Scots Sangs Fur Schools

Traditional and new Scots songs for use in Scottish schools

    Highland clearances

DESPERATE  JOURNEY SONGS


This support pack was put together by Ewan McVicar’s Songmaker In Schools project. The sequence of songs was made for use along with the book The Desperate Journey.
Some of the songs are translated from the Gaelic. The new Gaelic songs were made with Sir John Maxwell School by Eilidh MacKenzie.

How these songs fit into the story of the book:
Davie and Kirsty Murray and their parents have to leave the croft when the Clearances come to Sutherland. SONGS: l, 2, and 3.
They travel from Stomoway to Glasgow on the Catriona, whose cargo is herring and kelp. SONG: 4.
Arriving in Glasgow they leam about life in a tenement house. SONGS: 5 and 6.
And about the work of children in factories. SONG: 7.
The family decides to emigrate in search of a better life. SONG: 8.
Sailing on THE PRINCE OF WALES, many emigrants weep to see the last of Scotland. SONG: 9.
On the way to Canada, they see a whaler, and an iceberg in the Davis Strait. SONG: 10.
The crew and passengers have to haul the ship through an icefield, singing this sea shanty to help them keep time. SONG: 11.
At last they reach Canada. SONGS: 12 and 13.
Another journey lies between them and their new home by the Red River. They are guided and protected by Native Americans. SONGS: 14, 15 and 16.
Kirsty and David, lost in the forest and tracked by Peguis are found singing this song. SONG: 17.
Before the emigrants can settle down, they have to overcome the enmity of the North West Company and their French hunters, the Bois Brules, rivals for use of the buffalo herds. SONGS: 18 and 19.
 

1 CULMAILIE SONG
by P7, Sir John Maxwell Primary School

There's no school, there's no shops
There's no roads, there's no cops
Kirsty and David wear no shoes
On Culmailie croft


Summer sun in the sky
Lundie Burn flowing by
Fields to plough, cows to milk
On Culmailie croft


Stormy days are soon here
Have to leave, full of fear
Kirsty and David feeling sad
On Culmailie croft
  

2 WAULKING SONG
by P7, Sir John Maxwell Primary School

Dh'eirich mi moch madainn alainn
Fa-ill eif ill u ill o
Hiuraibh o na ho-ro eile
Fa-ill eil'ill u ill o
Bha mo bhaga lan le bairnich
Fa-ill eif ill u ill o
Thanaig Padruig air an each aig'
Fa-ill eil' etc
T'hoisich e cho cruaidh ag eigheach
Fa-ill eil' etc
Bhuail e Daibhidh leis a chuipe
Fa-ill eil' etc
Thanaig athair is dh'eigh e "Fuirich!"
Fa-ill eil' etc
TRANSLATION
I awoke early on a bonnie morning
My bag was full of mussels
Along came Patrick on his horse
He started to shout really roughly
He hit Davie with his whip
His father came and shouted "Wait!"
  

3 CALVIE GLEN
new words by Ewan McVicar, Tune Highland Widow’s Lament

I have come to the Lowlands low, brought here by poverty
Without a penny in my pooch to buy tobacco wi.

It wasna so on the Heiland hills, before Gillanders came
Tae put us oot o Calvie Glen and set fire tae oor hames.

I curse the factor and the laird that brought the muckle sheep
The law gives them the power to wound, but they'll not make me weep.

Glencalvie eviction happened in the 1840s.
 
4 HERRIN'S HEID
CHORUS
Of all the fish that's in the sea,
The herrin it is the fish for me,
Fal the riddle, fal the diddle
Fal the riddle i doh

Oh, what'll I dae wi ma herrin's heid? x 2
I'll mak it intae a loaf o breid,
Herrin's heid, loaf o breid,
An a' sorts o things.

Oh, what'll I dae wi ma herrin's eyes? x2
I’ll mak them intae puddins an pies,
Herrin's eyes, puddins an pies
Herrin's heid, loaf o breid,
An a' sorts o things.

Oh, what'll I dae wi ma herrin's fins? x2
I'll mak them intae needles an pins.
Herrin's fins, needles an pins, etc.


Oh, what'll I dae wi ma herrin's back? x2
I'll mak it into a laddie called Jack.
Herrin's back, laddie called Jack, etc.

Oh, what'll I dae wi ma herrin's belly? x2
I'll mak it into a lassie called Nellie.
Herrin's belly, lassie called Nellie, etc.

Oh, what'll I dae wi ma herrin's tail? x2

I'll mak it into a ship wi a sail.
Herrin's tail, ship with a sail,
Herrin's belly, lassie called Nellie,
Herrin's back, laddie called Jack,
Herrin's fins, needles an pins,
Herrin's eyes, puddins an pies,
Herrin's heid, loaf o breid
An a' sorts o things.
 
