Introduction to the world of Gaelic singing

Ro-ràdh / Introduction

Ma tha comas agaibh an abairt seo a leughadh, tha Gàidhlig agaibh; agus ma tha Gàidhlig agaibh tha mi gu math cinnteach gum bi sibh eòlach air cuid no a h-uile fear de na h-òrain a tha cruinnichte san leabhar seo. Mothaichidh sibh nach eil na h-òrain mhòra, throm air an gabhail a-steach, dìreach an seòrsa òran a tha cumanta aig fèisean, mòdan ionadail, taighean-seinnse is cèilidhean neo-fhòirmeil air feadh na dùthcha.

Seo taghadh de dh’òrain a tha a’ còrdadh riumsa; cuid dhiubh, na ciad òrain a chuala mi nuair a thòisich mi ag ionnsachadh Gàidhlig aig Sabhal Mòr Ostaig. B’ i Cairistìona Phrimrose a’ chiad thidsear de dh’òrain Gàidhlig a bh’ agamsa agus abair stiùiriche a bh’ innte. Tha mi fada na comain agus bha e na urram dhomh gun d’ fhuair mi cothrom clàr a dhèanamh còmhla rithe, ‘An Turas’, ann an 2003.

Tha iomadh adhbhar a thug orm an leabhar seo fhoillseachadh. Mhothaich mi aig a’ bhun-sgoil Ghàidhig ionadail gu robh cuid de na pàrantan a’ tighinn gu tur ùr chun na Gàidhlig, gun eòlas air mòran de na h-òrain as cumanta sa chànan. Tha mi an dòchas gum bi an leabhar seo cuideachail do phàrantan is sgoileirean fada is farsaing. Cuideachd, chan eil comas aig a h-uile duine ceòl a leughadh agus ’s e sin as coireach gu bheil clàr aig cùl an leàbhair agus ri fhaighinn air-loidhne. Rach gu www.anamcommunications.com airson tuilleadh fiosrachaidh.

Feumaidh mi taing a thoirt do mo phàrantan, a thug ceòl dhomh bho thùs agus a bha riamh taiceil. Cuideachd, mo thaing is ghaol don bhean agam, Fiona, a tha cho foighidneach, tuigseach is tàlantach. Mu dheireadh, taing do gach neach-ciùil is seinneadair a chluich còmhla rium thairis air na bliadhnachan; tha e air a bhith na thoilicheas dhomh a bhith eòlach oirbh.

Welcome to the world of traditional Gaelic singing. This compilation of songs offers a basic introduction to some of the best-loved Gaelic songs sung by young and old alike at cèilidhs across the land. A traditional Gaelic cèilidh is usually an informal gathering of family and friends who will sing songs, play tunes, dance traditional step and cèilidh dances, tell stories, jokes and generally have a good ‘ho-ro gheallaidh’ (a good time)! Everyone in the room is expected to perform some piece for the gathering and with this collection of songs you now have no excuse not to join in.

There were many thousands of songs to choose from in the compiling of this collection. I have chosen some of the more popular songs which I have enjoyed singing over the years with my own family and friends and I hope that you too will enjoy and pass them on at your own cèilidhs.

Once you have started learning Gaelic songs I would encourage you to delve deeper into the rich Gaelic song tradition and learn about the different styles of songs and singing; from the oldest records to modern compositions inspired from our tradition. I have provided a list of some excellent online resources that will assist you with your research. If you are not a Gaelic speaker and are thinking of learning Gaelic, then you will also find links to sites that can set you on your way. As well as the audio cd enclosed you can also download and stream the songs from this collection online. Visit: www.anamcommunications.com.

A note on singing the songs: The word “Sèist” means “chorus” and should be repeated after every verse. If there is no chorus or refrain in a song then the first verse is often repeated at the end. The songs can be sung with instruments or unaccompanied; in a group/choir or solo.

Brian Ó hEadhra
Samhain / November 2012

Stòrais / Resources

Tha tòrr àiteachan far an lorg sibh fiosrachadh mu òrain Ghàidhlig. ’S e an t-eadar-lìon an t-àite as fheàrr ach chan eil dad nas fheàrr na bhith ag ionnsachadh is a’ seinn le seinneadairean a tha eòlach air an tradaisean. Seo liosta de chuid de na goireasan a tha a-muigh an siud.

There are many resources and places where you can find out about Gaelic songs. The internet has many excellent sites but nothing will beat learning from a Gaelic singer who knows the tradition. Here is a list of some current Gaelic song & language resources.

Am Baile: www.ambaile.org.uk
An Comunn Gàidhealach/Mòd: www.acgmod.org
An t-Alltan Dubh: www.smo.uhi.ac.uk/gaidhlig/alltandubh
BBC ALBA: www.bbc.co.uk/alba
Beag air Bheag: www.bbc.co.uk/alba/foghlam/beag_air_bheag
Bliadhna nan Òran: www.bbc.co.uk/alba/oran
Bòrd na Gàidhlig: www.gaidhlig.org.uk
Celtic Lyrics Corner: www.celticlyricscorner.net
Comhairle nan Leabhraichean/Gaelic Books Council: www.gaelicbooks.org
Fèisean nan Gàidheal: www.feisean.org
Foot Stompin: www.footstompin.com/collections/books/gaelic
Gaelic Books: www.gaelicbooks.com
Gaelic Resource Database: www.gaelicresources.co.uk
Gaelstream: www.gaelstream.stfx.ca
Kist O Dreams: http://www.kistodreams.org/the_songs_-_-_-_-_-_kist_o_dreams_g.asp
Learn Gaelic: www.learngaelic.net
Omniglot: http://www.omniglot.com/songs/gaelic
Sabhal Mòr Ostaig: www.smo.uhi.ac.uk
Scotland’s Songs: www.educationscotland.gov.uk/scotlandssongs
Scottish Storytelling Centre: www.scottishstorytellingcentre.co.uk
Silicon Glen: www.siliconglen.com/Scotland/gaelicsong.html
The Pearl Project of the School of Scottish Studies: www.pearl.arts.ed.ac.uk
Tobar an Dualchais: www.tobarandualchais.co.uk
Ùlpan: www.ulpan.co.uk

Fuaimneachadh / Pronunciation

If you are new to reading and speaking Gaelic then you may find the spelling and pronunciation of some Gaelic words daunting. Don’t despair! The Gaelic spelling system is relatively straightforward once you acquaint yourself with it.

I would recommend that you spend time going through the BBC online Gaelic learning resource – Beag air Bheag. There you will find excellent tuition, including an introduction on how to pronounce Gaelic words and understand basic grammar.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/alba/foghlam/beag_air_bheag/sounds

If you know a Gaelic speaker, then don’t be afraid of asking for advice on pronunciation and meaning. Remember, some words may sound slightly different depending on dialect or accent.