question about song “An Spallpin Fanach”

question about song “An Spallpin Fanach”

Boys of the Lough’s recording of An Spallpin Fanach has just come up on Pandora, and it’s reminding me strangely of some Finnish traditional singing - I’m thinking mostly of stuff i’ve heard the Karelian Folk Ensemble do, there’s one song in particular that feels almost exactly the same, rhythmically, with a very similar tune to it.

I’ve become curious about this. Anyone have any history on this song, or any notions about any relationship there might be?

Re: question about song “An Spallpin Fanach”

An Spailpín Fánach, please spell it properly

Re: question about song “An Spallpin Fanach”

Considering the source, that’s an odd request. My apologies, it’s copied from the track listing on Pandora. Take it up with them.

Re: question about song “An Spallpin Fanach”

Would anyone care to translate, please? I remember going to watch a session in a pub in Cork by that name a few years ago, and I always did wonder what it meant…

Ian

Re: question about song “An Spallpin Fanach”

The wandering labourer.

An = definite article, the
Spailpín = farm labourer
Fánach = wandering

Re: question about song “An Spallpin Fanach”

The connection to "The Girl I Left Behind Me" (mentioned on the Connie Dover link) is interesting. That song was taken up by singers in the Wobbly tradition, in the States, and became, inter alia, "The Job I Left Behind Me". That Wobbly tradition, of course, included a tremendous Finnish presence, particularly in the Northwest where the Finns were (of course) the most brilliant loggers you could find, and many of them also stalwart socialists and union men. So it’s worth considering the possibility that the tune might have migrated back up the way sometime in the last century.
It’s also possible, of course, that the tune might have come from the North to Ireland, we know that there is some Scandihoovian influence in trad music from that route.

Re: question about song “An Spallpin Fanach”

In English the first line of the song is "The Whistling Gypsy came over the hill".

Google the song "The Whistling Gypsy" and you might get some information.
You hear the term Spailpín in the song "Arthur McBride" as in "and neither will take it from spailpín or brat".

In history in the old faction fights at fairs and such spailpín came to mean tinker or gypsy, rather than the farm labourer bit.

Our group is called "Spailpín" among other things.

Re: question about song “An Spallpin Fanach”

Interesting, Bliss. I mind as kids we used to go tatty howkin’ or picking potatoes out of the ground. Above Glasgow at Craigton or Carbeth. Bloody hard back-breaking work, and not well paid. Many of the other kids were tinkers or gypsies (Roma people). Hard as nails. You didn’t mess with them. Tinkers I now understand is of course a derogatory term and we should say travelling folk. As well as Irish travellers you can get Scottish Trevellers. These apparently are the descendants of dispossessed clans, mostly from the North East, Buchan Banff and Moray.

Re: question about song “An Spallpin Fanach”

Tinkers I now understand is of course a derogatory term and we should say travelling folk.

# Posted on December 24th 2010 by Rudall the time



It is indeed unless you are a tinker or have a tinker’s name, as I do. :-)

hence my liking for calling the group "Spailpín"

Re: question about song “An Spallpin Fanach”

Ooo-err…sorry bliss, my little fit of pique of political correctness wasnt directed at you, I was just covering my back as you don’t know who is going to spring out of the woodwork on this site and lambast you for a lapse in PCness :-)

Re: question about song “An Spallpin Fanach”

this is interesting stuff lads. how do you know all that?
didnt the Horslips do a version of that song too?

Re: question about song “An Spallpin Fanach”

I remember learning the song at the Ard Scoil around 1965 "An Spailpín Fanach" and Brother Beusang who taught us the song also explained about "The Whistling Gypsy" also known as "The Gypsy rover".

Not too sure if Horslips did this one, I must ask the child who is the world’s leading authority on Horslips.