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Scottish Gaelic Traditional Song:

Chi Mi na Mrbheanna
(I See the Great Mountains)

Na faclan le Iain Camshron, 1856
(Words by John Cameron, 1856)

"Chi Mi na Mrbheanna" is one of the best-known and most beloved of traditional Scottish Gaelic songs. There are several versions available on CD, including one by the Seattle Celtic band Keltoi , and also a contemporary setting of the tune by Talitha MacKenzie on her CD, "Solas."

For a listing of CD's on which you can find singing in Gaelic, go to our Gaelic CDs page.

The following notes, lyrics and translation kindly provided by Gobnait NicFhilib of Distant Oaks:

This song was written by an exiled Highlander, Iain Camshron (John Cameron), in 1856. It expresses the hope and longing that he felt to return to his native land. The words are to the tune "The Mist Covered Mountains of Home", a popular instrumental air, played by guitarist John Renbourn on his "The Black Balloon" album, and by fiddler Johnny Cunningham on "The Celtic Fiddle Festival" album. The tune claims both Scottish and Irish origins, but one thing is certain: it is definitely Gaelic!

A note on speaking (and singing) Scottish Gaelic:

Spoken Scottish Gaelic, unlike spoken English, flows seamlessly from word to word. If the sentence has more than one word in it, practice saying the whole phrase as if it were all one word, with no breaks in it.

Remember that "ch" always sounds like "Bach" or "loch." And always roll your "R"'s -- though not all over the place -- more as a simple popped "R" sound.

And keep in mind that no pronunciation guide can adequately convey the unique sound of spoken Scottish Gaelic -- anyone interested in an authentic sound should consider trying one of the instructional self-study courses including videotapes and/or audiotapes, to be found on the SGLABA Books page.

Chi Mi na Mrbheanna
(I See the Great Mountains)

Sist (Chorus):

O, ch, ch mi na mrbheanna,
O, ch, ch mi na crr-bheanna,
O, ch, ch mi na coireachan,
Ch mi na sgran fo che.

Rann (verse) 1:

Ch mi gun dil an t-ite 's an d'rugadh mi,
Cuirear orm filte 's a' chnain a thuigeas mi,
Gheibh mi ann aoigh agus grdh 'nuair a ruigeam,
Nach reicinn air tunnachan ir.

Rann (verse) 2:

Ch mi na coilltean, ch mi na doireachan,
Ch mi na maghan bna, as toraiche,
Ch mi na fidh air lr nan coireachan
Falaicht' ann an trusgan de che.

An t-eadar-theangachadh:
(The translation:)

O I will see, see the great mountains,
O I will see, see the lofty mountains,
O I will see, see the corries,
I will see the peaks under mist.

I will see, without delay, the place where I was born,
A welcome will be put on me in the language I understand,
I will receive in it joy and love when I arrive,
That I would not sell for tons of gold.

I will see the woods, I will see the groves,
I will see the fair fields, more fertile,
I will see the deer at the foot of the corries
Enshrouded in a mantle of mist.

Suas Leis a' Ghidhlig! Up with Gaelic!


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