Songs of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland
as collected and arranged by
MARJORY KENNEDY-FRASER

Recorded live, Saturday Feb.1st,1997
at Armour Heights Presbyterian Church, Toronto

 Voice: Barbara Mackay
Harp: Vera Stern
Narration: Clare Bewley Moskalyk

All proceeds from the sale of this CD will go
to the support of cancer patients and their families
in the memory of Barbara Mackay (1947-2000) who passed away from leukemia.

Performer Credentials Program Marjory Kennedy-Fraser Lyrics Contact Demos



 


From left to right:
Clare Bewley Moskalyk, Vera Stern, Barbara Mackay

Performer Credentials

BARBARA MACKAY (1947-2000) had an ARCT in Voice performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto. Further vocal studies had been with teachers and coaches in Scotland and England and in Toronto. She enjoyed performing both classical and cabaret repertoire and had been a church soloist as well as a member of the Co-Opera Company, Centuries Opera Association and Opera Hamilton. Another interest of her was Celtic folk music and often accompanied by her own Troubadour harp she was a busy performer of Scottish music at all manner of events in Canada and Scotland including Edinburgh's famous Military Tattoo. She combined her extensive singing interests with the demands of full time high school English teaching.
Barbara Mackay passed away after a two year struggle with leukemia, in the summer of 2000.

VERA STERN: In 1980 she received her Masters Degree in Music at the Manhattan School of Music, New York City. She has participated in international harp events and was the silver medallist for contemporary music, at the 6th International Harp Competition in Jerusalem, Israel 1976. After completing her harp studies she spent 5 years in the Caribbean teaching harp and performing solo and chamber harp music. In Canada she is a teacher and freelance harpist.

CLARE BEWLEY MOSKALYK: is a singer and performer, and friend.

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Marjory Kennedy-Fraser (1859-1930) was one of the children of the famous Scottish Victorian singer David Kennedy. At the age of 12 she was accompanying her father on the piano. Along with various of her sisters and brothers she traveled the world with her father as he performed for exiled Scots in the farthest flung parts of the then British Empire-Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Canada. The "Singing Kennedys" traveled by all manner of transport from sailing ships to donkeys to sleighs (across Canada in winter).
These rigours prepared her for her life's work. In 1905, she began to collect, arrange, and perform the folk songs of the Hebridean Islands of Scotland. As a result of her own legendary performances, the songs became widely known and loved. Her wax recordings are now in the collection of the School of Scottish Studies, University of Edinburgh.

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Lyrics

Most of the songs are sung in their original language, Scottish Gaelic.
Here are the translations.

1. CUTTING THE CORN

A day in the cornfield,
I a-reapin'
Cuttin' my sheaf
And it was-na easy, Ho-ro, na harorio
Reapin' the corn
I cut my sheaf
But cuttin' my knee 'twas,
Och-one an' sighin' Ho-ro, na...
Sighin' I sat on a lonely hillock
Lookin' to see if my lover was comin'

Lookin' to see if my lover would come,
The fair cheek'd boy o' the curly ringlets.
Snow white sea gull, bear my greetings
Across to my true love!

2. SLEEPS THE NOON

3. THE COCKLE GATHERER

I dal a du vil, i dal a du horo
Blythe I gather cockles here
Joy scream of sea gulls
Down on the skerry
Laughter of sea waves
Dawn on the skerry there,
Still I gather cockles here.

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4. SKYE WATER-KELPIE'S LULLABY

Avore, my love, my joy
To thy baby come
And troutlings you'll get out of the loch

Avore, my heart, my bride
My gray old mouth touching thy sweet lips, and me singing
Old songs to thee, by Ben Frochkie

5. SEAL-WOMAN'S SEA-JOY

6. THE WILD SWAN

Swan of the west, mate of my heart
Westward I'd fly toward Jura
On night of stars, strangewards I'd fly
Westward fly toward Jura.
West, mate of my heart
Would that with thee toward Jura,
On night of stars, far might I fly,
Westward fly toward Jura.

