Buachaill Caol Dubh (An)

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BUACHAILL CAOL DUBH, AN. Irish, Air (3/4 time, or 4/4 time with irregular measures). G Major/Mixolydian. Standard tuning (fiddle). One part (Cranitch): AA'B (Ó Canainn). The phrases of this tune resemble those of the air "Ballylee." Accordion player Brendan Begley, a native of Baile na mBoc, Ballyferriter, County Kerry, remembered hearing this song sung at summer house parties when he was young, the sounds drifting into his bedroom. For his family "singing was the main thing...even milking the cows we might be singing" (Vallely & Piggott, Blooming Meadows, 1998).

The words of the song tell of the personal failings that continue to haunt him, no matter how he tries to put them behind him. They begin:

Nuair a théim ar aonach a' ceannach éadaigh
'S bíonn an éirnis agam im láimh,
Síneann taobh liom an buachaill caol dubh,
'S cuireann caol-chrobh isteach im láimh.
Is gearr'n-a dhéidh sin go mbím go h-aerach,
Gan puinn dem chéill 's mé os cionn an chláir,
A' díol na n-éileamh do bhíonn am chéasa,
Seacht mí gan léine's an fuacht am chrá.

Printed sources: Cranitch (Irish Fiddle Book), 1996; No. 96, p. 165. Ó Cannain (Traditional Slow Airs of Ireland), 1995; No. 86, p. 74.

Recorded sources: Claddagh CC39, Willie Clancy - "The Pipering of Willie Clancy 2" (1983).

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