Gaol mo chrìdh-sa Màiri Bhàn

Mairi's wedding

Music: Trad. arr. Sheena Phillips. Words: John Bannerman
SATB, solo T/Bar
performance time approx 2m 00s
Range S: a – e'' / A: a – c'' / T: c – e' / B: G – a
Price code: B
Complexity: **

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This delightful song is very well known in its English version Mairi's Wedding (“Step we gaily, on we go...”), with lyrics by the famous choral director and folk song enthusiast Hugh S Roberton. The original Gaelic lyrics by John Bannerman are better, though, conveying rather more than the sheer gaiety of Roberton's English version. Bannerman (1865 - 1938) penned his song — to a traditional tune — for the singer Mary MacNiven, to celebrate her winning of the gold medal in the 1934 Mod, the annual national Gaelic singing competition.

In this arrangement, a slow solo over backing chords introduces the song — and closes it out at the end — while the middle section has an upbeat dance tempo with strongly harmonized verses alternating between male and female voices.

The recording is by Rudsambee company of singers, from the album citrus and honey (RUBEECD002).

This setting is also available from Canasg with a new English version of John Bannerman's Gaelic words.

Gaelic pronunciation guide included


Gaol mo chrìdh-sa Màiri Bhàn,
Màiri bhòidheach, sgeul mo dhàin;
'S i mo ghaol-sa Màiri Bhàn,
'S tha mi 'dol ga pòsadh.

Thuit mi ann an gaol a-raoir,
Tha mo chrìdh-sa shuas air beinn,
Màiri Bhàn rim' thaobh a'seinn,
'S tha mi 'dol ga pòsadh.

Cuailean òir is suilean tlàth,
Mala chaol is gruaidh an àigh,
Beul as binne sheinneas dàn,
'S tha mi 'dol ga pòsadh.

'S ann aig ceilidh aig a' Mhòd
Fhuair mi eòlas air an òigh —
'S ise choisinn am bonn òir,
'S tha mi 'dol ga pòsadh.

Bidh mo ghaol do Màiri Bhàn
Dìleas, dùrachdach gu bràth;
Seinnidh sinn da chèil' ar gràdh,
'S tha mi 'dol ga pòsadh.

traditional Gaelic song


The love of my heart, fair-haired Mairi,
Beautiful Mairi, the story of my song;
She is my true love, fair-haired Mairi,
And I am going to marry her.

I fell in love last night,
My very heart is up on a mountain,
Fair-haired Mairi beside me, singing,
And I am going to marry her.

Golden locks and gentle eyes,
Narrow eyebrow and merry cheek,
Sweetest mouth to sing a song,
And I am going to marry her.

It was at a ceilidh at the Mod
I became aware of the young woman —
It was she that won the gold medal
And I am going to marry her.

My love for fair-haired Mairi will be
Faithful, sincere for ever;
Together we will sing our love,
And I am going to marry her.

Canasg editors

Purchase – 1510: Gaol mo chrìdh-sa Màiri Bhàn

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