IONA is about the Celtic tradition--the WHOLE tradition: Scottish, Irish, Welsh, Cornish, Manx, Breton, Galician/Asturian, even our home grown Appalachian. We are fortunate to be New World Celts: the offspring of those nomadic tribes that continue their westward odyssey. The influences we have grown up with are those of our eclectic heritage, which is why we combine them with the vibrant variety that is the United States of America. We even keep Bernard, our token Brit, on hand to stay connected with the homelands...
The complete lyrics may be viewed here.
1. Wrth Fynd Efo Deio y Dywyn/An Culyek Hos (While Going with Deio to Tywyn/The Mallard Duck) Welsh/Cornish 3:31
This song in Welsh is an enthusiastic young traveler's diary, cataloguing his experiences with
one Deio, friend of Mr. Jones, en route to the town of Tywyn in Gwynedd, Wales. We combine
it with a Cornish tune that reflects Breton origins. Not content with a single time signature, we
play the above first as hornpipes then as jigs. lyrics
2. Came Ye O'er frae France/Duncan Johnson's/Butterfingers (P.M. Duncan MacLeod) Scottish 4:21
This fine auld Jacobite song satirizes the Hanoverian King George I, who reigned at the time
when James Stuart, the Old Pretender, led the Highland rebellion against British rule, with rude
references to his very ugly mistresses and scandalous proclivities. Bob carries on with a
hornpipe and jig on the great pipes. lyrics
3. Fare You Well/Santón de Camadu Appalachian/Asturian 5:25
This stunning song from North Carolina was collected by John and Alan Lomax. It seems to
have its roots in the time of the Napoleonic wars, but projects a distinct Appalachian flavor,
reflecting the Scotch-Irish (yes-that's what they call it!) heritage of Barbara's Kentucky and Bob's
Virginia forebears. We accompany the song, then lead with a dance tune from the Camadu area
in Asturias, one of the Celtic regions of Northern Spain, that we learned from the group, Llan de
4. Quand j'étais jeune à dix-huit ans/Hanter dros (When I was young and eighteen/dances) Breton 5:48
Once again, we are indebted to the Monjarret family of the Morbihan district in Brittany, the
Celtic province of France. Nolwenn taught Barbara this song from Morbihan--an hanter dro, or
dance tune--with nonsense words in French dialect. We found two of the subsequent hanter dros
in Polig's magnificently exhaustive collection of Breton tunes. As always, we encourage our
audiences to join in the dances, taught to Bernard by Nolwenn as well... lyrics
5. Donald MacGillavry/Paddy's Leather Britches Scottish 5:34
Back to the Jacobite rebellion and another satire, this one of one Donald MacGillavry, the
symbol for the Scottish lairds who sold out to the English. Bob follows with a piping version of
the song on the great pipes, then segués into the reel, Paddy's Leather Britches, arranged
for him by his brother, another great piper, Burt Mitchell. According to Bob, the aforementioned
leather britches were once worn by excise men to test the strength of whisky: if they stuck to the
liquor, poured on a bench, the whisky was strong enough--the britches, no doubt, reminiscent of
the piper's bag who penned this ode! lyrics
6. Wellington's Advance/A Ei D'ir 'Deryn Du?/Nyth y Gog/The Tarbolton (Blackbird Will You Go?/The Cuckoo's Nest) Irish/Welsh/Scottish 5:11
We decided to do some Celtic hopscotch on this medley. We start with a slow Irish jig, and
follow with a macaronic song, i.e. sung partly in Welsh, partly in English--a gimmick popular in
the nineteenth century, then a Welsh hornpipe, back to the song, and finish with a rollicking reel,
claimed by both the Scottish and the Irish. Quite the whirlwind tour.
7. The Mermaid's Song/Seoladh na nGamhna (Driving the Calves to Pasture) Scottish/Irish 5:38
Bob and Barbara take the spotlight with two beautiful solos. The Mermaid's Song is one of the
most haunting piping tunes we know. Seoladh na nGamhna, from the collection of Pilib Ó
Laoghaire, describes with unsurpassed grace, the seduction of the singer's object of affection in
"a fragrant little nook in the corner of the wood". lyrics
8. Where are you Going/Aberdulais Cornish/Welsh 3:55
This Cornish song, also of seduction, describes a naive swain maneuvered handily into marriage
by a canny young milkmaid. Barbara, whose interpretation this is, renders the song in English,
the words of which were sung by James Olver, a tanner of Launceston, Cornwall, and recorded
by Baring Gould. We introduce the song with an old Welsh tune, Aberdulais, then follow it with
a variation. The latter interpretation is a happy mistake executed by Ceri Rhys Matthews, a
contemporary Welsh musician, while transposing the original Aberdulais from a collection of
tunes, Alawon fy Ngwlad: Lays of My Land, compiled by Nicholas Bennett of Glanyrafon 1896.
9. Birken Tree/Devil in the Kitchen/The Curlew(Donald MacPherson) Scottish 4:41
Yet another happily ever after love song, in which the cooing couple trysts beneath the birch
tree in the glen (the very same one after which we've named this album). Bob augments this
joyful concept with a hornpipe and jig on the great pipes. lyrics
10. An Dros/Te Traa Goll Thie (Arrane Oie Vie)(It's time to go home or Good night song)/When First Her Face I Seen Breton/Mann 4:15
We start out with two an dros--Breton dances, from Polig Monjarret's collection, and throw in a
hint of the tune of the song to come, in the upbeat preamble to this beautiful song of farewell
from the Isle of Man. Frequently sung at sessions after last call, Te Traa Goll Thie is considered
by many to be practically an anthem. We're indebted to David Fisher, a musician in Mann, who
patiently sang the words over the phone for Barbara across the miles. The finale is a beautiful
air, also from the Isle of Man, that we learned from Elke Baker, a good friend and fine fiddler.
Total Running Time - 48:28
IONA: Bernard Argent: flutes, whistles,
With undying gratitude to Frank Coleman, a dear friend without whom this recording would not have been possible; as always, to Cheryl Mitchell, Barbara's Welsh coach; to Nolwenn and Polig Monjarret for guiding us through the intricacies of Breton music; to David Fisher and Ceri Rhys Matthews who so kindly helped us with our research; and last, but certainly not least, to Susan Walmsley for her magnificent dance accompaniment to IONA's music, and for helping make it fun!
This album is dedicated to Barbara's father, Argus Tresidder, who helped us with past projects, and came faithfully to our concerts until, at 93, he is no longer able to.
All titles traditional, except where noted. All arrangements © IONA.
IONA ® is a registered service mark of Barnaby Productions, Inc. For bookings, please contact us through the web site or call Barnaby Productions, Inc. at 202-258-7602.
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Page updated July 21, 2012 - Bernard Argent