- Blackbird from the Willow Sings
- Clover Wine
- Bonny Hind
- Dalesman's Litany
- Garden so Green
- Brenda Buckley's/Kinsella an File
- We've Done Well
- Laird o Windywa's
- Fause Fause
- May Morning Dew
Blackbird from the Willow Sings » Blackbird from the Willow Sings
Blackbird from the Willow Sings
- Old Irish verse taken from the Book of Ballymote (1392); the poem itself is thought to date to the ninth century.
Chad discovered this poem years ago, and was intigued by its content and the atrocious translation of the Old Irish. He showed it to Shawn who, predictably, was fascinated and spent many hours in study and research on his own. Shawn then met with Dáithí Sproule, who is (in addition to being a renowned musician) an expert on the Old Irish language, versed in both meaning and pronunciation. Dáithí shared his insights on the connotative and metrical subtleties of the poem with Shawn, indicating misinterpretations and points missed in existing translations such as this one:
The bird which calls from the willow:
beautiful beaklet of clear note:
musical yellow bill of a firm black lad:
lively the tune that is played, the blackbird's voice.
Shawn has a gift for words, and he made a beautiful translation which conveys the spirit of the unknown poet's words. Just so you don't think this was easy, there is also an Old Irish alliteration convention that Shawn tried to respect in English, though it may not be obvious to the modern ear. Yes, he's a stickler for detail that one.
Shawn came up with the melody, for which Chad then wrote a set of variations based in methods from the ap Huw manuscript (copied ca. 1613). Shawn's vocables draw from canntaireachd and puirt-a-beul.
- Int én gaires asin t-sail
álainn guilbnén as glan gair:
rinn binn buide fir duib druin:
cas cor cuirther, guth ind luin.
Blackbird from the willow sings
Lovely beak a clear call rings:
Tuneful gold on solid black
Twines the tune and braids it back.
- from Blackbird from the Willow Sings, released 22 October 2011
Translation and melody by Shawn McBurnie. Harp arrangement and variations by Chad McAnally.