r2vyln3rdioj14u-rld0ska where mountains meet the sea: Sìne Bhàn / Fair Jean

Sìne Bhàn / Fair Jean


 
'Sìne Bhàn' (pronounced Sheena Van), which translated from the Gaelic means ‘Fair Jean’, was written [by Duncan Johnson, a composer and collector of songs] for his wife and expresses his concern about the first World War and how it would lead to his inevitable participation. He would have to leave Jean and his [Islay] home to go and fight for his country.  Will he return to his love, his Fair Jean? In this hauntingly beautiful song he writes that he hopes to come home safely to her and to the village of Baile Mhonaidh where they live. This song is particularly pertinent just now as we remember all those who fought and died for us in WW1. - Fiona Kennedy

Blàth nan cailean, Sìne bhàn
Flower of the girls, fair Jean
Reul nan nighean dìleas, òg;
Star of maidens, faithful and young;
Cuspair dìomhar i do m’ dhan,
Secret subject of my song,
Gràdh mo chrìdh’ an ribhinn òg.
Love of my heart, the young lass. 

Aros sona bh’ againn thall
A happy house had we over yonder
Airigh mhonaidh, innis bhò,
A moorland sheiling, cattle pasture,
Sgaoil ar sonas uainn air ball
Scattered was our happiness suddenly
Mar roinneas gaoth nam fuar-bheann ceò.
As the wind drives the mist from the cold mountains.

Bruaillean cogaidh anns an tìr,
The tumult of war was in the land,
Faic an long a’ togail sheòl,
See the ship raising sail,
Cluinn an druma ’s fuaim nam pìob,
Hear the drum and the sound of the pipes,
Faic na suinn, a’ dol air bòrd.
See the heroes going on board. 

Ma tha e ’n dàn mi bhith slàn,
If it my fate to keep my health,
Stadaidh ràn nan gunnan mòr,
When the sound of the big guns will cease,
Am Baile Mhonaidh nì mi tàmh
In Baile Mhonaidh I will stay.
Le Sìne bhàn, mo rìbhinn òg.
With fair Jean, my young lass.

from Tom Colquhoun's translations

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