A tune for Ireland

Re: A tune for Ireland

Indeed Alpine, that’s the right choice :)

One of the bigger days of social change here in my nigh on 60 years and one largely brought about by the activism of 18-30 year olds.

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Apparently, only Donegal had a majority "no" vote. I wonder, would that have to do more with the fiddles or the sheep?

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Welcome Ireland, to compassion, understanding, acceptance, tolerance… moral certainties that we are losing.

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I don’t have a tune for the day’s event. I don’t, because any tune is appropriate. I respect the democratic majority casting their votes clearly for choice (and I hear out the nays). Choice in life changing decisions, choice in health, choices which every woman should have the right to make.

Thanks for posting, "A tune for Ireland.", Kilcash. I know (in Chico) we will be talking about it during breaks in some of our upcoming sessions.
~
Aspen Baker: A better way to talk about abortion
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5Mpo4JQZhw

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I don’t have a tune either, but darn it, props to Ireland on this one. Seriously, I like this progress thing.

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I’ll admit I was glued to RTÉ last evening (Oz time). Great to see young people stirring, and taking control of their future. We need that over here (housing affordability), in Britain (Brexit) and in the US (gun control). Hopefully some inspiration is flowing out of Ireland as we speak.

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Over 50 years since David Steel’s Abortion Act was passed in Westminster, but still does not cover Northern Ireland. This should be the next step. Tune? Any beautiful reflective slow air.

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Was at a session on Thursday evening and encouraged our talented Accordion player to write a reel called "The Referendum Reel" - except that instead of A and B parts they should be designated Tá agus Níl (with an air to match). Could you mix keys between parts? What about a major and a minor key?

I’m not saying how I voted…. but when I was asked to play a tune at our end-of-year session on Friday - I chose a special set popularised by Cherish The Ladies :-)

On the general idea of changes in attitudes and times… there are dozens of old misogynistic songs that I simply cringe when singing nowadays (e.g. Tipping It Up To Nancy, Bogies Bonnie Belle). And this one might have been counterpoint to your upbeat links @AlphaRabbit and @Kilcash. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1dOreGykiM (seriously, how did that ever get written or recorded with those lyrics!). Might make an interesting topic for a separate discussion.

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What is misogynistic about Bogie’s Bonnie Belle? Seems to me it’s a snapshot of how things used to be, whereas that Dubliners song is broad comedy.

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"Twas there I ta’en my will o’ her"

There are many variants of this lyric but it’s not exactly suggestive of enthusiastic consent.

"I said that I would marry her but, oh no, that wadnae dae"

And, once her pregnancy is discovered, a bunch of men get together and decide what her fate is to be, apparently without reference to her preferences.

The question of problematic texts is an old one, from Child onwards. Martin Carthy famously refuses to sing the last verse of Prince Heathen, and I understand his reasoning. Fay Hield wrote an interesting blog post recently about similar issues.

I think the "snapshot of how things used to be" is reasonable - but I also think it’s right to be alert to what texts actually say and to acknowledge it.

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""Twas there I ta’en my will o’ her" - that’s not a line I’ve ever heard in "Bogie’s Bonny Belle" - who sings that ?

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Sheila Stewart sang it that way.

I think a lot of revival singers quietly rewrote that line, or glossed over the deed itself entirely. Jock Duncan’s version is a bit more ambiguous:

"I slippit my airm around her waist and tae the grun did slide,
And there I spent a lang lee nicht wi the Belle o Bogieside."

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There are different versions but I never got the impression that force was used in any of them.

Without starting a heated debate re as to what is and what isn’t consent, it was the case that women generally expected men to take the lead or make the first move in those days and, in many ways, still do. I can even count on the fingers of one hand the number of women whoever asked me out on a date. Of course, there have been many occasions when it was clear that they wished to be asked by me and so on.

Now whether the woman in the song had an equal say in how the relationship was developing, I don’t know. Generally, the man would have had more "power" back then but was it a case of it being misused? e.g. re Chat up lines, false promises of marriage, false declarations of love and so on?

Anyway, the version of the song which I sometimes sing as a party piece came from the singing of Davie Stewart and I found it in an old "Chapbook" magazine and transcribed by Peter Hall.
(Archie Fisher’s version is very similar)
It is more of an abridged version and details of the courtship or "conquest"(if that was the case) are vague.


"And when we went oot walking, she chose me for her guide
Doon by the burn o’ Cairnie to watch the small fish glide"

It ends

"Maybe she’s gottena better match, Auld Bogie cannae tell
So fareweel ye lads o’ Huntly’s side and Bogie’s Bonnie Belle"

Some versions end " Twas me who tae’n the maidenheed frae Bogie’s Bonnie Belle"

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> Some versions end " Twas me who tae’n the maidenheed frae Bogie’s Bonnie Belle"

Yeah, that’s a line that doesn’t sit well with me either.

I don’t want to get overmuch into what was a throwaway remark, but it’s interesting to contemplate how differently we all perceive the same song, according to our experiences. I think it’s worth bearing in mind.

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I usually take such a remark to mean that the man was stating that he "was the first".
Sometimes, this may be said in a bragging fashion which I would generally find distasteful myself but it wouldn’t necessarily be an indication that force was used or that the woman was pressurised in an other way.

For what it’s worth, I think the man in the song was genuinely fond of Belle but just considered by her father to be "not good enough " for his daughter.
Of course, we don’t know for sure or even if the song was based on a true story.

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………….noo she’s married tae a tinker lad wha bides near Huntly toon - wi’ his pots and pans and paraffin lamps he scours the country roun’
would that have been considered a ‘better match’ in 19th c. Scotland?

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> would that have been considered a ‘better match’ in 19th c. Scotland?

I’ve certainly heard that suggested, although a plain reading of the narrative clearly suggests that our ploughman doesn’t think so - and a ploughman was a position of no mean status either in those days.

I often wonder with some of these songs if the original performance style has been missed out along the way - we normally hear this song as quite a gentle thing, but you can imagine a very sarcastic, sneering delivery which would completely change the tenor of the lyrics.

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In the lyrics sung by Dick Gaughan, she is now married to a "traiveller chiel"….
Nowadays, of course, the preferred term is "travellers".

However, and I’m sure this is an arguable point, the song was of its time and I’m not sure if there is any need to avoid using the word "tinker" here. Especially as it appears to have been used in its correct context, i.e. a mender of pots, pans, and paraffin lamps, in this instance.

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curious that ‘Pecker ’ Dunne, himself a renowned member of the travelling people, had no problem using the word in his most famous song, Sullivan’s John - you’ve gone with a tinker’s daughter, far along the road you’ll roam ………………..
……………bad luck to the day that I went away , for to join with the tinker band………….