The Sheep In The Boat jig

Also known as An Chaora Sa Bhád, Anach Chuain, Anach Cuain, Annach Cuain, Eanach Cuain, Eanach Dhúin, The Sheep Sinking The Boat, The Sheep Sunk The Boat, The Sheep That Sunk The Boat.

There are 34 recordings of a tune by this name.

A tune by this name has been recorded together with Hurry The Jug (a few times).

The Sheep In The Boat has been added to 12 tune sets.

The Sheep In The Boat has been added to 263 tunebooks.

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Six settings

X: 1
T: The Sheep In The Boat
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Edor
|: BEF GFE | FEF def | edB BAF | AFE FED |
BEF G2 A | FEF def | edB {d}BAF | AFE E2 A :|
|: B2 e ede | fef d2 f | edB BAF | AFE FGA |
Bee ede | fef def | edB BAF | AFE E2 A |
Bee ede | ~f3 def | edB BAF | AFE FED |
B,EF GFE | ~F3 def | edB {d}BAF | AFE EFA |
# Added .
X: 2
T: The Sheep In The Boat
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Ddor
|: ADE FDE | ~E3 cde | dcA AGE | GED EDC |
| ADE F2 G | EDE c2 e | dcA AGE | GED D3 :||
| A2 d dcd | ede c2 e | dcA AGE | GED EFG |
| Add dcd | ede cde | dcA AGE | GED DE/F/G |
| A2 d dcd | ede c2 e | dcA AGE | GED EDC |
| A,DE FED | ~E3 cde | dcA AGE | GED D3 ||
# Added .
X: 3
T: The Sheep In The Boat
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Edor
"1"BEF {A}GFE | ~F3 def | {g}edB BAF | {B}AFE FED |
BEF G2 A | ~F3 def | {g}edB BAF | {B}AFE E2 z |
BEF {A}G2E | ~F3 d3 | {g}edB BAF | {B}AFE {F}FED |
BEF .G2 A | FEF .d2f | {g}edB BAF | {B}AFE E2 z |
"5"{c}B2 e ede | ~f3 .d2 f | {g}edB BAF | {B}AFE {G}FED |
BBe ede | .f2f def | {g}edB BAF | {B}AFE E2 z |
BeB ~e3 | {g}fef Adf | {g}edB BAF | {B}AFE {G}FED |
BEF .G2A | ~F3 .d2f | {g}edB BAF | {B}AFE E2 z |
BEF GFE|~F3 def|{g}edB BAF|{B}AFE {G}FED|
"10"BEF G2 A | ~F3 Adf | {g}edB BAF | {B}AFE E2 z |
BEF .G2 E | ~F3 dcd | {g}edB BAF | {B}AFE {G}FED |
BEF G2 A | FEF .d2 f | {g}edB BAF | {B}AFE E2 z|
B2e ede | .f2f def | {g}edB BAF | {B}AFE {G}FED |
Bee .ede | fef .d2f | edB BAF | {B}AFE E2 z |
"15"B2e ede | ~f3 Adf | {g}edB BAF | {B}AFE {G}FED |
BEF .G2A | ~F3 .d2f | {g}edB BAF | {B}AFE E2 z |
BEF {A}G2E|~F3 d2f|{g}edB BAF|{B}AFE {G}FED|
BEF .G2 A | FEF def | {g}edB BAF | {B}AFE E2 z |
BEF ~G3|~F3 Adf|{g}edB BAF | {B}AFE {G}FED |
"20"BEF .G2 A | ~F3 Adf | {g}edB BAF | {B}AFE E2 z |
BB e ede | ~f3 .d2 f | {g}edB BAF | {B}AFE {G}FED |
Bee .ede | .f2f def | {g}edB BAF | {B}AFE E2 z |
~B3 eBe|~f3 .d2 f | {g}edB BAF | {B}AFE {G}FED |
BEF .G2 A | ~F3 .d2 f | {g}edB BAF | {B}AFE E2 z ||
X: 4
T: The Sheep In The Boat
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Edor
D|: B,EF G3 | FED def | edB BAF | AFE FED |
B,EF G2 A/G/ | FEF def | edB BA/G/F |1 AG/F/E E2D :|2 AG/F/E E2 G/A/||
B2 e ede | fef d2 e/f/| edB BAF | AFE FED |
Bee ede | fgf d2f | edB BA/G/F | AG/F/E E2 d/c/ |
B2e ede |f2 ^g a2 e/f/| edB BAF | AFE FED |
B,EF G2 F/E/| F3 def | edB BA/G/F | AG/F/E E2D |
X: 5
T: The Sheep In The Boat
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Edor
|: B,EF GFE | ~F3 def | edB BAF | AFE FED |
B,EF ~G3 | ~F3 def | edB BAF | AFE E3 :|
B2 e ede | ~f3 d2 f | edB BAF | AFE E3 |
Bed e^de | f2f def | edB BAF | AFE E3 |
~B3 ~e3| ~f3 Adf | edB BAF | AFE FED |
B,EF ~G3 | ~F3 ~D3 | edB BAF | AFE E3 |
X: 6
T: The Sheep In The Boat
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Edor
|: B,EF GFE | ~F3 def | edB BAF | AFE FED |
B,EF ~G3 | ~F3 d3 | edB BAF | AFE E3 :|
B2 e ede | f2 f/e/ d2 f | edB BAF | AFE E3 |
Bee e^de | f3 def | edB BAF | AFE E3 |
~B3 eBe| ~f3 Adf | edB BAF | AFE FED |
B,EF G2 D/E/ | ~F3 d2f | edB BAF | AFE E3 |