5 LEAVING CULMAILIE
by Primary 7, Craigton Primary School with Ewan McVicar, Tune Highland Widow’s Lament
Life was good on the Heiland hills, till Patrick Sellar came
Tae put us oot o Culmailie and set fire tae oor hame.

We have come to Glasgow town, we're lucky we're no deid,
Without a penny to our names to buy a loaf of breid.

Glasgow town is new to us. How will we find our way?
We need a trusting friend to help us find a place to stay.
 

6 MA AIN WEE HOOSE
Trad, tune Ludgin Wi Big Aggie

It wis just a humble placey, but ah'd always paid ma rent
Till the factor had the facey, tae raise it ten percent.
It's a right disgrace, tae pay fur sic a place.
A wee top flat, where ye couldny swing a cat
Wis ma ain wee hoose, wis ma ain wee hoose.

The Sanitary's condemned it, he says he'll pull it doon as well.
Ah telt him no tae bother, it wad tumble doon itsel.
The walls are needin paintin, and the windae's needin glass
An ah canny get hot water 'cause the biler, it's aa bashed,
But it's ma ain wee hoose, it's ma ain wee hoose.
 

7 OH DEAR ME
(THE JUTE MILL SONG) by Mary Brooksbank

Oh dear me, the mill's gaen fast,
The puir wee shifters canna get their rest,
Shiftin bobbins, coorse and fine,
They fairly mak ye work for your ten and nine.

Oh dear me, I wish the day was done,
Rinnin up and doon the pass is nae fun.
Shiftin, piecin, spinnin, warp, weft and twine,
Tae feed and cleed my bairnies affen ten and nine.

Oh dear me, the world's ill-divided,
Them that work the hardest are the least provided,
But I maun bide contented, dark days or fine.
There's no much pleasure living affen ten and nine.
 
8 WE SHALL GO TO AMERICA
An emigrant's song from the Strathglass evictions. Translated from Gaelic.

We shall go to America
It is our destiny to go there;
We shall convert the forest to holdings
Where money will not run out.

We'll find friends here before us,
Now renowned professional men;
Some of them are wealthy though
They hadn't a groat when they emigrated.

There the branches are laden
With green and red apples;
We shall have plenty of ale there
To enliven the dispirited.

A plague on the landlords
With their greed for money;
They prefer flocks of sheep
To their own armed hosts.

 

9 FAREWELL TO FIUNARY
Written by Rev Norman McLeod

hear this song here


CHORUS
We must up and haste away,
We must up and haste away,
We must up and haste away,
Farewell, farewell to Fiunary.

The wind is fair, the day is fine,
And swiftly, swiftly runs the time.
The boat is floating on the tide
That wafts me off from Fiunary.

A thousand, thousand tender ties
Awake this day my plaintive sighs,
My heart within me almost dies
At thought of leaving Fiunary.

But I must leave those happy vales,
See, see they spread the flapping sails -
Adieu, adieu my native dales
Farewell, farewell to Fiunary.

 

10 FAREWEEL TAE TARWATHIE
A whalers’ song from Aberdeenshire.

Hear this song here

Fareweel tae Tarwathie, adieu Mormond Hill.
And the dear land of Crimond I bid ye fareweel.
We’re bound out for Greenland and ready to sail.
In hopes to find riches in hunting the whale.

Adieu to my comrades, for a while we must pairt,
And likewise the dear lass wha fair won my hairt.
The cold ice of Greenland my love will not chill,
And the longer my absence, more loving she'll feel.

Our ship is weel rigged and she's ready to sail,
Our crew they are anxious to follow the whale.
Where the icebergs do float and the stormy winds blaw,
Where the land  and the ocean is covered wi snaw.

The cold coast of Greenland is barren and bare,
No-seedtime nor harvest is ever known there.
And the birds here sing sweetly on mountain and dale,
But there isna a birdie to sing to the whale.

There is no habitation for a man to live there,
And the king of that country is the fierce Greenland bear.
And there’ll be no temptation to tarry lang there,
Wi our ship bumper full we will homeward repair.
 
11 RIO GRANDE
An old sea shanty

Hear this song here

I sing you a song of the ships of the sea
Way down Rio!
I sing you a song of the ships of the sea
And we’re bound for the Rio Grande!

A ship went a-sailing out over the bar,
They pointed her bow to the southern star.

Say, were you ever on Rio Grande?

It’s there that the river runs down golden sands.

Oh, goodbye to Sally and goodbye to Sue,
And you who are listening, goodbye to you.

We'll sell our salt cod for molasses and rum,
And we’ll be back home before winter has come.

This dirty old town is no place for me,
I’ll pack up my sea-chest and be off to sea.
 
