Alastair Of The Den polka

Also known as Alasdair An Dubh, Alasdair An Duin, Alasdair Of The Castle, Alasdair Of The Dun, Alastair In The Den, Alastair O’ The Dun, Alastair Of The Castle, Alistair An Duin, Dark Alasdair, Island Spinning Song, The Island Spinning Song.

Alastair Of The Den has been added to 1 tune set.

Alastair Of The Den has been added to 2 tunebooks.

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Four settings

1
X: 1
T: Alastair Of The Den
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Amin
|: AA/A/ c2 | BA B2 | dd/d/ GG | dd/d/ GG |
AA/A/ c2 | BA Bc/d/ | ec dB | AA/A/ A2 :|
|: ec Ac/d/ | ec A2 | dB GB/c/ | dB G2 |
ec Ac/d/ | ec A/B/c/d/ | ec dB | AA/A/ A2 :|
2
X: 2
T: Alastair Of The Den
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Bmin
|: "Bm"BB/B/ d2 | "A"cB c2 | "C#m"ee/e/ "F#m"AA | "C#m"ee/e/ "F#m"AA |
"Bm"BB/B/ d2 | "A"cB cd/e/ | "Bm"fd "A"ec | "Bm"B2 B2 :|
|: "Bm"f>e Bd/e/ | fe B2 | "A"e>c Ac/d/ | ec A2 |
"Bm"f>e Bd/e/ | fe Bd/e/ | fd "A"ec | "Bm"B2 B2 :|
3
X: 3
T: Alastair Of The Den
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Bmin
|: BA/B/ d2 | dc/B/ c2 | ef/e/ cA | ef/e/ cA |
BA/B/ d2 | dc/B/ cd/e/ | fd ec | B2 B2 :|
|: fd Bd/e/ | fd Bd | ec Ac/d/ | ec Ac |
fd Bd/e/ | fd Bd/e/ | fd ec | B2 B2 :|
4
X: 4
T: Alastair Of The Den
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmin
|: dd/d/ f2 | ed e2 | gg/g/ cc | gg/g/ cc |
dd/d/ f2 | ed ef/g/ | af ge | d2 d2 :|
|: ag df/g/ | ag d2 | ge ce/f/ | ge c2 |
[1 ag df/g/ | ag df/g/ | af ge | d2 d2 :|
[2 dd f2 | ed ef/g/ | af ge | d2 d2 ||

Seven comments

Alastair Of The Den

From the playing of Alastair J. MacDonald.

Close to a basic version of the tune, having checked out four other recordings. Namely: Alex MacArthur, Andrew Rankine, Canongate Cadjers, and Glendaruel.

Prefer the tune in Gdor, and three of the five recordings are in this key, though, Ador is probably session friendlier.

Re: Alastair Of The Den

I’ve known this for years as "Alasdair of the Dun" but I think it first became widespread in Scotland through an influential book called ‘Songs of the Isles’ by Hugh Roberton (c1937). In there it is called "Island Spinning Song" (Hulla-mack-a-doo, Hoo rova bee, Hoo rova hinda, Hee rova hinda, etc). It’s in F#m in the book.

Several of the songs in the book will have been introduced to the general for the first time through its publication, taught in schools, etc.

Re: Alastair Of The Den

Thanks Nigel!

Hadn’t occurred to me that the tune could be Amin rather than Ador, as there’s no F’s/F#’s to distinguish in this setting.

And looking up "The Island Spinning Song" revealed some more information on the tune. From Earth Song:

"Island Spinning Song is an arrangement of the traditional Scottish reel Alastair o’ the Dun. The lyrics contain a chorus composed of highly rhythmic Gaelic nonsense syllables."

Forth Bridges Dance Band, Island Spinning Song:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOnq2xxULNA


There seems to be different versions of the lyrics. Here’s some from The Black Droves, which differs from Forth Bridges’ lyrics:

Chorus:
Hull-a-mack-a-doo, hoo-rove-a-hee
Hoo-rove-a-hinda, hee-rove-a-rinda
Hull-a-mack-a-doo, hoo-rove-a-hee
O-dick-o-dack-o-dandy

When will someone come to me?
Will he come by land or sea?
Will he my own lover be?
Oh tell me truly well-o.

Chorus

Wheel of fate, what is’t you say?
This year, next, or ne’er a day?
When will a wooer come my way?
Oh tell me truly well-o.

Chorus

Be he dark or be he fair,
shy or bold or debonaire,
ribbons braw will deck my hair
to meet and greet my true love.

Chorus

Re: Alastair Of The Den

I know this as Alasdair an Dubh, which I assume means Dark Alasdair (with pronunciation Doo).
This was a reel in the repertoire of the Cabar Feidh Scottish Country Dance Band, in which I played, and we changed key for the second time through to give it a lift.