Gleann Nimhe – The Poison Glen

2012

“Altan's music has always been true to the roots from which it has grown, always injecting something new as they approach a set of tunes, or something beautiful when Mairead's voice floats over slow air or a love song. This new album combines all of the freshness that is characteristic of this great band, together with a rare depth and purity that can only come from the souls of superb musicians.” -Bill Whelan

“Scholarly, sophisticated, equally spontaneous in session or in the studio, Altan, once more, enliven their great tradition, confound our expectations and draw us all home to Donegal.” - Stephen Rea, actor

“The twin peaks of Dermot Byrne's accordion and Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh's voice and fiddle propel Altan into their 30th year. Byrne's plaintive, high-lonesome tones define the shape of The Blackest Crow with Ní Mhaonaigh's beatific vocals drawing the sorrowful tale ever skywards. Instrumentally, Altan have never sounded better or tighter. They've invited Belfast flute player Harry Bradley to join the fray, and his jagged-edged style adds a refreshing sharpness to several tunes, in particular the opening pair of slip jigs headlined by A Fig for a Kiss. Jimmy Higgins guests on bodhrán, punctuating tunes with his customary subtlety. Altan's song choices are standouts in both Irish and English, and they commandeer the American ballad The Lily of the West as if it was a Gweedore native. This is richly layered musicianship shot through with a verve.” -The Irish Times

Lyrics

Caitlín Triall

The story of this song is about a man who falls in love with Cáitlín Triall, but sees her with another and is left forlorn.

Tá'n oíche seo sioc's tá sí fuar,
Ó d'éalaigh mo ghrása le fear eile uaim
A ghrua deas lasta, 's bhéilín bhinn,
Is a Chití, a stór, tá mé breoite tinn.

Níl aonach nó margadh, dá bhfhuil ins an áit,
Nach bhfeicfinnse Cití 's í díol a cuid snáth,
Órú, scairtfinn isteach uirthi, 's bhuailfinn an clár,
Is a Chití na n'anam fán agam go lá.

Níl bó is níl bearra 's nil caora bhán,
Ó bhruach Loch Finne go Malaí 'n tSléibh' Bháin,
Nach dtabharfainn do Chití ar aon phóg amháin
'Snach í a leigheasfadh an arraing teacht fríd mo lár.

Ó gheall tusa domhsa, is gheall tú faoi dhó,
Nach ndéanfainn mo mhalairt, anois nó go deo,
Nó go bhfaca mé Cití, 's fear eile ag ól,
Igcúl tom dreasóg 's mug leanna 'na dhorn.

Níl toint ar mo chraiceann, nár lig mé le gaoth,
'S má fhágfaidh mé an baile, ni phillfidh mé'choich',
Tháinig lionndubh ar m'aigne 's d'athraigh mo chiall
'S nach trom sin ar d'anamsa, a Chaitlín Triall.

'S nach mé an fear mallaithe, 'tá i ngrá le bliain,
Is go mbhfearr liom bean agam na go bhaca me ariamh
Na gur lig mé an greann is an chuideachta uaim,
'S leanfaidh mé go h-éag thú mo Chaitlín Triall.

An Ghealóg

Our friend Martin Tourish wrote this lament to mourn a little bird, the bunting after it perished of the cold on a Winter's night.

Chuala mé ceol ar ghaoithe an Gheimhridh,
Fonn binn beag álainn, go hard ins an speir,
Séirse is gáire , 's smaoinigh me ortsa
Binneas na Cruinne, a ghealóg mo chroí.

Cealóg do chéannacht, 's is geal í d'aigne,
'S is géire an tsúl a fheiceann fríd an cheo,
'S fearr ceobhrann scaití na géar-léargas gléineach
is amhlaidh an scéala do ghealóg mo chroí.

D'eitil tú siar, 's d'eitil tú soir,
Fríd scamaill, fríd shneachta 's an fharraige fhuar,
Leathnaigh an fhuacht ort a chúinigh do cheolsa
'S d'fhág tu an saol seo ,a ghealóg mo chroí

Codlaigh a stóirín
Codlaigh a stóirín
Codlaigh a stóirín

Is casfaidh muid arís…..

Óró, óró…..

Cailín Deas Crúite na mBó

This very old love song describes how the poet falls for the pretty girl milking her cow and how dark his life would be without this beauty.

Tá bliain nó níos mó 'gam ag éisteacht,
Le cogar doilíosach mo mheoin,
Ó casadh domh grá geal mo chléibhe

Tráthnona breá greine san Fhómhair,
Bhí an bhó bhainne chumhra ag geimneach

Is na héanlaith go meidhreach ag ceol,
Is ar bhruach an tsrutháin ar leathaobh domh
Bhí cailín deas crúite na mbó.

Tá a súile mar lonnradh na gréine,
Ag scaipeadh tré spéarthaibh an cheo,
'S is deirge a grua ná na caortha,
'Tá ar lasadh measc craobha na gcnó,
ta a béilín nios milse na sméara

'ß is gile a leamhnacht a snó,
Níl aon oígbhean níos deise ar an tsaol seo
Ná cailín deas crúite na mbó.

Dá bhfaighinnse ard tiarnas na hÉireann,
Éadacha, síoda is sróill,
Dá bhfaighinnse an banríon is airde
Dá bhfuil ar an talamh seo beo,
Dá bhfaighinnse céad loingis mar spré dhomh

Píolaidí, caisleáin is ór,
B'fhearr liom bheith fán ar na sléibhte,

Le mo chailín deas crúite na mbó.
Muna bhfuil se I ndán domh bheith in eineacht,
Leis an spéirbhean ró dhílis úd fós
Is daoirseach dubh bhrónach mo shaolsa
Gan suaimhneas, gan éifeacht gan treo.

