Mermaid (2) (The)

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MERMAID [2], THE (An mhaighdean mhara). Irish, Air (3/4 time). D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). One part. "A beautiful mermaid visited a ship by moonlight. The captain tried to detain her: but she chanted a song that threw captain and crew into a trance, and so she escaped. 'One of the best of the old northern airs' {Mr. McKenzie}" (Joyce).

O were my men drunk or were my men mad,
Or wre my men drowned in care--O,
When they let her escape, which made us all sad?
And the sailors all wished she was there--O, there,
And the sailors all wished she was there.

Cazden (et al, 1982) finds the tune, with a similar lyric theme, as "Maid on the Shore (The)" collected in New York's Catskill Mountains, and said it seemed quite familiar in the northeastern United States and eastern Canada. The melody is also related to O'Neill's air "Sorrowful Maiden (The)."

Source for notated version: Mr. J. M'Kenzie of Newtownards, c. 1879 [Joyce].

Printed sources: Joyce (Old Irish Folk Music and Songs), 1909; No. 327, p. 152.

Recorded sources: CCF2, Cape Cod Fiddlers - "Concert Collection II" (1999). Culburnie COL 113D, Aladair Fraser & Tony McManus - "Return to Kintail" (1999).




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