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Women Music March #10 — Orla Fallon

Órlagh Mary Louise Fallon (born August 24, 1974), professionally known as Órla Fallon, is an Irish singer, songwriter and former member of the group Celtic Woman and the chamber choir Anúna. Fallon was born in Knockananna, Ireland. She plays the harp and sings traditional Irish music, most often in the Irish language. Fallon studied at Mater Dei Institute of Education, in Dublin.

To read an interview with Orla, go here.

from wikipedia:
Mo Ghile Mear” (translated “My Gallant Darling”, “My Spirited Lad” and variants) is an Irish song. The modern form of the song was composed in the early 1970s by Dónal Ó Liatháin (1934–2008), using a traditional air collected in Cúil Aodha, County Cork, and lyrics selected from Irish-language poems by Seán “Clárach” Mac Domhnaill (1691–1754).

The lyrics are partially based on Bímse Buan ar Buairt Gach Ló (“My Heart is Sore with Sorrow Deep”, c. 1746), a lament of the failure of the Jacobite rising of 1745. The original poem is in the voice of the personification of Ireland, Éire, lamenting the exile of Bonnie Prince Charlie. Mo ghile mear is a term applied to the Pretender in numerous Jacobite songs of the period. O’Daly (1866) reports that many of the Irish Jacobite songs were set to the tune The White Cockade. This is in origin a love song of the 17th century, the “White Cockade” (cnotadh bán) being an ornament of ribbons worn by young women, but the term was re-interpreted to mean a military cockade in the Jacobite context.

Another part of the lyrics is based in an earlier Jacobite poem by Mac Domhnaill. This was published in Edward Walsh’s Irish Popular Songs (Dublin, 1847) under the title of “Air Bharr na gCnoc ‘san Ime gCéin — Over the Hills and Far Away”. Walsh notes that this poem was “said to be the first Jacobite effort” by Mac Domhnaill, written during the Jacobite rising of 1715, so that here the exiled hero is the “Old Pretender”, James Francis Edward Stuart.

The composition of the modern song is associated with composer Seán Ó Riada, who established an Irish-language choir in Cúil Aodha, County Cork, in the 1960s. The tune to which it is now set was collected by Ó Riada from an elderly resident of Cúil Aodha called Domhnall Ó Buachalla. Ó Riada died prematurely in 1971, and the song was composed about a year after his death, in c. 1972, with Ó Riada himself now becoming the departed hero lamented in the text. The point of departure for the song was the tape recording of Domhnall Ó Buachalla singing the tune. Ó Riada’s son Peadar suggested to Dónal Ó Liatháin that he should make a song from this melody.

Ó Liatháin decided to select verses from Mac Domhnaill’s poem and set them to the tune. He chose those that were the most “universal”, so that the modern song is no longer an explicit reference to the Jacobite rising but in its origin a lament for the death of Seán Ó Riada.

 

 

I found the translated lyrics here.

My dashing darling
My dashing darling is my hero
He’s my Caesar, a dashing darling,
I’ve got no rest and no pleasure
Since my dashing darling went to a distant land.

I’m incessantly sorrowing each day,
Lamenting sorely and showing signs of tears
As the lively lad has been separated from me
And no news from him is told, my sadness.

My dashing darling is my hero
He’s my Caesar, a dashing darling,
I’ve got no rest and no pleasure
Since my dashing darling went to a distant land.

My dashing darling is my hero
He’s my Caesar, a dashing darling,
I’ve got no rest and no pleasure
Since my dashing darling went to a distant land.

Let a story be sung on tuneful harps
and let lots of quarts be filled on the table
with high spirits faultless and unclouded
to find life and good health for my lion*

My dashing darling is my hero
He’s my Caesar, a dashing darling,
I’ve got no rest and no pleasure
Since my dashing darling went to a distant land. (x3)

* “leon” is perhaps ambiguous – it can mean either “lion” or “wound/grief/sorrow/pain”. I don’t think the idea here is that the Goddess “Eire” (who was the speaker in the original poem on which this song was based) is asking for relief from her sorrow, I think she’s asking for her lion, her dashing darling, to come back to her and carry on with his battle to free the gaels from King George in particular and the English in general, so I’ve picked “lion” rather than “wound” or “grief”.

8 thoughts on “Women Music March #10 — Orla Fallon

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