Ni bheidh sólas im chroí no im intinn,
Ná suaimhneas orm oíche nó ló,
Nó go bhfeice me taobh liom óna muintir,
Mo cháilín deas crúite na mbó.

Seolta Geala

My father wrote this song…Seolta Geala, White Sails…about taking to the high seas on a sailing boat with white sails and leaving the woes of the land behind.

Tógfaidh muid seolta chomh hard leis an ghaoth,
Seolta Geala,
Scaoilfidh muid scóid is ní phillfidh muid choích',
Ach ag seoladh thar farraige anonn.

Siar i gcéin, i bhfad i gcéin, gan léan, gan mhairg,
Scaoilfidh muid scóid is ní phillfidh muid choích',
Ach ag seoladh thar farraige anonn.

Fágfaidh muid slán ag ár gcairde is ár ngaol, cairde fíora,
Is slán agus beannacht le buaireamh an tsaoil,
Is muid ag seoladh thar farraige anonn.

Siar i gcéin, i bhfad i gcéin, gan lean gan mhairg,
Is slán agus beannacht le buaireamh an tsaoil,
Is muid ag seoladh thar farraige anonn.

Canfaidh muid rann is sinn ag imeacht le cóir, rann is binne,
Is inseofar scéalta nár insíodh go fóill,
Is muid ag seoladh thar farraige anonn.

Siar i gcéin , i bhfad i gcéin, gan léan gan mhairg,
Is inseofar scéalta nár insíodh go fóill
Is muid ag seoladh thar farraige anonn.

Aoibhinn an saol bheith ag seoladh go síor, saol is aoibhne,
Ár n-aghaidh ar an mhuir is ár gcúl leis an tír,
Is muid ag seoladh thar farraige anonn.

Siar i gcéin, i bhfad i gcéin, gan léan gan mhairg
Ár n-aghaidh ar an mhuir is ár gcúl leis an tír,
Is muid ag seoladh thar farraige anonn.

The Lily of the West

I just came down from Lover's Well,
Some pleasure there to find,
A handsome girl from Michigan
So pleasing to my mind.

Her rosey cheeks and sparking eyes,
This arrow's pierced my breast,
And they called her handsome Mary,
the Lily of the West.

I courted her for many's a day,
Her love I thought to gain.
But too soon she slighted me,
Which caused me grief and pain.

She stole away my liberty
And deprived me of my rest.
And they called her handsome Mary,
the Lily of the West.

As I roved out one evening,
Down by a riverside
I spied a lord of a high degree
Conversing to my bride.

He sang a song so merrily
Whilst I was so repressed.
And he sang to handsome Mary,
the Lily of the West.

I rushed up to my rival,
A dagger in my hand,
I tore her from his arms
And I boldly did him stab.

Being mad with desperation,
My dagger pierced his breast,
And I was betrayed by Mary,
The Lily of the West.

The Blackest Crow

The time draws near, my dearest dear,
When you and I must part.
You cannot know my grief and woe
In my poor aching heart,

'T is how I suffer for your sake,
Believe me love it's true,
I wish that you were staying here ,
Or I would go with you.

I wish my breast were made of glass,
Wherein you might behold,
Upon my heart your name lies wrote
In letters made of gold,
In letters made of gold, my love,
Believe me , when I say,
You are the darling of my heart,
Until my dying day.

And everyday will seem like two,
And every hour like ten,
I'll lay and weep, forsake my sleep,
'Til I see you again,
'Til I see you again, my love,
There is no rest for me,
No dreams but those within my heart,
Of love, sweet love with thee.

And when you're in some foreign land,
Pray think on your absent friend,
And when the wind blows high or low,
A letter to me send,
And when the wind blows high or clear,
Pray send it love to me,
That I may know by your handwrite,
Of times I've gone with thee.

The blackest crow ,that ever flew,
Would surely turn to white,
If ever I 'd prove false to you,
Bright day would turn to night,
Bright day would turn to night, my love,
The elements would mourn,
If ever I'd prove false to you,
The seas would rage and burn.

Gleann Nimhe - The Poison Glen

Altan: Gleann Nimhe - The Poison Glen

  • Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, fiddle, vocals
  • Ciaran Tourish, fiddle, whistle, vocals
  • Ciarán Curran, bouzouki, mandolin
  • Mark Kelly, guitar, bouzouki, vocals
  • Dermot Byrne, accordion
  • Dáithí Sproule, guitar, vocals

Compass Records - 2012

iTunes Page · Amazon Page

Tracks

  1. A Fig for a Kiss/The Turf Cutter
  2. Seolta Geala
  3. The Ardara Girls / The Backdoor Highlands / Fáscadh mo Léine (The Wringing of My Shirt) / Reel in A / Ciaran Tourish's Reel
  4. An Ghealóg
  5. Caitlín Triall
  6. The New Rigged Ship / Eddie Curran's Monaghan Twig / Kitty the Hare
  7. The Blackest Crow
  8. The Lancers Jig / The Further in the Deeper
  9. The Lily of the West
  10. The Wheels of the World
  11. Cailín Deas Crúite na mBó
  12. Tommy Potts' Slip Jig
  13. The House on the Corner