The Great Raid
(2002)
    
A great raid on the tracks made by the group in more than 25 years of activity creates new compositions, and refers to groups like Planxty, the Bothy Band, Penguin Cafè Orchestra and the Beatles. A grateful homage to the second part of the 20th Century and a plunge into the 21st Century.

     1A - Fairy Reel   5.18
     2A - Cu Chulainn the Hero   5.07
     3A - The Lowlands of Holland   5.20
     4A - Jumping Frogs   6.36
     5A - Noinden   4.06
     6A - The Given Note   3.16
     7A - Rattlin Roarin Fiddler   4.02
     8A - Frenzied Memories   3.43
     9A - Flying-Lowlands Away   3.43
     1B - Shadows   4.03
     2B - Jeffes Reel   4.51
     3B - I Wad Sit and Sing   7.20
     4B - Findbenn and Donn   6.36
     5B - A Song in my Sleeping   4.06
     6B - Banshee Steps   3.16
     7B - Blackbirds   4.02
     8B - Waiting for Darius   3.43
     9B - Auld Lang Syne   6.02
Folk Roots, London, October 2003, John O'Regan

'...the playing is fluent and rich sounding with a strongly attractive melodic core...individually the members' talents are strong and robust...the result is an equally beguiling and challenging listen, suggesting a hitherto forgotten highlight in the European Celtic cupboard.'

A great raid through the musical trail they traced in more than 25 years, this is how the Whisky Trail welcome the new millennium in a double CD. They take pieces of their history like puzzles
to be placed in new musical weaves together with many new compositions and with the suggestions coming from the things dear to them. Things belonging to the second part of the 20th Century. A musical season so meaningful to their generation and intensely tied to culture and custom phenomena, that it contributed to the realization of liberty and dignity of every man.
The Great Raid is also prompted by the T?in B? C?ailnge, an epic tale about the deeds of C? Chulainn, the legendary hero from Ulster. The evocative impact of this tale and the fragments of the group history are woven together with the references to Bands of a recent past as the Planxty, the Bothy Band, the Penguin Caf? Orchestra and the Beatles. So, in their own way, from their point of view, with the Irish sound, the Whisky Trail render their grateful homage to the second part of the 20th Century and plunge with great enthusiasm into the third Millennium.

'I wish I knew what it was that's haunting me always so, maybe it's the memory of stories I left behind and tunes that could have sounded differently that push me on to travel in the trails left in more than twenty-five years to find new weaves.'

The trails mentioned in the story of The Great Raid of Whisky Trail refer to the seven record made during their history:
1. Irish Songs (1975)
2. Irish Songs and Dances(1977)
3. Miriana (1979)
4. Dies Irae (1982)
5. Pooka (1986)
6. The Frenzy of Suibhne (1992)
7. White Goddess (1997)

Our thanks to Melita Cataldi, Nicola Cavina, Valentina Corsi, Massimo Giuntini and Paolo Lamuraglia for their precious professional support.
Special thanks to our families for their lovely support during the long recording period: likewise to Maike from Vieri, for what she meant to him emotionally.
And finally thanks to Lorimer House for his generous hospitality.

Vieri Bugli: fiddle and viola
Stefano Corsi: Celtic harp, harmonica, harmonium and voice
Giulia Lorimer: voice and fiddle
Pietro Sabatini: guitars, bouzouki, bodhran, pedal bass pipe and voice

Massimo Giuntini: uilleann pipes in Jeffes Reel and The Given Note

All titles by Bugli, Corsi, Daneo, Sabatini exept:
The Given Note: text by S. Heaney,
Frenzied Memories: Bugli, Corsi, Daneo, Greppi, Sabatini
Fairy Reel, The Lowlands of Holland and Auld Lang Syne: traditional with arrangement by Bugli, Corsi, Daneo, Sabatini
Flying (Lowlands Away): traditional and Harrison, Lennon, Mc Cartney, Starkey


