Òran Chaluim Sgàire

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ÒRAN CHALUIM SGÀIRE (Calum Sgaire's Song). Scottish, Slow Air (3/4 time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AA. The air to a traditional song of unrequited love from Lewis, in the Western Isles of Scotland. The tune was composed by a singer from Lewis in the 1930's, named Kitty Macleod ("The Lewis Nightingale," 1914-2000), who was born in the Himalayas while her father was serving with the Seaforth Highlanders. The words to the song, however, were written in the mid-1800's by Malcolm MacAuley (1822-1902), Calum Sgàire, from Berneray. MacCauley was in love with a girl whose parents had arranged her marriage to an older, wealthier man, a merchant. The night before the wedding they had planned to elope, but a heavy mist descended and they failed to meet. The next day she followed through with the arranged marriage, and young MacAuley emigrated to Quèbec. He never returned, and she died within the year. The Gaelic words, translated, begin:

How heavy is my sighing
I am far from my love tonight
I am North in the Vikings land
And she is at Loch an Fhir Mhaoil.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Martin (Ceol na Fidhle, vol. 3), 1988; p. 6. Martin (Traditional Scottish Fiddling), 2002; p. 61.

Recorded sources: Culburnie COL 113D, Aladair Fraser & Tony McManus - "Return to Kintail" (1999. 2nd part added by Alasdair Fraser). Mulligan LUN 007, Bothy Band - "Old Hag You Have Killed Me" (1976. Re-released on Green Linnet GLCD 3005). ER 012, Bobby MacLeod and His Band - "Maiden Voyage."

See also listing at:
Hear the song performed by a children's choir at Tobar an Dualchais [1] [2]
Hear the song performed by Kitty Macleod at Tobar an Dualchais [3] [4]

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