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Fine Arts Friday: sing and dance!

We’re still off the Ambleside schedule since they break for July and August, so we’re picking up some songs we missed.  This month, we’re adding some folk dance to our folk song.  The song is “Mairi’s Wedding” (or “Marie’s Wedding”), and it’s a Scottish tune not even a hundred years old.

John Bannerman wrote it for Mary MacNiven when she won the gold medal at the Royal National Mod, a Scottish cultural festival. Bannerman wrote the song in Gaelic; Sir Hugh Stevenson Roberton then made an English translation very loosely based on the original.  Ironically, Mary didn’t get married for another six years.

I love this version for both the delightful presentation and the pace, which will make it easier to dance to.

The song is set to a 40 bar reel, so it’s a folk dance as well as a folk song. You can find a video of the dance here and instructions here.

The lyrics:
Step we gaily on we go
Heel for heel and toe for toe
Arm in arm and row and row
All for Mairi’ s wedding

  1. Over hill-way up and down
    Myrtle green and bracken brown
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    All for Mairi’s wedding
  2. Plenty herring plenty meal
    Plenty peat tae fill her creel
    Plenty bonny bairns as weel
    That’s the toast for Mairi
  3. Cheeks as bright as rowans are
    Brighter far than any star
    Fairest of them all by far is my darling Mairi
  4. Over hill-ways up and down
    Myrtle green and bracken brown
    Past the sheiling through the town
    All for sake of Mairi

Now about dancing: Just do it. Most of us probably remember awkward square dancing in middle school gym class. Push aside those horrible flashbacks and have some fun with your kids. It doesn’t have to be perfect or even close to the original, but if you can listen to this song without wanting to tap your foot and swing your partner, you need your tapper checked.

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