Produced by Whisky Trail
Executive Producer Livio Giacomi
Recorded at Lorimer House
Mixed and mastered by Nicola Cavina at Eipe Records Studio
Cover image by Valentina Corsi
Photos by Paolo Lamuraglia
Graphic Design by Fabio Arangio and Tracy Liu
Text and tranlations by Whisky Trail
Publisher: Fanzines Editions
 
A Donn
1. Fairy Reel

1 They have been dancing from time immemorial the fairies. They are back now. They were there disquieting, when the divine swan was dancing above Leda, in the seventh whisky trail. Charmers, on the eve of samain, they seduce the wild Pooka of the fifth whisky trail, breaking his diffidence, once more he leads the dance (Fairy Reel)...
 
2. Cu Chulainn the Hero

...But C? Chulainn the smith's dog, the blond seven-eyed Irish hero, red-coated, pushes on. Of noble mien, he alters and distorts it before battle. The eyes roll, the limbs tremble. Fear and threat take over: it's great to see his dance. Alone, he dominates in the tale of the ancient raid, the memory of an old myth born in far away wars, way, way back (C? Chulainn the Hero)...
 
3 The Lowlands of Holland

...way back and far away as is the land where a man, torn from his gentle bride, is obliged to go and fight useless wars, more than a hundred years ago. His are the words in the second whisky trail but the song is the woman's in the heart-rending melody of the first whisky tail...

... The Lowlands of Holland

Last night as I was married
And on my marriage bed
Up came a bold sea captain
And stood at my bedhead
Arise arise young married man
And come along with me
To the Lowlands of Holland
To fight the enemy

Oh Holland is a wondrous place
And in it grows much green
It's a wild inhabitation
For my true love to be in
There sugar cane grows plentiful
And fruit on every tree
But the Lowlands of Holland
Are between my love and me

But Ireland is a better land
A land of springy turf
And all around McGilligan
Is the thunder of the surf
And I would wish with my true love
In Ireland for to be
But the Lowlands of Holland
Are between my love and me

No shoes nor stockings I put on
Nor comb went in my hair
And neither coal nor candlelight
Shone in my chamber bare
Nor will I wed with any young man
Until the day I die
Since the Lowlands of Holland
Are between my love and I

 
4 Jumping Frogs

...they were jumping in the cauldron of the old red-haired witch excluded from the fairies' feast in the fifth whisky trail, the frogs. They jump all over the forest now, inspired by new melodies and new weaves. They live again and they croak as they happily dance in the air warmed by the rays of the sun...

Jumping Frogs

Frogs, toads and awful things
And wings of bats and curragh sticks
Who'd like to buy seven awful witch's curses
When I was young I gave many charms and philtres
I didn't need them I was young and loved once
 
5 Noinden

...but not during the ninety winter days after Samain; nature is still, the herds idle, the animals hidden away. Also men in Ulster fall asleep: they wake up on the feast of Imbolc. After a long, slow gestation a new life is born and its pulse quickens: it is spring...it is time for music and Heaney, the poet, writes...
 
6 The Given Note

On the most westerly Blasket in a dry stone hut
He got this air out of the night
Strange noises were heard by others who followed bits of a tune
Coming in on loud weather though nothing like melody

He blamed their fingers and their ear as un-practiced
Their fiddling easy for he had gone alone
Into the island and he brought back the whole thing
The house throbbed like his full violin

So whether he calls it spirit music or not I don't care
He took it out of wind off mid-Atlantic
Still he maintains from nowhere it comes off the bow gravely
Refreshes itself into the air...

...and new notes come off the bow, take shape and join blending with other far older ones belonging to the third and the seventh whisky trail (The Given Note)
 
7 Rattlin Roarin Fiddler

...notes come off Willie' bow also, but for him a pint of wine could be worth a violin and Burns, the poet, tells...

Rattlin Roarin Fiddler

O rattlin roarin Willie
O he came to the fair
An' for to sell his fiddle
And buy some other ware
But partin wi'his fiddle
The saut tear blin't his e'e
And rattlin roarin Willie
Ye're welcome hame to me!