Twenty comments

The Sheep in the Boat

I learned this tune originally in D dorian (see below) off a fluter using a C flute. Then Tish was kind enough to transcribe a setting off of Kevin Crehan’s An Bhadog in E dorian, which makes more sense for D whistles, flutes, and pipes. And it works just fine in either key on fiddle. The setting Ive posted here is a blend of the two sources, though probably more loyal to the C flute version.

If you know the Killavil Jig, this E dorian setting will sound familiar, but I like the passing notes in Sheep in the Boat.

Here’s how it looks in D dorian, a nice low, somber and slow tune for fiddle:

X: 1
T: The Sheep in the Boat
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: D Dorian
|: ADE FDE | ~E3 cde | dcA AGE | GED EDC |
| ADE F2 G | EDE c2 e | dcA AGE | GED D3 :||
| A2 d dcd | ede c2 e | dcA AGE | GED EFG |
| Add dcd | ede cde | dcA AGE | GED DE/F/G |
| A2 d dcd | ede c2 e | dcA AGE | GED EDC |
| A,DE FED | ~E3 cde | dcA AGE | GED D3 ||

And the title’s a classic :o)

Posted .

Sheep in the boat

This seems to be a jig version of the song air Annach Cuain—-a really nice adaptation

Aaarrrggghhh. Thanks John. I knew I’d heard this before and knew it by another name. Heh, it’s funny that there are so many tunes that you can inadvertently learn the same tune twice and not realize it till someone else points it out. :o)

Posted .

Just read Alice Flynn’s comments on the air… I now wonder whether "The Sheep in the Boat" is a reference to the parishioners who drowned, presumably helpless as sheep?

Posted by .

David, that’s my recollection of it too, although I’m also free-associating this with some not-too-old movie where a dinghy is capsized in a storm, a man drowns, and there’s a sheep involved (must be time to limit my intake of porter…everything’s so foggy :o).

Posted .

Version by Tara Diamond on Wooden Flute Obsession

Hi, here is transcription of Tara Diamonds playing. Mind the {g}-Notes are supposed to be cuts and .x means play x short.
Hope, you like it:

