Màiri Bhàn's wedding

Music: Trad. arr. Sheena Phillips. Words: Peter Hill & Sheena Phillips
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 song is very well known in the version by Sir Hugh S Roberton (“Step we gaily, on we go … ”). Our own English language version is more faithful to the lovely original Gaelic lyrics by John Bannerman which he wrote for the singer Mary MacNiven. (Màiri Bhàn means fair Mary.)

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.

This setting is also available from Canasg with John Bannerman's Gaelic words.


Màiri Bhàn makes my heart sing,  
Màiri Bhàn will wear my ring,
She’s my queen and I’m her king,
And we’re going to marry.

Yesterday I fell in love,
Now my spirits soar above,
Màiri Bhàn’smy singing dove,
And we’re going to marry.

Gentle eye and golden hair,
Merry cheek and brow so fair,
Voice so beautiful and rare,
And we’re going to marry.

At the Mod, it shall be told,
On her beauty I was sold.  
Màiri Bhàn took home the gold,
And we’re going to marry.

Màiri Bhàn I will adore
Faithfully, for ever more,
And we’ll sing our love all o’er,
When we go to marry.

© Peter Hill and Sheena Phillips 2009
(based on the original Gaelic by John Bannerman)


Màiri Bhàn (lit.‘fair Mary’) is pronounced ‘maaree vaan’ where ‘aa’ is a long ‘ah’ vowel. The expression is a familiar form of addressing a young woman.

Purchase – 1040: Màiri Bhàn's wedding

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Canasg Music
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Edinburgh EH10 5HB, Scotland
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