This is a Scottish Gaelic song from the Island of Mull, Gaelic title; ‘Muile nam Mor-bheanna’ Composed by Duncan Livingstone of Crogan, Isle of Mull and one of the many songs taken by emigrants to Nova Scotia. There is an original recording in existence of an Angus MacIsaac singing it in the archives of ‘Songs of Atlantic Canada’.
It’s not a Traditional Irish waltz as described but a lovely melody. Ossian’s recording is especially nice.
I was wondering if this melody is out of copyright ?
I don’t know when Duncan Livingstone lived.
Anyone know ?
I would like to use the lovely melody.
Mull of the Mountains
Duncan Livingstone of Crogan, Mull, lived from 1877 to 1964. He wrote the words to Muile Nam Mor-Bheann (Mull of the Mountains) to, I believe, a traditional melody. The song was published in the 19th century in such collections as The Celtic Lyre, the St Columba Collection and The Gesto Collection.
Interesting, Nigel. According to “The Gaelic Bards from 1825 - 1875”, by Rev A MacLean Sinclair (1904), Duncan Livingston - Donnachadh Mac-a-Leith (Mac-an-Leigh or MacLeay etc - Gàidhlig versions of Livingston) was the son of Dhomhnall and Oighrig (née Campbell) Mac-a-Leith, and was born in Lochbuie in 1785. Apparently, he was known as Donnachadh nam Blàr, after a place he used to stay in (possibly the site of a former battlefield). From what I can make out, he died in 1863.
The book prints the words to Muile nam Mor Bheann ( probably better translated as Mull of the high bens - high peaks or mountains) as well, so it looks like it might have some validity.
I’ve found something on the “other” Duncan Livingston -
“One very fine modern Gaelic poet, Duncan Livingstone (1877–1964), who was a native of Torloisk, Mull, emigrated to Pretoria, and wrote some splendidly prophetic verse on the twentieth-century challenges which were to confront white rule in South Africa. He thus has a claim to be included in any forthcoming survey of the Gaelic literature of Africa!”
“This song, which will be found complete in several collections of Gaelic poetry, is the composition of Duncan
Livingstone, Crogan, Mull (Donnachadh nam blàr)”
I would say that the Rev A MacLean Sinclair was probably right.
This would also mean it’s out of copyright.
Mull of the Mountains
Thanks for sorting that out, Weejie. How dare there be two men of the same name!
Yep, I wouldn’t be surprised if there are more than two. It’s a fairly common name around Oban, Lismore and Mull etc.
Strange that there is not more info available on the true composer though.
Many thanks !
Thanks to both of you for your research.
It is very much appreciated.
I have done an arrangement of the tune that I’m just recording now
And will go onto a Christmas card for the Iona Community.
Great tune !
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