O Willie come sell your fiddle
O sell your fiddle sae fine!
O Willie come sell your fiddle
And buy a pint o'wine!
If I should sell my fiddle
The warld would think I was mad
For monie a rantin day
My fiddle and I hae had

As I cam by Crochallan
I Cannilie keekit ben
Rattlin roarin Willie
Was sittin at yon boord-en'
Sittin at yon boord-en'
And amang gude companie
Rattlin roarin Willie
Ye're welcome hame to me!
 
8 Frenzied Memories

...it was in the sixth whisky trail that Suibhne, the bird king, spread his wings as in a delirium. Now a new mad urge catches him, shakes him again and leads him to revisit the places and the sound of his memories and to fly free into a free land (Frenzied Memories)...
 
9 Flying-Lowlands Away

...also a ship fies over the Sottish waters as in a frenzy following the mermaid's cry. The sailors sing their homesickness for a woman and for their far away land...but, natives of Liverpool, four bards join the chorus...now the mermaid, enchanted, follows the ship: she is already singing with them...

... Flying - Lowlands Away

I had a dream the other night
Lowlands lowlands away my John
I dreamt my love at my bed-side
Oh my lowlands away

I dreamt my love at my bedside
Lowlands lowlands away
All dressed in white like some fair bride
Oh my lowlands away

And sailing on the stormy sea
Lowlands lowlands away my John
The mermaid's cry for company
Oh my lowlands away

 
B Findbenn
1 Shadows

On a dark night there's a figure that is peeking through the trees
Shadow flitting in a blue-green grassy field
When the moon is out it whispers softly in my ready ear
And I shiver in the air that's bright and clear

I wish I knew what it was
That's haunting me always so
I scarcely make it out as I look back
I think it's the changing shape
Of stories I left behind
Of tunes that could have sounded differently

Then in summer it is simmering like a hazy bursting ball
Gathering briars and poppies when it rambles on
Picking golden fruit and dancing as the time goes grudging on
Like a miser snarling propped against the wall

I wish I knew what it was
That's haunting me always so
I scarcely make it out as I look back
I think it's the changing shape
Of stories I left behind
Of tunes that could have sounded differently

Hail and frost have come and snow is a thick mantle on the ground
And the prints of hare and deer are marked to see
And they push me on to turn back many years and to find out
How to pick old steps and weave them differently

I wish I knew what it was
That's haunting me always so
I scarcely make it out as I look back
I think it's the changing shape
Of stories I left behind
Of tunes that could have sounded differently
 
2 Jeffes Reel

...trails, weaves, minimal patterns, the ones that a bard forged with great mastery, evoking, at times, Celtic alchemies. To him and his penguin orchestra a tribute and a grateful remembrance while the foot moves from toe to heel (Jeffes Reel)...
 
3 I wad sit and Sing


...and in the end...it's not difficult to stop the feet. Not difficult to follow the dream of a melody: easy with a pint in hand. Wonderful to sing all night long...

I Wad Sit and Sing

Landlady count the lawin
The day is near the dawin
Ye're a' blind drunk boys
And I'm jolly fou

Hey tuti taiti how tuti taiti
Hey tuti taiti wha's fou now

Cog an ye were ay fou
Cog an ye were ay fou
I wad sit and sing to you
If ye were ay fou

Weel we may a'be
Ill may we never see!
God bless the King
And the Companie

Hey tuti taiti how tuti taiti
Hey tuti taiti wha's fou now
 
4 Findbenn and Donn

...but in the morning light fights against darkness. The black bull and the white bull, Donn and Findbenn, not yet tamed, fight for a never to be reached supremacy. Mythical figures of a great raid of Ireland, they survive in time with their unchanged power and sweetness (Findbenn and Donn)...
 
5 A Song in my Sleeping

...and in the background of their opposite shadows C? Chulainn lies wounded and someone cares for him...

