Wha Wad'na Fecht for Charlie

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WHA WAD'NA/WIDNA FECHT FOR CHARLIE. AKA and see "Bonny Laddie Highland Fling," "Din Tarrant's (6)," "Highland Donald (2)," “March Past,” "Marry Ketty," "Marry Kitty," "My Bonnie Laddie," "Newmarket Polka (4)," “Wha Saw the Forty Twa,” "Will You Marry Kitty?," "Will you go and marry Katie." Scottish, Air, Highland Fling, Strathspey. G Major (Davie, Kerr, Stewart-Robertson): F Major (Howe). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Howe): AAB (Davie): AABB (Athole): AA'BB' (Kerr). The title comes from a Jacobite song published in Hogg's Jacobite Relics of Scotland (1821), by an unknown author to the melody "Will you go and marry Katie.” The words to the song begin:

Think on Scotia's ancient heroes
Think on foreign foes repelled
Think on loyal Bruce and Wallace
Wha the proud usurper quelled

Wha wadna fecht for Chairlie
Wha wadna draw the sword
Wha wadna up and rally
At the Royal Prince's word?

"Wha Wadna/Widna..." is one of the tunes sometimes used to accompany the dance Seann Triubhas (along with the more employed "Whistle o'er the lave o't"). In Ireland the tune is rendered as a polka that goes by the titles “Din Tarrant's (6), “Jim Keeffe's Polka (4)/Jim O'Keeffe's,” "Newmarket Polka (4)," “O'Keeffe's Polka (1) and “Mert Plunkett's.” A Scottish street song to the tune is called “Wha Saw the Forty Twa/Wha saw the 42nd?

English morris dancers employ the tune as an accompaniment, calling it “March Past,” a term that often refers to the marching past of a military unit in review (i.e. the regimental band plays the specific regimental march past tune as they pass in review). In fact, “Wha' Wadna Fecht” is the official march-past tune of the 22nd Cheshire Regiment, the last surviving English County Regiment of the Line, which adopted it in 1881. Despite the Jacobite-sounding title, David Murray (Music of the Scottish Regiments, Edinburgh, 1994, p. 207) states the tune (at least as employed by the British army) commemorates the conquest of the province Sind, part of the Indian subcontinent and now part of Pakistan. The 22nd Cheshire’s were the only British unit involved in the fighting, a hard-fought campaign, that also included Indian forces of the East India Company’s Bombay army. The combined force was commanded by Sir Charles Napier, explains Murry, who, when he became Colonel of the 22nd in 1850 presented the regiment with new colours at Dagshai, near Simla, in the Himalayan foothills. Napier defeated the army of the Baluchis, some 30,000 men, with a force of just 2,800 of his own at the battle of Miani, and went on to become one of the most famous British Victorian era military figures. See also the 6/8 version "Wha' Widna Fecht."

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Davie (Davie's Caledonian Repository), Aberdeen, 1829-30, p. 35. Howe (1000 Jigs and Reels), c. 1867; p. 126. Kerr (Merry Melodies, vol. 2), c. 1880’s; No. 122, p. 15. J. Kenyon Lees (Balmoral Reel Book), c. 1910; p. 16. Stewart-Robertson (The Athole Collection), 1884; p. 167.

Recorded sources: Regal G6625 (78 RPM), J. Scott Skinner (1910). Topic 12TS268, Bill Hardie - "The Music of Scott Skinner" (1975).

See also listing at:
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [1]
Hear fiddler Bill Hardie's recording on youtube.com [2]

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