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The leader, Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh (Mary Mahoney for Anglos, daughter of the famous fiddler Frank Mahoney from County Donegal) also has a beautiful, ethereal voice, particularly when she sings in Irish.
And yes, she sings in English, too. The Lass of Glenshee:
Finally, just to pick things up, a few reels.
[Update a while later]
Jim Bennett links in comments to an emigration song. Here’s another by Andy Irvine (one of the founders of Planxty):
It’s interesting to hear an Irish musician play an octave mandolin. He also plays bouzouki. He bummed around in southeastern Europe quite a bit in the seventies, and brought a lot of Romanian folk songs back with him, including houras, which have a very complicated rhythm.
You might note at the end that the tune starts to segue into another, which is the second in the trilogy from the album on emigration, but it doesn’t seem to be on Youtube. Nor is the third, Edward Connors. As you’ll note from the lyrics, the reality of the New World didn’t always live up to the hype. Thousands of them crossed the Atlantic to flee The Great Hunger to find but a grave.
Edward Connors or The Shamrock Shore
Come all you loyal Irishmen and listen for a while.
All you that wants to emigrate and leave the Emerald Isle;
A kind advice I will give you which you must bear in mind,
How you will be forsaken when you leave your land behind.
My name is Edward Connors and the same I’ll ne’er disown
I used to live in happiness near unto Portglenone,
I sold my farm as you will hear which grieves my heart full sore
And I sailed away to Amerikay, I left the Shamrock Shore.
For my mind was deluded by letters that were sent
By those that a few years ago to Canada had went
They said that they like princes lived and earning gold galore
And they laughed at our misfortune here all on the Shamrock Shore.
So it’s with my wife and family to Belfast I went down
I booked our passage on a ship to Quebec she was bound
My money it was growing short when I laid in sea-store
But I thought my fortune would be won if I reached the other shore.
When we were scarce three days at sea a storm it soon arose
It threw our ship on her beam-ends and woke us from our repose
Our sea-store it then was destroyed by water that down did pour
How happy we would then have been all on the Shamrock Shore.
And when we were nine long days at sea our sea-store was all gone
And there upon the ocean wide with nowhere to run
But for our Captain’s kindliness he kindly gave us more
We would have died of hunger ere we reached the other shore.
And it’s when we landed in Quebec the sight that met our eyes
Three hundred of our Irish boys which did us sore surprise
With a sorrowful lamentation charity did they crave
And the little trifle we could spare to them we freely gave.
We stayed three weeks in the town of Quebec hoping some work to find
My money it was growing short which troubled my mind
For I had friends when I had cash but none when I was poor
I never met with friendship yet like this on the Shamrock Shore.
Well we stayed around in Quebec town till our money it was all gone
Still hoping for employment but work we could find none
And in that place it was the case with many hundreds more
Who oft times wished that they were home all on the Shamrock Shore.
No prospect of employment that caused me for to mourn
I had what would enable us again for to return
When on board of an Irish vessel we did embark once more
And thank God we soon arrived safe upon the Shamrock Shore.
So come all you who are intending now strange countries for to roam
Bear in mind you have as good as Canada at home
Before that you cross over the main where foaming billows roar
Think on the happy days you spent all on the Shamrock Shore.
Of course, the grass is always greener on the other side of the ocean.
Why I love Guinness. A symposium.