Catalogue no. 1522

Tha bean agam

I have a wife

Music: Sheena Phillips, Words: Trad. Anon

Voicing: SAA

Performance time approx: 1m 20s (sung three times through)

Range S: c' – d'' / A1: d' – a' / A2: a – f'#

Price code: A


This is a mischievous piece of Gaelic puirt-a-beul (‘poorsht-a-beel’) or mouth music – the name for songs written to accompany dancing. It’s well known in Scotland and presents the musings of a man who would like to go out but needs a clean shirt to go out in; what can he do, he wonders, with the combination of dirty shirt, stream, soap and wife?

Traditionally, puirt-a-beul is sung unaccompanied and in unison but the tunes harmonise very well.

The piece has not been marked dynamically – feel free to experiment. I would suggest singing it at least twice through in performance so as to give the audience a proper taste of it.

The recording is of the SATB version of this arrangement. You can also see a performance of this SSA version by The Ragin’ Cajun Women’s Choir.

Tha bean agam, tha taigh agam,
Tha allt aig ceann an taighe agam,
Tha bun de shiabun geal agam,
'S mo lèine salach, grannda.
Dè ni mi gun lèine ghlan,
Gun lèine gheal, gun lèine ghlan,
Dè ni mi gun lèine ghlan,
'S mi 'falbh an taigh' a-màireach.

traditional Gaelic song

I have a wife, I have a house
There's a stream by the end of my house
I have a lump of white soap
And my shirt is really dirty!
What will I do for a clean shirt,
For a clean, white shirt?
What will I do for a clean shirt
When I want to go out tomorrow?

Canasg editors

Full pronunciation guide provided

Card ImageScottish

Tha bean agam

Sheena Phillips


Buy now:
Keep me posted:
Email Marketing  by VerticalResponse