7. BENS OF JURA

Like watercress gathered fresh from cool streams
Thy kiss, dear love, by the Bens of Jura
Cold, cold the Bens, cold thy love as they.
Like watercress gathered fresh from cool streams.

Gold the morn at dawn up wingeth,
Dreams the night deep drowned in dew-mist,
And my heart-- its own sun,
Deep lies sunk in death torpor cold and gray.

Like watercress gathered fresh from cool streams,
Thy kiss dear love, by the Bens of Jura
Cold, cold the hills, cold the mist and gray
Like watercress gathered fresh from cool streams.

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HARP SOLO: THE ROAD TO THE ISLES, THE PEAT FIRE FLAME, THE HARP OF DUNVEGAN

1. PUTTING OUT TO SEA

Michael, Sea Lord, Shield of light
Tonight a boat puts out to sea,
Broken keel planks strew the shore,
So frail the boat, so great yon sea!
Michael, Sea Lord Shield of Light!
Tonight a child puts out to sea

2. BIRLIN OF THE WHITE SHOULDERS

3. THE SHIP AT SEA

Far I hear the galloping galley
Sounding thro' the sea of Erin
Far the sound of leaping birlin
Bounding over the seething billows

Hurl they ruthless 'gainst our galley
Wind and tide and ocean fary
At the helm the rare MacLoed
The bellowing wave to him sweet music

4. UIST CATTLE CROON

Today the kye win to hill pasture,
Sweet the grass of cool hill pastures
Breedja fair white be at their milking,
Lead the kye to the hill pastures

Today the kye "flit" to hill pastures
There to graze on sweet hill grasses
Mary, gentle be at their keeping,
Keeping all out on hill pastures

5. UIST CRADLE CROON

Sleepy one, croon of the wind and wavelet
Croon of the wind and the waters
Thou art my rowans, thou art my hazelnuts,
Sleepy one, croon of the water,
My berries brown, my cinnamon clusters,
Sleepy one, croon o' the water.

Sleep to the croon of the wind in the branches
The wave on the shore
The whispering moorland,
Sleep to the croon of the wind in the hazel,
The lap of the waves by the whispering moorland.

Cool-in-a- roon, ne'er wake till morning
Sleep to the croon of the waters.
My honey art thou, on the tips o' the heather
Sleepy one, croon of the water
My whisperling sweet, my bosom's desire thou
Sleepy one, croon of the water.

Sleep to the croon o' the wind in the branches
The wave on the shore
The whispering moorland,
Sleep to the croon of the wind in the hazel
The lap of the wave by the whispering moorland
Cool-in-a-roon, never wake till morning
Sleep to the croon of the waters.

6. RUNE OF THE MOON

Hail to thee, thou new lit moon
I bend the knee, thou queen so fair
Through the dark clouds thine the way be--
Thine who leadest all the stars.

Though thy light e'en find me joy-filled
Put thou flow-tide on the sea
Send thou flow-tide on the sea.

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7. AILEAN DONN
Harris Love Lament

Allan duinn, thy winding sheet of
Sea white foam is loosely woven
Pillowed is thy head on sand,
Thy bed the golden seaweeds tangle.
God bedew thy soul with what
I got from thee of sweet caresses

Fishes are thy candles white
And seals the watchers by thy bed.
What I got of secret speech with
What I got of honey kisses.

Throned King! May my grave be by
Allan in the purple sea

8. AN ERISKAY LOVE LILT

Sad am I without thee
When I'm lonely dear white heart,
Black the night or wild the sea
By love's light my foot finds
The old pathway to thee.
Sad am I without thee.

Thou art the music of my heart
Harp of joy, moon of guidance by night
Strength and light thou'rt to me
Sad am I without thee...

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Demos

Please listen to the following demo selections from Sleeps the Noon, The Swan, the Harp Solo, and Rune of the Moon:

Demo 1
Demo 2
Demo 3
Demo 4
 

Contact Information

Please email Vera Stern with any questions or concerns.