... A Song in my Sleeping

Sleep said the woman to me sleep for three days and nights
The time for strength is done
Now mend your body and soul if need be I'll fight your enemy
Since I'm young and strong
She put sticks to hold my limbs and gave me herbs to raise my strength
And a song came from her lips to rock me and get me asleep

Thus she cured me in my sleeping without almost ever knowing a thing
Oh just unconsciously
I lay there three days and nights I lay there in her world
So out of place so out of time
Then suddenly I woke up and felt the vigour and strength of my body
And the song she sang to me came into my memory

White teeth and black lashes: the eye sees beauty for all to behold
Like the color of foxglove is every cheek
Purple-tinted is the surface of every plain and delight are
The eggs of the blackbird in that magic land where the stars are*

Now that I'm fire red and ready to encounter anyone
Anywhere anything
Be it in a meeting or in a parade or just an assembly
Or a great feast in Erin
Her lips will make me feel the vigour and strength of my body
And the song she sang to me will come into my memory


*Gela det and dubai brai is l? sula lin
Ar suag is dath sion and cech gruad
Is corcur maige cach muin is l? sula
Ugae luin I tir n-ingnad hi fil rind

(*From an ancient Irish lyric)

White teeth and black lashes:the eye sees beauty in the great Plain and every cheek is the colour of foxglove. There the surface of every plain is purple-tinted and delight are the eggs of the blackbird in that magic land where the stars are.
 
6 Banshee Steps

...and somewhere the banshee dances diverted from her role of forwarning death, she rejoices. It's time to live and let live. So she teaches the step that saves while the dance slowly moves on to the woods. (Banshee Steps)...where...
 
7 Blackbirds

...There's a blackbird that's building a nest in a bush
And another that's flying behind
They flit through the air with some twigs in their beak
And their future is in the flap of their wings
They know in their heart that the time for egg-laying
Is in May the best of the months
And that summer is near with a sharp scent of heather
Growing wild on the banks of the stream

When my love walks with light steps and grace near a stream
She is weaving a long contra-dance
She trips through the heather and the long streaming grass
To the pool in the heart of the stream
And I watch her with wonder and joy in my heart
For her beauty is still to unfold
And her movements are silent but the music is there
And my soul overflows with its sound

In and out the flowing air the graceful birds fly on swift
Like a daisy chain that's woven by a young graceful girl
In and out the flowing air the graceful wings make an arch
Like a long silk ribbon thrown around a young partner's heart

Everywhere there is music to call us to peace
And better the sound of the harp
It livens the forest bringing rest to the tired
And the sounds are light in the air
When from far comes the clap of the sticks of the drums
And the fiddles are sharpening a tune
There's dance round and round and the stamping of feet
Through the heather and the long streaming grass
 
8 Waiting for Darius

...the years go by and, on the whisky trail, something is expected, something new; the large family in more than 25 years has increased, a new life arrives. The rhythm is familiar, the feet are ready, the steps known and so once more...on with the dance! (Waiting for Darius)...and
 
9 Auld Lang Syne

...finally, well known the song that left Scotland one day, to spread all over the world. To its roots it goes back to be sung in The Great Raid...



Auld Lang Syne

Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And never brought to mind
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And days of auld lang syne

For auld lang syne my dear
For auld lang syne
We'll tak'a cup o'kindness yet
For auld lang syne

We twa ha'e ran aboot the braes
And pu'd the gowans fine
We've wandered many a weary foot
For auld lang syne

For auld lang syne my dear
For auld lang syne
We'll tak'a cup o'kindness yet
For auld lang syne

And here's a hand my trusty frien'
And gie's a hand o'thine
We'll take a cup o'kindness yet
For auld lang syne

For auld lang syne my dear
For auld lang syne
We'll tak'a cup o'kindness yet
For auld lang syne

And surely ye'll be your pint stowp
And surely I'll be mine
We'll take a cup o'kindness yet
For auld lang syne