hurrell, and used by kind permission. Welsh is the native language of Wales, a small country on the West coast of the isle of Britain, across the Celtic Sea from Ireland. The Welsh language is closely related to Breton and Cornish, is spoken daily by many thousands of people, and in fact, is showing signs of growth in number of speakers. Welsh, along with English, are the official languages of Wales.
3. Welsh Memories – This arrangement by Shari Pack includes the well-known tunes “Ash Grove,” “Bells of Aberdovey,” and “All Through the Night.”
4. Breton Medley – Arranged for harp by Thom Dutton, includes four traditional tunes from Brittany: “Penn-Herez Keroulaz” (The Heiress of Keroulaz), “Triste Menage” (The Sad Family), “Danse des Avocats” (Dance of the Lawyers), and “A Paris Y’a Une Dame” (In Paris there is a Woman). Brittany is the North West penninsula of France, just South of Cornwall. In fact, Breton and Cornish, as well as Welsh, are closely related languages. The Breton language has been undergoing a strong revival for decades now, however it is the only living Celtic language that does not enjoy the status of official language in its region. Much of the revival is due to the efforts of the Breton harper Alan Stivell.
5. Manx Medley – Arranged for harp by Charles Guard. We have taken two of the tunes in Mr Guard’s “Manx Music for the Irish Harp” book, and with his permission, connected them. They are “The Flitter Dance” and “Lhigey, Lhigey.” According to his notes, “The Flitter Dance” was a traditional dance performed on Good Friday at the shore. “Lhigey, Lhigey” means “galloping” off to market and courting the girls there. Many will recognize the similiarities between “Lhigey, Lhigey” and the traditional Irish tune “The Rakes of Mallow”. Here, “rake” is used in the sense of “A fashionable or stylish man of dissolute or promiscuous habits.” (Oxford English Dictionary Online). One can surmise what the intentions were when seeking women to court at market!
6. Miss Murphy – An Irish tune arranged for harp trio by Nancy Hurrell. Written by the famous blind harper Turlough O’Carolan (1670-1738) for an unknown patron. Many of Carolan’s songs have words in Irish (Gaelic), though this one does not. Irish is still spoken, especially in the West of Ireland, and is closely related to (Scots) Gaelic and Manx.
7. Danny Boy – A lament. Also known as Londonderry Aire. Arranged by Thom Dutton.
8. Galician Medley – Galicia is the North West penninsula of Spain. Though not officially a Celtic country, there is still heavy Celtic influence there in the music and culture. Many linguists argue that the Celtic elements of the language of Galicia are what influenced Portugal, directly its South, and differentiated it from Castillian Spanish. Even the name “Galicia” is linguistically similar to “Gal/Gaul/Celt”. Galician is a Romance Language (derived from Latin/Rome) spoken by the inhabitants of Galicia today. The two tunes here, arranged by Thom Dutton (acquired courtesy of Andras Corban Arthen) are “Tu, gitana” and “Aotearoa”. The first is sung by a man (presumably) to a gypsy fortune teller and asks her to foretell what may become of him in his upcoming adventure. The second is a Galician tune, but the name is the native Maori name for New Zealand. One must assume that it was composed by Gallegos visiting that part of the world.
The last four tunes on the CD are all from Scotland, and are arranged for harp by Nancy Hurrell. Scotland, of course, is home to the Scots Gaelic language, related to Irish (Gaelic) and Manx.
9. Braes of Locheil – A haunting Gaelic love song.
I shall go, why should I not?
To the pasture of the cows where a girl sings sweetly,
To the Braes of Locheil where the deer is belling…
10. Ca’ the Yowes – (Call/Drive the ewes to the knolls) A poem by Robert Burns set to beautiful, haunting music. Thom Dutton, tenor.
11. Aran Boat Song – The origins of this song are uncertain, and is said to come from the Scottish Isle of Arran or the Isles of Aran. Boat songs were often used to set the pace while rowing or traveling. Though with this song, getting lost in a daydream is much more likely than rowing across a channel!
12. June Apple – This is a fun reel (dance tune) that ends all of our concerts.