Bodachan a-ri-a-ro

Little old man

Music: Sheena Phillips. Words: Trad. Anon
performance time approx 1m 00s
traditional Gaelic words and tune
Price code: A
Complexity: *

See a perusal copy of the music.
Hear a synthesized rendering
This piece is the first in the set Mouth music set 3
The next piece is Na'm biodh tri sgillinn agam
If you don't want to buy the whole set, then you can buy Bodachan a-ri-a-ro individually using the link on this page.
This is another foot-tapping piece of Gaelic puirt-a-beul ('poorsht-a-beel') or mouth music - the name for songs written to accompany dancing. It's about a drunk old shepherd who needs putting to bed for the night. A suggested performance scheme is to repeat the first and last choruses (forte, piano) but feel free to experiment.
Traditionally, puirt-a-beul is sung unaccompanied and in unison but the tunes harmonise very well. Frequently they are sung in sequences of three or four, each song leading without a break into the next. Bodachan works well as the first song in the following set of three: Bodachan ar-i-ar-o; Na'm biodh tri sgillinn agam; Hé mandu (all published by Canasg).
A recording by Rudsambee company of singers is available on their album bottled at source (RUBEECD003).

Pronunciation guide included


Bodachan ar-i-ar-o
Ar-i-ar-o a-ri-a-ro
Bodachan a-ri-a-ro
Bidh e ruith nan caorach.

Bodachan a' chinn duibh
A' chinn duibh, a' chinn duibh,
Bodachan a' chinn duibh
Bidh e anns an aonach.

Bodachan le pinnt air,
Le pinnt air, le pinnt air,
Bodachan le pinnt air,
Bidh e leis an daoraich.

Càirich an leabaidh dha,
Leabaidh dha, leabaidh dha,
Càirich an leabaidh dha,
Tha e nis fo'n aodach.

traditional Gaelic song


Little old man who runs the sheep,
Little old man with dark hair has gone to the market.
Little old man with a pint on him is under the weather,
Make up the bed for him - now he's under the covers.

Canasg editors

Purchase – 1511: Bodachan a-ri-a-ro

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