Bonnán Buí, An (Tom Pháidín Tom)

Play recording: Bonnán Buí, An (Tom Pháidín Tom)

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  • Teideal (Title): Bonnán Buí, An (Tom Pháidín Tom).
  • Uimhir Chatalóige Ollscoil Washington (University of Washington Catalogue Number): none.
  • Uimhir Chnuasach Bhéaloideas Éireann (National Folklore of Ireland Number): none.
  • Uimhir Roud (Roud Number): none.
  • Uimhir Laws (Laws Number): none.
  • Uimhir Child (Child Number): none.
  • Cnuasach (Collection): none.
  • Teanga na Croímhíre (Core-Item Language): Irish.
  • Catagóir (Category): song.
  • Ainm an té a thug (Name of Informant): Tom Pháidín Tom Ó Coistealbha.
  • Ainm an té a thóg (Name of Collector): Séamus Mac Mathúna.
  • Dáta an taifeadta (Recording Date): March 1973 to January 1976.
  • Suíomh an taifeadta (Recording Location): Multiple venues in Conamara and Dublin.
  • Ocáid an taifeadta (Recording Occasion): Various sessions.
  • Daoine eile a bhí i láthair (Others present): unknown.
  • Athchóiriú digiteach (Digital restoration): Fionn Ó Sealbhaigh.
  • Stádas chóipcheart an taifeadta (Recording copyright status): © Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann. All rights reserved.
  • Stádas chóipcheart ábhair bhreise (Additional material copyright status): Album artwork and original text © Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann. All rights reserved.

NB: This entry was taken from Tom Pháidín Tom, a vinyl album recorded, edited and produced by Séamus Mac Mathúna and released by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann.

’Sé dúirt mo stór liom-sa gan ’bheith ’g ól,
Nó nach mairfinn beo ach seal beag gearr,
’Sé dúirt mé léi, go raibh sí bréagach
Go mba fad ar mo shaol-sa an braoinín fháil.

Féach í féin, an dubhadán réabach;
Chuaigh i n‑éag leis an tart ar ball
Ach a chomharsanna, mo chléibh sibh fliuchaigí úr mbéala
Mar ni bhfaighidh sibh braon dó taréis úr mbáis.

A Bhonnáin Bhuí bhoicht, ’sé mo leán do luí thú
Is do chúl níos airde ná cúl do chinn
Do ghob ’s do scórnach, ar dhath an óir bhuí
Agus do bhéiliin reoite ins an leice lom.

Dá gcuirtheá sgéala fá mo dhéin‑se
Thiocfainn faoi t’fhéachaint trí huair roimh lá
Go mbainfinn géimneach, as leac Loch Eirne,
A fhliuchfadh do bhéilín agus do chroí in do lár.

Ní hiad na h‑éanlaith ’tá mé a’ chaoineadh
An lonn-dubh, an chéirseach ná an chorra ghlas:
Ach mo bhonnán spéiriúil a bhíodh go réiciúil,
Is go mba cosúil liom fhéin é, a shnuadh, ’s a dhath.

Mar siúd a bhíodh sé ag ól braoinín
Agus deir siad liom, go mbínn amhlaidh seal.
Ach níl deor dá bhfaighidh mé nach scaoilfead síos é:
Le fhaitíos choichín go bhfaighinn bás le tart.

Sé sú an ghráin eorna, a thógfadh an brón díom:
A Rí na Glóire, tá ar neamh ina shuí:
Gur ’sna tithe ósta gach aon oích’ Dhomhnaigh
Gur b’é mo lón é mo dheoch, ’s mo ghreim.

Sé an trua nach bhfaighim é i gcónaí
’Chuile noiméad, de ló is de oích’:
Ach a dhaoine óga, sibhse ’tá gan phosadh
Bigí ag ól nó is gearr é ’úr saol.

NB: Other than the correction of one or two obvious typos, this is a faithful transcription of the words as given in the sleeve notes.


The lyrics to An Bonnán Buí, on page 4 the insert booklet.
An Bonnán Buí lyrics. (Insert booklet, page 4.)

Translation

My love told me not to be drinking
Or I would live only for a very short time
But I said to her that that was not true
And that drinking a drop would lengthen my life
Look at him, that fearless bird
Who has just died of the thirst
So neighbours of my heart, come wet your lips
For ye’ll not get a drop after ye have died.

Oh yellow bittern, I am sad to see you lying
With your head down and your legs up.
Your beak and neck that were the colour of gold
And your mouth lying frozen on the bare stone.
If you had only sent me on an account
I’d have come to help you three hours before dawn
And I’d have made the stones of Lough Erne roar
So that your beak would not be dry, nor the heart in your breast.

I do not weep for all and every bird,
The blackbird, the thrush or the crane
But the handsome bittern who was so given to raking
And was so like myself in countenance and colour
For he was given to drinking a drop
And they say that I too am so inclined
But from now on I’ll drink every drop I can get
For fear that I too, might die of thirst.

The juice of the barley lifts sorrow from me
O God of Glory, who reigns in Heaven!
For in the taverns each Sunday night
I have it for lunch, for food and drink.
And it is a pity I cannot have it at all times—
I could be drinking every minute of the night and day
So, young friends, you who are still unmarried
Be ye drinking, for your days may not be long.

NB: Other than some minor reformatting, this is a faithful transcription of the words as given in the sleeve notes.

Tom Pháidín Tom Ó Coistealbha (cuid 2)

By Máire Ní Neachtain

Máire, a native of Baile ’n tSagairt, knew Tom Pháidín Tom when she was growing up and in this short article she shares some insights and remniscences with us. The piece has been left untranslated but most of the interesting points are echoed in English in the notes below, and in the notes for Tom’s renditions of Baile Uí Laí and Brídín Bhéasaigh.

