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GALA WATER. AKA - "Galla Water." AKA and see "Brave Lads of Galawater," "Braw Lads of Gala Water," "Coming Thro' the Broom." Scottish, Air (4/4 time). D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). One part. This air is quite old and was published around 1783 under the title "Coming Thro' the Broom", but still earlier, by James Oswald, as "Brave Lads of Galawater." Gala Water is a tributary of the River Tweed, which forms the border in the east between Scotland and England. "It rises in Midlothian and follows the course of a beautiful winding valley, characteristic of the Border country and, after passing through the heart of Galashiels, it flows into the Tweed near Abbotsford, the home of Sir Walter Scott" (Neil, 1991). The song is played and sung each year at the festival of the 'Braw Lads Gathering', held at Galashiels. The earliest known verses are thought to be:
Braw, braw lads of Gala Water,
O! braw lads of Gala Water,
I'll kilt my coats aboon my knee,
And follow my love through the water.
Sae fair her hair sae brent her brow,
Sae bonnie blue her een, and cheerie,
Sae white her teeth, sae sweet her mou',
I aften kiss her till I'm weary.
Source for notated version:
Printed sources: Mulhollan (Selection of Irish and Scots Tunes), Edinburgh, 1804; p. 25. Neil (The Scots Fiddle), 1991; No. 56, p. 76. Oswald (Caledonian Pocket Companion, Book 8), 1760; p. 28.