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A2 - Beginners : Learn a Gaelic song - ’S i Mòrag

’S i Mòrag

This is a lively tune! It’s a song about a boisterous wedding, at which a lady called Mòrag was the lucky bride. Several women are named in this song, but no men are named. This is a popular type of Gaelic song called Puirt à Beul, meaning ‘a tune from the mouth’ or ‘mouth music’. This type of song is often light-hearted, occasionally bawdy, in nature. This version is sung by Sìneag MacIntyre. Watch the video to get a feel for the song.

As with many Gaelic songs, this has a simple chorus. We’ll begin with vocabulary:

ainmeil

famous

banais

wedding

The first two lines are really simple to learn:

’S i Mòrag, ’s i Mòrag,
’S i Mòrag a rinn a' bhanais

It was Mòrag, it was Mòrag,
It was Mòrag who had the wedding

The final lines are also nice and simple to learn:

Mòrag, ’s i Mòrag,
A rinn a' bhanais ainmeil

It was Mòrag, it was Mòrag,
Who had the famous wedding

Are you feeling confident? Let’s put all four lines together and start to work on the complete chorus:

’S i Mòrag, ’s i Mòrag,
’S i Mòrag a rinn a' bhanais,
’S i Mòrag, ’s i Mòrag,
A rinn a’ bhanais ainmeil

It was Mòrag, it was Mòrag,
It was Mòrag who had had the wedding,
It was Mòrag, it was Mòrag,
Who had the famous wedding

How are you getting on? For the first verse, here’s the vocabulary you need:

dubh

black

an-uiridh

last year

bliadhna

year

latha

day

riamh

ever

The first two lines are commenting on the darkness of the bride’s hair:

Bha i dubh an-uiridh,
Agus tha i dubh am bliadhna

She was black-haired last year,
And she's black-haired this year

The second two lines continue:

'S bha i dubh a h-uile latha,
Chunnaic mise riamh i

She’s been black-haired every day,
That I have ever seen her

We are getting into the swing of things, so let's put the first verse together:

Bha i dubh an-uiridh,
Agus tha i dubh am bliadhna
'S bha i dubh a h-uile latha,
Chunnaic mise riamh i

She was black-haired last year,
And she's black-haired this year
She’s been black-haired every day,
That I have ever seen her

’S i Mòrag - the second verse

How are you getting on? The second verse is coming up, let’s look at the vocabulary:

bean an taighe

housewife, good-wife

fear an taighe

master of the house, man of the house

mo sheanmhair

my grandmother

seanair

grandfather

banarach

milkmaid

buachaille

cowherd

searbhant

servant

sgalag

skivvy

The first two lines start pairing up the couples who were at the dance:

Bha fear an taigh aig bean an taigh,
'S an sgalag aig an t-searbhant'

The man of the house danced with the good-wife,
The skivvy with the servant

The second two lines continue that theme of pairing off the couples:

Bha 'm buachaill' aig a' bhanaraich,
'S mo sheanair aig mo sheanmhair

The cowherd danced with the milkmaid,
My grandfather and grandmother danced together

Now we’re comfortable, let’s put the four lines together:

Bha fear an taigh aig bean an taigh,
'S an sgalag aig an t-searbhant',
Bha ‘m buachaill' aig a' bhanaraich,
'S mo sheanair aig mo sheanmhair

The man of the house danced with the good-wife,
The skivvy with the servant,
The cowherd danced with the milkmaid,
My grandfather and grandmother danced together

’S i Mòrag - the third verse

dos

drone

Mòr

diminutive of Mòrag

Raonaid

Rachel

fidheall

fiddle

Seònaid

Janet

The first two lines begin:

Bha Seònaid is fidheall aic',
Raonaid is pìob aic'

Janet played the fiddle,
Rachel played the pipes

The verse continues:

Mòr nan Dos is feadan aic',
'S sheinneadh iad an ruidhle

Mòrag played the chanter,
And they all sang the reel

The whole verse together is:

Bha Seònaid is fidheall aic',
Raonaid is pìob aic',
Mòr nan Dos is feadan aic',
'S sheinneadh iad an ruidhle

Janet played the fiddle,
Rachel played the pipes,
Mòrag played the chanter,
And they all sang the reel

’S i Mòrag - the whole song

’S i Mòrag, ’s i Mòrag,
’S i Mòrag a rinn a' bhanais,
Mòrag, ’s i Mòrag,
A rinn a' bhanais ainmeil

It was Mòrag, it was Mòrag,
It was Mòrag who had had the wedding,
It was Mòrag, it was Mòrag,
Who had the famous wedding

Bha i dubh an-uiridh,
Agus tha i dubh am bliadhna,
'S bha i dubh a h-uile latha,
Chunnaic mise riamh i

She was black-haired last year,
And she's black-haired this year,
She’s been black-haired ever since,
I ever saw her

’S i Mòrag, ’s i Mòrag,
’S i Mòrag a rinn a' bhanais,
Mòrag, ’s i Mòrag,
A rinn a' bhanais ainmeil

It was Mòrag, it was Mòrag,
It was Mòrag who had had the wedding,
It was Mòrag, it was Mòrag,
Who had the famous wedding

Bha fear an taigh aig bean an taigh,
'S an sgalag aig an t-searbhant',
Bha ‘m buachaill' aig a' bhanaraich,
'S mo sheanair aig mo sheanmhair

The man of the house danced with the good-wife,
The skivvy with the servant,
The cowherd danced with the milkmaid,
My grandfather and grandmother danced together

’S i Mòrag, ’s i Mòrag,
’S i Mòrag a rinn a' bhanais,
Mòrag, ’s i Mòrag,
A rinn a' bhanais ainmeil

It was Mòrag, it was Mòrag,
It was Mòrag who had had the wedding,
It was Mòrag, it was Mòrag,
Who had the famous wedding

Bha Seònaid is fidheall aic',
Raonaid is pìob aic',
Mòr nan Dos is feadan aic',
'S sheinneadh iad an ruidhle

Janet played the fiddle,
Rachel played the pipes,
Mòrag played the chanter,
And they all sang the reel

’S i Mòrag, ’s i Mòrag,
’S i Mòrag a rinn a' bhanais,
Mòrag, ’s i Mòrag,
A rinn a' bhanais ainmeil

It was Mòrag, it was Mòrag,
It was Mòrag who had had the wedding,
It was Mòrag, it was Mòrag,
Who had the famous wedding