MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
Gur Tu Mo Nighean Donn BhÒidheach
(You are My Beautiful Brown-haired Maid)
Hector MacKinnon and others CB 1 Tape 3 Track 11
Lake Ainslie Audio:
Milling Song

Gaelic

I iu o ra hiu o
Gur tu mo nighean donn bhòidheach.
I iu o ra hiu o

Màiri dhubh i bharr nan tonn
A thogadh fonn nan òran.

Màiri dhubh i bhaganach
Tha fìr a' bhail' an tòir ort.

Mairi dhubh i bharr nan tonn
A thogail fonn nan òran

Rachainn leat a dh' Ile
Nam biodh tu fhèin leam deònach.

Rachainn leat an ear 'san iar
Gun each gun srian gun ropa.

Rachainn leat a dh'Uibhist
Far am buidhicheadh a cheàghal.

English

I iu o ra hiu o
You are my beautiful brown haired maid
I iu o ra hiu o.

Dark haired Mary on the crest of the waves
Singing the chorus of the songs.

So neat is dark haired Mary
She is pursued by the men of the village.

Dark haired Mary on the crest of the waves
Singing the chorus of the songs.

I would go with you to Islay
If you were in agreement.

I would go with you to east and west
Without horse or bridle or reins.

I would go with you to Uist
Where the crops would ripen.


Notes

This popular milling song has been recorded in Scotland as well as Cape Breton. In different regions the tune may vary as well as the vocables which appear in the chorus. This particular version is similar in content and tune to that which is found on the North Shore of Cape Breton today.

It is clear from the statement made at the end of this recording, “That’s a milling song,” that Hector Mackinnon is giving an example of a song that would be widely recognized as being part of the milling genre. Old or “traditional” milling songs are often recognized in Cape Breton by their structure: the verses appearing in couplet form, vocables appearing in a three line chorus and repetition of phrases (presumably a mnemonic device) such as, “Rachainn leat-I would go with you” x3.

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