12 WE ARE NOW IN AMERICA
By John Macrae of Kintail. Translated from Gaelic

We are now in America,
In the shade of the never-ending forest.
When winter departs and warmth returns
Nuts, apples and sugar will grow.
Little do I like the people who are here,
With their drugget coats, tall hats upon their heads,
And their short breeches split at the ends.
Hose are never seen, and that is a pity.
We've become Indians sure enough.
Skulking under trees, not one of us will be left alive,
With wolves and beasts howling in every Iair.
We've come to ruin since the day we forsook King George.
  

13 UPPER CANADA
by Anna Gillis, a Scottish emigrant. Translated from Gaelic.

In Upper Canada there is every joy and delight;
All requirements will prosper together.
Wheat grows abundantly, ready to harvest,
With only three months to bring it to full season.
Sugar may be gotten from a tree if a tap be inserted in its side,
And not one of its branches damaged.
We shall have berries and wine, and all else that we desire;
We shall lack nothing under the sun.
Young Father Alexander, son of Scotus of the banners,
The holy priest, was full of kindness.
Like a saint he brought us out so that we would be free
As were those who followed Moses out of Egypt.
We got farms of our own, with proprietary rights from the king,
And landlords will no more oppress us.

 

I4 FAILTE GU CANADA
WELCOME TO CANADA
by Primary 7, Sir John Maxwell Primary School
Failte gu Canada Ciorstag is Daibhidh
Bha'n turas cho cunairteach 's bha'n cuan cho ftiadhaich
An drasda tha sibh sabhailte measg na Innsinneach cairdeil
Togaibh an taigh nar baile
TRANSLATION
Welcome to Canada Kirsty and Davie
The journey was so dangerous and the ocean so stormy
Now you are safe among friendly Indians
Build your house in our town
 

15 SENECA CANOE SONG
Kayowajineh, yo ho hey yo ho
Kayowajineh,
Kayowajineh-eh
Kayowajineh yo ho hey
Kayowajineh
Kayowajineh-eh

 

16 RED RIVER VALLEY
From this valley they say you are going
We shall miss your bright eyes and sweet smile
For they say you are taking the sunshine
That has brightened our pathways a while

Come and sit by my side if you love me
Do not hasten to bid me adieu
But remember the Red River valley
And the cowboy who loves you so true
 

17 WILL YE NO COME BACK AGAIN?
CHORUS
Will ye no come back again?
Will ye no come back again?
Better lo'ed ye canna be
Will ye no come back

Bonnie Charlie's now awa,
Safely owre the friendly main.
Mony a heart will break in twa,
Should he ne'er come back again.

Ye trusted in your Hieland men,
They trusted you, dear Charlie.
They kent you hiding in the glen,
Your cleadin was but barely.

English bribes were a' in vain,
An e'en tho' puirer we may be
Siller canna buy the heart
That beats aye for thine and thee.

We watched thee in the gloamin hour,
We watched thee in the mornin grey.
Tho' thirty thousand punds they'd gie,
Oh there was nane that wad betray.

Sweet's the laverock's note and lang,
Lilting wildly up the glen
But aye to me he sings ae sang,-
Will ye no come back again?
 
18 ALOUETTE
The tune of this French Canadian song is used for the fun song Daphne Cochrane
 
Alouette, gentille Alouette,
Alouette, je te plumerai.
Je te plumerai la tete,
Je te plumerai la tete
Et la tete,
Et la tete, Oh
Alouette, gentille Alouette,
Alouette, je te plumerai.

Je te plumerai le bec,
le rez,
le dos,
les pattes,
le cou
Et le cou, et le cou,
Et les pattes, et les pattes,
Et le dos, et le dos,
Et le nez, et le nez,
Et le bec, et le bec,
Et la tete, et la tete, Oh
Alouette, gentille Alouette,
Alouette, je te plumerai

 

19 BUFFALO GALS
CHORUS
Buffalo gals, won't you come out tonight,
Come out tonight, come out tonight?
Buffalo gals won't you come out tonight,
And dance by the light of the moon?

I danced with a girl with a hole in her stocking
And her toe kept a-knocking and her heel kept a-rocking
I danced with a girl with a hole in her stocking
And we danced by the light of the moon

Raccoon married the monkey’s sister
Gave her a hug and then he kissed her
Raccoon married the monkey's sister
And danced by the light of the moon

Old Johnnie Booker was a fine old man
He washed his face in a frying pan
Old Johnnie Booker was a fine old man
He danced by the light of the moon
 

NEW CULMAILIE WORDS

Kirsty and Davie crossed the foam
In Canada they made their home
Kirsty and Davie crossed the foam
And danced by the light of the moon

 

They left their croft called Culmailie
And built a new one over the sea
They said "We'll live here peacefully
And dance by the light of the moon"

Canada girls, won't you come out tonight
Come out tonight, come out tonight
Canada girls, won’t you come out tonight
And dance by the light of the moon