Song 23:365 is the start of a trilogy of Scottish songs as we head towards Burns Night. Today’s song is Wild Mountain Thyme, also known as Purple Heather and Will Ye Go, Lassie, Go? The melody and lyrics are a variant of the song The Braes of Balquhither by the Scottish poet Robert Tannahill who was a contemporary of Burns. The song has been recorded by hundreds of artists, both from the folk and pop world. I hope you enjoy my piano version.
Today I’m playing a lovely piece of music I’ve come across fairly recently. Ashokan Farewell was written in 1982 by American folk musician and composer Jay Ungar to serve as the farewell waltz at the Fiddle and Dance Camps run by Ungar. It was later used as the theme of the US miniseries The Civil War.
It’s Italian weekend on 365 Songs, so here’s a lovely Italian folk song called Vieni Sul Mar. It has been recorded by hundreds of artists and a search on Spotify reveals performances by all the great Italian singers: Enrico Caruso, Mario Lanza, Andrea Bocelli, and many more. I hope you enjoy today’s tune.
Today’s song is the Canto de Meditación from Carlos Mejía Godoy’s Misa Campesina Nicaragüense. Perhaps not the most well known tune I’ve played, but this song and in fact the whole of the Misa Campesina is a personal favourite. I was introduced to the Misa Campesina while studying Latin American music with Mike González at Glasgow University and ended up doing a special study on it as part of my degree.
The Misa Campesina combined Nicaraguan folk music with liberation theology and was composed in the artistic community of Solentiname in the southern end of Lake Nicaragua. Given the non-conformist lyrics the mass was quickly banned by the church in Nicaragua. However it grew in popularity as it was used at clandestine celebrations which spread through the country.
This particular song’s lyrics include the following lines:
Before the day breaks
the birds of the mountains
give us their melodies,
their guises and zenzontes.
The sonorous pecking
of a carpenter is heard
who is constructing his house
in the top of a tree,
and a sparrow jumps
from one branch to another, nearby.
Just like these little birds,
today I sing to you, Lord,
and ask you to unite us
in strength and in love.
I praise you a thousand times
because you were also a rebel,
fighting night and day
against the injustice of humanity.
If you’re interested, here’s a video of the original complete with Spanish lyrics to sing along.
This is an interesting song today. It’s a well-known melody, probably most familiar to us as the melody of song Lord of the Dance. However, it appears that its origins are as a Shaker dance song. The words of this song are as follows:
‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free
‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come ’round right.
The melody was used by Aaron Copeland in Appalachian Spring. My version is based on a lovely recording by American singer Jewel. I hope you enjoy this piece today!
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