Tha mi Sgìth

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Fairy tales are commonplace, but have you heard of a fairy song? Well, Tha mi Sgìth is reportedly a fairy song! The other well known title, Buain na Rainich, means Cutting The Bracken. There are many variations of the story relating to this song, but one version says that the song was originally sung by a fairy who caught sight of a beautiful girl when he was cutting bracken. They fell in love, but alas there was no fairytale ending. When her family learned of the love, they stopped the girl from seeing the fairy and they locked her away. His song mourns the situation. The tune of this song is very old and it is often used as a lullaby. In Cape Breton though, it is often used as a Puirt à beul! Watch Sìneag MacIntyre perform this version of the song.

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As with many Gaelic songs, this has a simple chorus. We’ll begin with vocabulary:

sgìthtired
buain reap
rainichgenitive case for bracken
raineachbracken
daonnanalways

The first two lines are really simple to learn:

Tha mi sgìth 's mi leam fhìn,
Buain na rainich, buain na rainich,
I am tired and I am alone,
Cutting the bracken, cutting the bracken

The final lines are also nice and simple to learn:

Tha mi sgìth 's mi leam fhìn,
Buain na rainich daonnan
I am tired and I am alone,
Forever cutting the bracken

Let’s put the four lines of the chorus together:

Tha mi sgìth 's mi leam fhìn,
Buain na rainich, buain na rainich,
Tha mi sgìth 's mi leam fhìn,
Buain na rainich daonnan
I am tired and I am alone,
Cutting the bracken, cutting the bracken,
I am tired and I am alone,
Forever cutting the bracken

Once you are comfortable with the chorus, here’s some vocabulary you’ll need:

tricoften
leannansweetheart
gleannglen
ceòtharmisty, foggy
binnsweet
doiregrove
dòmhailthickset, corpulent

The first two lines are:

'S tric a bha mi fhìn 's mo leannan,
Anns a' ghleannan cheòthar
Often, my love and I,
Were in the misty glens

The second two lines continue:

'G èisteachd còisir bhinn an doire,
Seinn sa choille dhòmhail
Listening to the sweet choir of the grove,
Singing in the corpulent forest

Let’s put that together to create the first verse:

'S tric a bha mi fhìn 's mo leannan,
Anns a' ghleannan cheòthar,
'G èisteachd còisir bhinn an doire ,
Seinn sa choille dhòmhail
Often, my love and I,
Were in the misty glens,
Listening to the sweet choir of the grove,
Singing in the corpulent forest

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