X: 1
T: Sheep In The Boat, The
C: Tara Diamond "Wooden Flute Obsession 2" (disc 1, track 3)
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
R: jig
K: Edor
"1"BEF {A}GFE | ~F3 def | {g}edB BAF | {B}AFE FED |
BEF G2 A | ~F3 def | {g}edB BAF | {B}AFE E2 z |
BEF {A}G2E | ~F3 d3 | {g}edB BAF | {B}AFE {F}FED |
BEF .G2 A | FEF .d2f | {g}edB BAF | {B}AFE E2 z |
"5"{c}B2 e ede | ~f3 .d2 f | {g}edB BAF | {B}AFE {G}FED |
BBe ede | .f2f def | {g}edB BAF | {B}AFE E2 z |
BeB ~e3 | {g}fef Adf | {g}edB BAF | {B}AFE {G}FED |
BEF .G2A | ~F3 .d2f | {g}edB BAF | {B}AFE E2 z |
BEF GFE|~F3 def|{g}edB BAF|{B}AFE {G}FED|
"10"BEF G2 A | ~F3 Adf | {g}edB BAF | {B}AFE E2 z |
BEF .G2 E | ~F3 dcd | {g}edB BAF | {B}AFE {G}FED |
BEF G2 A | FEF .d2 f | {g}edB BAF | {B}AFE E2 z|
B2e ede | .f2f def | {g}edB BAF | {B}AFE {G}FED |
Bee .ede | fef .d2f | edB BAF | {B}AFE E2 z |
"15"B2e ede | ~f3 Adf | {g}edB BAF | {B}AFE {G}FED |
BEF .G2A | ~F3 .d2f | {g}edB BAF | {B}AFE E2 z |
BEF {A}G2E|~F3 d2f|{g}edB BAF|{B}AFE {G}FED|
BEF .G2 A | FEF def | {g}edB BAF | {B}AFE E2 z |
BEF ~G3|~F3 Adf|{g}edB BAF | {B}AFE {G}FED |
"20"BEF .G2 A | ~F3 Adf | {g}edB BAF | {B}AFE E2 z |
BB e ede | ~f3 .d2 f | {g}edB BAF | {B}AFE {G}FED |
Bee .ede | .f2f def | {g}edB BAF | {B}AFE E2 z |
~B3 eBe|~f3 .d2 f | {g}edB BAF | {B}AFE {G}FED |
BEF .G2 A | ~F3 .d2 f | {g}edB BAF | {B}AFE E2 z ||

Junior Crehan tune

This is in Junior Crehan’s book of tunes under this name. It’s played locally here but no one could remember tune name - then I heard it played in Miltown this year by Junior’s son & daughter, I think. They called it ‘Sheep in the Boat’ which had me look it up in his book.

Composer

I think Junior Crehan composed this

Source

The E dorian fiddle version is in CRE5 (#49) where the notes firmly attribute it to JC who adapted/arranged it from the song air. No mystery, quite straightforward. - trad air, JC jig arrangement.

FWIW, IMO the D dor setting works better on D flute (if you have an F natural key) than the E dor - the octave folds needed for where the JC fiddle version goes down the G string out of flute range are more finger-comfortable/musically convincing - and there’s the added advantage that it can flow straight out of the end of the song/slow air that way, carrying over the final A of the air (in the setting in Tomas O’Canainn’s Traditional Slow Airs of Ireland - I think the setting linked above is rather faulty!) ) into the jig, if you want to pair them up.

Sheep in the Boat

Dervish plays this on their album Thrush in the Storm.

They say the story behind it is something about a boat of people moving some sheep and one of the sheep gets startled and kicks his foot through the bottom of the boat and the boat fills with water and sinks.

Re: The Sheep In The Boat

Junior Crehan seems to have had a knack for re-imagining airs and waltzes and jigs, exemplified by The Mist Covered Mountain, arguably his best-known tune. The Sheep in the Boat is his jig adaptation of the lovely air Anac Cuan, commemorating the 1828 boating tragedy on Lough Corrib near Annaghdown, Galway when a sheep drove its hoof through the rotten bottom of a wooden boat overloaded with passengers and stock bound for a fair in Galway Town https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annaghdown .
Here’s Peter Browne playing the air on the pipes:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6yj51ui190

And sung by Joe Heaney
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5Q7uL7aJU4


Finally, a particularly craggy setting of the jig played by Josephine Marsh and Mick Kinsella, who call it The Hole in the Boat. The first tune in the set is another Junior Crehan composition, The Luachrachán’s Jig https://thesession.org/tunes/1851

The Sheep In The Boat, X:4

Combination of previous settings, some alternative places to take the melody, and a bunch of runs.

Really enjoyed Birkin Tree’s recording of this, on their "Virginia" album. That one is in a lower key. Leads into Mrs. O’Sullivan’s nicely.

There was some discussion of the name’s origin. Apparently it’s about the sinking of a boat (and loss of life), caused by a sheeps’ hooves putting a hole in the bottom. See: http://www.mcdermottshandy.com/tunes/sheepintheboat.shtml

The Sheep In The Boat, X:5

More variations, and a few quarky notes in the 5th bar of the B Part.

Re: The Sheep In The Boat

Also a really nice rendition of this on Harmony Glen’s "Before Dawn".

Variation B part

Enjoying variation to B part in D dorian with accidentals to G and c and second octave variation second time through giving interesting colour:

^G|A2d d^cd|eee =cde|d2A AGE|GED EDC|
Add d^cd|eee =cde|d2A AGE|GED D3|
AAA d^cd|eee =cde|d2A AGE|GED EDC|
ADE F3|ege cde|d2A AGE|GED D3||