This is a Manx tune, and the title translates as Song of the Smuggler’s Wife. The story behind the tune is that a woman is pretending to sing a lullaby to her baby, whilst really singing a warning to her smuggler husband in Gaelic that the English excise men are coming.
This is a common session tune on the Isle of Man, and is especially popular amongst beginner fiddlers and whistle players.
Should the last line be repeated?
That’s the way it feels to me. Of course, I’d like to learn it the traditional way; so I’d be grateful if you’d confirm the non-repeated way you’ve transcribed it.
Thanks for the lovely tune and the story about it!
We don’t repeat the last line on the Island, but I can see where you are coming from. As well as having close ties to the other Gaelic countries musically, Manx music has absorbed a lot of influence from Norwegian music, and therefore lots of Manx tunes have irregular phrasing in them, and often don’t follow the 8/16 bars that we would expect of a jig or reel. Hope this makes sense!
slightly different version
The second version I’ve added above is just slightly different. It’s known as ‘Fer ny Clien Click’ (‘A Man Called Click’). It’s a children’s song, which has the lyrics:
Fer ny clien click haink neear as Nerin, Fer ny clien click haink neear as Nerin,
Fer ny clien click haink neear as Nerin, Sooree er my naunt Joanney.
Sooree, Sooree, Sooree er my naunt Joanney.
This was collected by Mona Douglas from children at Dhoon School around 1920. The ‘click’ sound needs to be made with the tongue, and the song was repeated with ‘clock’ and ‘cluck’ sounds.