I Won't Do the Work

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I WON'T DO THE WORK (Cha Dean Mi'n Obair). AKA and see "Behind the Bush in the Garden (1)." Canadian, Double Jig. Canada; Cape Breton, Newfoundland. A Minor. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. Variants appear in the Simon Fraser collection (1816) and Kerr’s Merry Melodies, vol. 1 (c. 1875), under the title "Wha'll be King but Charlie” (Se ‘n Righ a th’againn is Fearr Leinn). Dunlay & Greenberg remark that on Newfoundland the tune is played with a simpler rhythm as a fast single jig. Port-a-beul verses to the tune are given by Cape Breton fiddler Jackie Dunn in her 1991 thesis "Tha Blas na Gaidhlig air a h-Uile Fidhleir" (The Sound of Gaelic is in the Fiddler’s Music):

Cha dean mi obair, cha dean mi obair,
Chan urrainn mi obair a dheanamh.
Chan ith mi biadh ‘s chan ol mi deoch,
Tha an gaol an deighinn mo lionadh
(I cannot work, I cannot work, I am unable to work.
I cannot eat or drink; Love has so consumed me.)

Dunlay & Greenberg print the Beaton version of these lyrics from Lorrie MacKinnon:

Cha dean mi ‘n obair, cha dean mi ‘n obair,
Chan urrainn dhomg obair a dheanamh.
Chan ol mi deoch, ‘s chan ith’ mi biadh,
Chan urrainn dhomh obair a dheanamh.

Source for notated version: Donald Angus Beaton (Mabou, Cape Breton) [Dunlay & Greenberg, Dunlay & Reich].

Printed sources: Dunlay & Greenberg (Traditional Celtic Violin Music of Cape Breton), 1996; p. 110. Dunlay & Reich (Traditional Celtic Fiddle Music of Cape Breton), 1986; p. 71.

Recorded sources: ACC-49398, Brenda Stubbert - “House Sessions” (1992). DAB4 1985, Donald Angus Beaton "A Musical Legacy" (1985). JAD-1, Jackie Dunn - “Dunn to a T” (1995). Rounder Records 7057, Jerry Holland – “Parlor Music” (2005).

See also listing at:
Alan Snyder's Cape Breton Fiddle Recordings index [1]
See a standard notation transcription of Donald Angus Beaton's version at the Celtic Music Interpretive Center's site [2]
Hear a recording of Donald Angus Beaton playing the tune at the Celtic Music Interpretive Center's site [3]




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