Latharna nan Gleann
A friend of mine found a hand-written book of Gaelic songs including their melody in his loft. His grandfather, Iain MacCalum, composed this song at Tighnambarr, Taynuilt, Argyll in 1901.
I first recorded this song for a CD by the Taynuilt Gaelic Choir. The track is available here:
LATHARNA NAN GLEANN
B’ e Latharna nan gleann dachaidh annsail feachd na Fèinne;
B’ e ‘n sealbh a bheanntan mòra ‘s a lòintean lurach feurach;
Ach ‘s beag tha ‘n diugh d’ an àl ann gu ‘n àiteach ‘s mòr am beud leam,
Tìr mhaitheasach mo ghaoil bhith fo chaoraich ‘s fo fhèidh.
Duisgeam gu cèol, ‘s nì mi òran a ghleusadh,
Do Latharna nan gleann ‘s fallain fonn is cannach rèidhlean
Dùthaich a’ phailteis nam machraichean rèidhghlan,
‘S ann reachdmhor chinneas pòr, sultmhor dòmh’l trom gun ghairt.
Ma dhìreas tu ri Cruachan, ceann uachdarach nan slèibhtean,
Gabh beachd air dreach nan gleanntan ‘s nam beanntan tha fo d’ lèirsinn
Tha tlachd air leth ‘s na chì thu, bho chìrean bràigh Ghlinn Èite,
Gu eileanan a’ chuain ‘s maiseach snuadh taobh nan caol.
Na beanntan corrach àrd; ionad tharmachan is fheubhag,
Cha’n aithne dhomh bheir barr air am blàth an tlus a’ Chèitein
Beinn Laoigh agus Beinn Starabh, Beinn Laire ‘s Buachaill’ Èite,
Sgùrr Dhearg, Bidean nam Bian, Sguileart Shian ‘s Cruachan Beann.
Gur iomadh abhainn shiùbhlach gun ghrùid, tha ruith gu sàil ann
Ag èiridh as na caochain air aodann nam beann àrda
‘S na lochain ghlana fhìoruisg, ‘s an lìonmhor bricein tàrbhuidh,
Gan lìonadh thun am bràigh; stràcadh fàis air gach taobh.
Tha ‘n t-Oban bòidheach grianach, san iar an cois an t-sàile,
Gu deisreach lurach taitneach on t-srath gu Bruthach nan Tàilleir
Le chaladh aoibhneil farsaing, gu fasgach, dìonach sàbhailt
‘S Dùn Ollaimh aosd Mhic Dhùghaill ga chrùnadh mu thuath.
LORN OF THE GLENS
Translation by his grandson, Brigadier John MacFarlane, 2011
Lorn of the Glens was their home, loved of the Féinne
Its high bens and fine fields of grass
Were theirs to hold
But few of their blood dwell there now, alas!
The kindly land I love
Is given over to sheep and deer.
Let me rouse my muse to music
So as to craft a song
To Lorn of the Glens, that finest land of prettiest plains
Land of plenty, of splendid level meadows
Where corn grows luxuriant,
Full-bodied, dense and heavy in open field.
If you climb up to Cruachan, Prince of peaks
Take note of how the glens and bens look, that lie beneath your gaze
There is sheer delight in all you see
From the crest of Etive’s slopes
To sea-isles of fairest hue
That flank the firths.
The high steep bens; haunt of ptarmigan and moor hen
I know of none so fair of flower in the balm of May
Beinn Laoigh and Beinn Starabh, Beinn Lair and The Shepherds of Etive
Sgurr Dearg Bidean nam Bian, Sguileart of Shian and Cruachan Beinn.
There are many swift clear streams that run to ocean’s tide there
Rising from the rills on the brows of the high peaks
And from the lochans clean and fresh with their shoals of gold –flanked trout
Brimming to their rims, garlands of foliage on each bank.
Oban is fair and sunny in the West side by the sea
Southerly, neat, agreeable from the Strath to Tailors’Brae
With its pleasant wide harbour, sheltered, secure and safe
And ancient Dunollie of Clan Dugald as its crown to the North.
Mo Shoraidh Don Eilean
“Mo Shoraidh Don Eilean” is a song about Lismore which is described as the most beautiful island in Europe. In the picture above the Editor of the Oban Times newspaper, Stewart MacKenzie, presents me with the Oban Times Gold Medal for Gaelic singing at the Royal National Mod in Dunoon in 2012.
Còisir Ghàidhlig Thaigh an Uillt
I am honoured to be president of this cultural organisation, the Taynuilt Gaelic Choir, which is preserving the Gaelic tradition. Have a listen to our latest CD, Fo Sgàil nam Broc, here. Below the Taynuilt Gaelic Choir are performing live on BBC ALBA at the Royal National Mòd 2017 in Fort William singing Òran na Beairt, arranged by Raymond Bremner. It is a funny song about a useless loom (and starts at 2:22).
Seanchas Shlèite – Sleat Folklore Project
Below is a link to a folklore project I undertook, funded by Comunn na Gàidhlig, with recordings of native Gaelic speakers in the Sleat area of the Island of Skye.