“Da Auld Swaara Jupie” ~ a lament ~ Q: 1/2 = 90 - 100 bpm
This take has been transcribed from the playing of Tom Anderson, Shetland fiddler…
This is another tune offered up this week in appreciation for the music of the Shetland Isles and its musicians…
“haand me doon da fiddle”
Tom Anderson & Pam Swing
The University of Stirling, 1979
#51: Auld Swaara
"Dis een is a lament fir fishermen wha were lost at sea ida time o’ da Haaf fishing. Naebody ida auld days
laeked to caa a dead body be dere name. Day wir aye spoken aboot as "her it belanged ta me", or "da
bairn’s faider". Ivery fisherman at dat time wore next til his skin a heavy knitted singlet caaed a jupie usually
made oot o’ 3 ply black wirsit. Dis wis referred to as da swaara, or dark jupie, so da name really means da
auld swaara jupie.
I go dis tün fae da late Peter Fraser, wha telt me dat his grandfaider aye said da tün was composed in deep
sorrow, and da story o’ da jupie fae my faider."
auld = old
swaara = heavy knitted woollen underwear usually of a dark shade
dis = this
een = one
fir = for
ida = in the
o’ = of
da = the
Haaf = a far off fishing ground at the edge of the Continental Shelf
laeked = liked
caa = call
dere = their
day = they
wir = were
aye = always
aboot = about
belanged = belonged
ta = to
faider = father
ivery = every
jupie = woolen singlet, undershirt
oot o’ = out of
wirsit - woolen yarn
tün = tune
fae = from
:-/ ~ ???
Weird? ~ Where did that spacing come from? When I added the quote from Tom Anderson above there wasn’t any spacing between lines at all. That didn’t happen until I posted it. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen again… Curious…
“I got dis tün fae da late Peter Fraser ~ “
Also odd, a small correction…
What a nice tune. It has a really striking rhythm to it, even at that slow pace, almost march-like.
“Da Auld Swaara Jupie”
Here follows a quick few adjustments in G as some possibilities for D limited instruments:
T: Da Auld Swaara Jupie
K: G Major
|: D |
G4 G3 D B2 G2 | D2 GD (3B2A2B2 | G3 B Bc/B/ AF |
G4 G3 D B2 G2 | (3D2G2D2 (3B2A2B2 |[1 D2 G2 G3 :|[2 d2 g2 g3 ||
|: a |
gfed c2 ec | B2 dB A3 B | G3 B B2 AF |
gfed c2 ec | (3B2d2B2 A3 B |[1 d2 g2 g3 :|[2 D2 G2 G3 ||
|: D |
GFED G2 g2 | e2 dB defg | a3 A Bc/B/ AF |
GFED G2 g2 | e2 dB (3d2g2d2 |[1 B2 G2 G3 :|[2 B G3 G3 |]
Oh how considerate - he even makes allowances for us whistle players!
Any thing not to cause alarum distress… ;-)
I have other recordings of this and I’ll check themfor any possible differences and may add another transcription if I find a significantly different take on this. In "haand me doon da fiddle" the transcription is in 2/4, but I don’t feel it does justice to Tom Anderson’s playing of it. If I don’t find a significantly different recording I will at least add a 2/4 transcription for comparison…
May I say that this tune is not a ‘barndance’ (who thought that one up?) but a slow air or possibly lament, as Tammy said.
Welcome, Jantar. Because there is no option for using "slow air" as a tune type, we’re forced to use other tune types and explain in the comments that it’s actually a slow air. In this case, ceolachan forgot to make that distinction.
What about "Auld Swarra" as a name for your band?
No, ceolachan didn’t forget - just seen his original comment heading. Sorry…
Have a listen to Aly Bain’s version of this on his new CD with Ale Moller, Beyond the Stacks. Gorgeous.
~ [M:6/4] G4 G3 D B,2 G,2 | [M:4/4] ~ apologies ~ :-)
I’m sorry, I had notated the odd bar and then when submitting it must have missed the edit. Anyway, for the A-part, bars 1 & 4 are 6/4, while the rest are 4/4, as transcribed from the playing of Tom Anderson and friends… Here it is in repetition, the corrections have been made to the ABCs ~
R: lament, played like a slow march
K: G Major
|: D |
[M:6/4] G4 G3 D B,2 G,2 | [M:4/4] D2 GD (3B,2A,2B,2 | G,3 B Bc/B/ AF |
[M:6/4] G4 G3 D B,2 G,2 | [M:4/4] (3D2G2D2 (3B,2A,2B,2 | D2 G2 G3 :| ~
Q: 1/2 = 75 bpm (the midi)
Hi Hollyn, what tempo does Aly take it at? He has also played with Tom Anderson, and many times. I’d be interested if he takes it very differently, pace or way, though I do know he has his own way with things, partly influenced by his long history with "The Boys of the Lough", Phil Cunningham, and arranging for stage and audience. I only know of the recording "Beyond the Stacks" and don’t have it to check. I’ve no doubt they do a moving treatment of this lovely lament. Personally, and I’ve done only a little time in the fishing industry, but have heard enough tales, I’d want to take it possibly a little slower than Tom Anderson and friends take it on the recordings I have, as given at the top, but I like there way with it too.
Too slow and I think it could come off as overtly maudlan, nostalgic, twee? I have heard it play that way, and to the point that the attention was taken off the tune and heavily adjusted toward the player and what they were doing with it, which included ghastly vibrato, which for me jarred and made me wince with discomfort and embarrassment… It was just too slick and sirrupy While there is some ‘hesitation’, the playing I’m familiar with for this lament is fairly steady and has that slow march feel about it, as for some funeral procession I’ve been present at… The midi, for comparison, is as given in the header ~ Q: 1/2 = 75 bpm…
P.S. folks, I also chose ‘barndance’ because the other 4/4 option tends to be too fast, a reel it ain’t either. Also, 2/4, well, you can imagine, a polka is just about the furthest you can get away from this lovely melody… :-/
He doesn’t play it particularly slowly, or at least not as slowly as other ‘laments’ I’ve heard. And I haven’t heard Tom Anderson’s version. They go from it into a fast Shetland reel called Up da Stroods de Sailor Goes. It says in the tune notes that the first part of the Auld Swaara is the rocking of the waves, followed by the sinking of the body, the last part is where the drowned fisheman’s soul rises to Valhalla. He says the tune comes from the playing of the late Peter Frazer of Finnigarth, Walls. Ale does some wonderful mandola playing on the track, as well. When you know what each of the three parts of the tune represents, you can certainly hear it in how Aly plays the melody. I was listening to it over and over trying to get it into my head so that I could play it, when I noticed it appearing in the tune list here — nice coincidence!