A dance and song repertory from the Celtic area: The Dies Irae is one of the many Breton tunes that accompanied the witches when they performed their dances.
Avvenimenti, Roma, 1997
'...suddenly, everything happened. The music rose with an immense uproar, pushed by an obsessive rhythm and I saw the witches, tall and terrible in their red and black mantles, throw themselves into a crazy saraband...'
A witches dance performed in Brittany as opposed to predominant Counter-reform values, gives the title with its suggestiveness to the record. Rhythms of dances of other Celtic countries, Ireland and Scotland, follow and mix with the atmosphere and songs of those cultural areas.
Giulia Lorimer violin and vocals
Stefano Corsi mandola, 10 string guitar, harmonium, vocals
Lorenzo Greppi highland bagpipe, whistles, bombarde bretonne, dulcimer, bodhran and vocals
Pietro Sabatini guitar, bouzouki, mandola and vocals
Our thanks to:
Daniel Craighead bodhran in Dies Irae; drum, harmonium in Suite Bretonne
Velemir Dugina violin in Suite Bretonne, Humus, Whisky you're the Devil
Peter Contuzzi violin in Dies Irae, Sky Boat Song
All titles are traditional except:
Earth by Corsi, Daneo, Greppi, Sabatini
All arrangements are by Whisky Trail
Original Cover by Daniel Bartet
Illustrations by Valentina Corsi
Recorded by Giuliano Giunti, Firenze, 1982
Editing and Re-mastering in Firenze by Mario Fabiani at Idea-Suono Studios in April 1998
Editions: Fanzines 1999
1. The little Beggarman
A gay hornpipe, typically Irish, taken from an old record by Tommy Makem. It is a fine tune for dancing or singing since the words are as important as the music.
I am a little beggarman a beggar I have been
I spent six score more in a little isle of green
I am known from the Liffey down to Seagew
And I am known by the name of old Johnny Dew
Of all the trades a-going now, begging is the best
When a man is tired he can sit down and rest
And beg for his dinner he has nothing else to do
But sit around the corner with his old rig-a-do
I slept in a barn in Acornagorn
A wet night came on and we slept on the dawn
The holes in the roof the rain coming through
And the rats and the cats they were playing peek-a-boo
Who should awaken but the woman of the house
With a white spotty apron and a kelly pull blouse
When she began to frighten I said booh!
Now don't be afraid mum it's only Johnny Dew!
I met a little flaxen-haired girl one day
Good morning little flaxen-haired girl I did say
Good morning little beggarman how do you do?
You have got rags on your togs on your all rig-a-do
I'll buy me a pair of leggings and a collar and a tie
And a nice fashion lady I will meet by and by
I'll buy me a pair of boggles and I'll color them blue
And a nice fashion lady I will make her too
Over the hill with me pack on me back
Over the hill with me great happy sack
With holes in me shoes and me toes peeking through
Singing skiddle-da-rid-da-riddle, said that old Johnny Dew
Now my story is almost finished and it's getting late at night
And the fire is all raked and out goes the light
So this is the story of my old rig-a-do
So good bye and God be with you said that old Johnny Dew
2. Dies Irae
One of the many tunes from the Brittany area used to accompany the dances performed by the witches in their feasts where, it was said, even the devil was there. This tune is particularly interesting since it refers to the "Dies Irae" sung by the Church and clearly shows the effort to wipe out the pagan culture that was part of the popular tradition. Descriptions of this dance were extracted by torture during the witches' trials in the 17th Century.
3. Three Reels
(The Walls of Limerick-Twa Bonnie Maidens-Upstairs in a tent
The first reel is taken from the Scottish bagpipe material held by "The Royal Irish Rangers" a regiment stationed in Belfast in the North of Ireland; The second is a strophe from a Jacobite song telling about prince Stuart's adventures and was found in an 19th century book collected by Charles Mc Kay. The third belongs to the Irish tradition.
There are twa bonnie maidens and three bonnie maidens
Cam owre the Minch and cam owre the main
Wi' the wind for their way and the corry for their hame
And they are clearly welcome to Skye again
Come along come along wi' your boatie and your song
My ain bonnie maidens my twa bonnie maidens
For the night it is dark and the red coat is gone
And ye are clearly welcome to Skye again
4 .Whiskey you're the Devil
(The Fairy Hornpipe-Whiskey you're the Devil)
Two hornpipes that evoke with their feeling and their titles, the magic Irish world. The first one, is very well known in the Irish area, the second one, besides having a very suggestive tutn, has a title which is self-explanatory.
The tune of this Scottish song is divided in two parts; one part, the older, has an insistent "pastoral" refrain in Gaelic; the other one is more romantic in feeling and seems created to give importance to the voice and the words.
It was on a fine summer's morning
When the birds sweetly tuned on each bow
I heard a fair maid sing most charming
As she sat a-milking her cow
Her voice it was chanting melodious
She left me scarce able to go
My heart it is soothed in solace
My Cailin deas cruite na mb?.
With courtesy I did salute her
Good morrow most amiable maid
I'm your captive slave for the future
Kind sir do not banter she said
I'm not such a precious rare jewel
That I should enamour you so
I'm but a plain country girl
Says Cailin deas cruite na mb?
I beg you'll withdraw and don't tease me
I cannot consent unto thee
I like to live single and airy
Till more of the world I do see
New cares they do me embarrass
Besides sir my fortune is low.
Until I'll get rich I'll not marry
Says Cailin deas cruite na mb?
A young maid is like a ship sailing
There is no knowing how long she may steer
For with every blast she is in danger
Oh, consent love and banish all care!
For riches I care not a farthing
Your affection I want and no more
In comfort I wish to enjoy you
My Cailin deas cruite na mb?
6. Suite Bretonne
In Brittany, a great area of Celtic culture, the dances keep the archaic tradition of a common circle and magic rituality; the music follows likewise. In this suite we show the various traditional forms like the "Cant Ar Discant" and the typical mixture of bagpipe-bombarde-drums in Laride mixing the music with freer interpretation as in An Dro and Dans Ar Nelly.
(Get up early-Earth)
The first piece is a typical Irish single jig: Its unusual structure allowed us to introduce "Earth", an our composition enclosing Mediterranean, Balcan and Celtic influences.
8. The Skye Boat Song
(Skye Boat Song- Atoll Highlanders)
A boat slowly appears through the fog and the cliffs of Dover can be seen in the distance...a "two parts" Scottish jig follows: The version for Highland bagpipes is Capt. J. Mac Lellan's . It is traditionally performed as a solo dance.
9. Mug of Brown Ale - The Gander in the Pratie Hole
Both double jigs come from O'Neill's collection of Irish dances.
10. Shioban ni Dhuibhir
A sad love song, poignantly touching in its simplicity. It is sung in Gaelic and tells of a man who walking to the market, thinks of his love.
"A Shiobh?n ni Dhuibhir, 's tu bun agus bar mo sh?il,
Ar mhn? na cruinne gur thug sise'n baire l?i...