Tí Hughes, Dé Danann agus Terry Yarrell


Tom Pháidín Tom’s house in Spring 2020. Bright, summery day. It is an old stone house, part of a terrace of two; now both in a state of decay and with the rooves gone.
Tí Tom Pháidín Tom (ar chlé); Earrach 2020.

(ar leanúint ón iontráil Baile Uí laí)

Ba nós le Tom deoch a ól sa Spidéal ag deireadh na seachtaine agus nárbh é a bhí sásta nuair a threisigh an Spidéal, le linn na seachtóidí go háirid, mar ionad do sheisiúin ceoil? Ba mhinic a bhíodh sé i measc na gceoltóirí agus é le cloisteáil ag gabháil fhoinn ina bhealach sainiúil féin; breá sásta amhrán a chasadh don té a d’iarradh amhrán nó port béil air.

Tharla gur bhog muintir Lewis, John is Breda agus a gcuid gasúir Patsy is Liam, go ceantar Chois Fharraige sna seachtóidí agus bhídís an-ghníomhach i gcúrsaí ceoil. Chuir siad aithne ar Tom ag na seisiúin cheoil cháiliúla Tí Hughes agus seans láidir gurb é John a spreag Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann leis an gceirnín Tom Pháidín Tom a eisiúint sa mbliain 1977, tráth a raibh Tom 83 bliain d’aois. Go deimhin féin, dúradh sa Spidéal ag an am go raibh sé áirithe ag an Guinness Book of Records ar an té ba shine a d’eisigh a chéad albam! Ar leic an teallaigh tí Lewis a tógadh cuid mhaith de na rianta atá ar an gceirnín sin.

Tí Hughes freisin a chuir ceoltóirí Dé Danann aithne ar Tom. Tá leaganacha Tom de The Banks of the Nile agus Henry Joy Mc Cracken ar an Mist Covered Mountain, albam dá gcuid a d’eisigh Gael Linn go gairid tar éis bháis Tom ar an 29 Samhain 1979.

Tarlaíonn freisin gur déanadh taifeadadh ar chúpla amhrán le Tom i dtús na seachtóidí. Thug Terry Yarrell, ball de na Critics, grúpa taighde ar an amhránaíocht thraidisiúnta, a bhí lonnaithe i Londain agus a bhí faoi stiúir Ewan Mc Coll agus Peggy Seeger, cuairteanna ar Chonamara le hamhráin a bhailiú. Bhailigh Terry ábhar ó Tom Pháidín Tom agus ó Phat Phádraic Tom Ó Conghaile as Leitir Péic sa Spidéal sa mbliain 1972. Eisíodh cuid den ábhar sin ag deireadh na bliana 2019 — más mall is mithid! — ar Tabhair mo ghrá go Conamara (Veteran VT162CD), dlúthcheirnín a bhfuil cheithre rian le Tom air: Mary Le More, Hynes and Bold Dermody, agus leaganacha Gaeilge agus Béarla de Mháire Ní Eidhin.

Is fiú a lua anseo go mbíodh Seosamh Ó hEanaí ag freastal go rialta ar an gclub amhránaíochta a d’eagraíodh Mc Coll agus Seeger i Londain, nasc beag spéisiúil idir é agus Tom!

(ar leanúint san iontráil Brídín Bhéasaigh)

Notes

By Míċeál Ó Loċlainn

Compare and contrast


The front cover artwork for the Tom Pháidín Tom album. A large sepia image of Tom himself, vignetted by scattered pages of sheetmusic.
The Tom Pháidín Tom album front cover.

This is one of the series of entries in the Cartlanna which highlight Joe Éinniú’s singing in local, national and international contexts.

The Cartlanna feature several examples of Joe singing An Buinneán Buí; see, for example, the entry Tradition Club Session, 18th July 1973. There’s also a version in English by Músgraí Uí Fhloínn sean-nós singer and Corn Uí Riada winner, Máire Ní Chéilleachair.

In this entry, we hear a rendition of the song by Tom Pháidín Tom Ó Coistealbha (1894–1979*). Tom was from Baile ’n tSagairt, near An Spidéal, some 40 miles east of Joe’s native district and about 15 miles west of Galway City. It was taken from the 1977 album, Tom Pháidín Tom, recorded, edited and produced by Séamus Mac Mathúna and released by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann.

Tom Pháidín Tom was released on 33⅓ RPM vinyl and has had, to date, no re-release on CD or on any other format. Interested readers may however be able to locate secondhand copies of the thirty-three.

For readers unfamiliar with Irish, ‘Pháidín’ is pronounced, roughly, ‘faa-deen’; to rhyme with the ‘southern-centric’ Received Pronunciation of ‘far dean’. ‘Baile ’n tSagairt’ is pronounced similar to ‘bile-n-toggirt’. For those familiar with linguistic transcription: /fɑː d′iːn′/ and /bail′ ən tɑgɪrt′/.

*The parish records at Cill Éinde give his precise date of birth as 25th March 1894 and his date of death as 29th November 1979. Glacann muid buíochas leis an Athair Séan Mac Aoidh as ucht an eolas seo a dheimhniú dhúinn.

Sleeve notes

The album’s sleeve notes were written by Mac Mathúna, John Lewis and Máire Áine (Ní Dhonnchadha, of Deora Aille fame), and are found on both the outer cover and an enclosed eight-page European Fanfold (8½″ × 12″) booklet.

Tom Pháidín Tom’s singing style


The back cover artwork for the Tom Pháidín Tom album. Mostly sleeve notes but with a small vignetted photo of Tom himself. Sepia colouring. A small amount of Celtic knot line art.
The Tom Pháidín Tom album back cover.

The word ‘freshness’ is invoked more than once in the sleeve notes in reference to Tom’s singing. On the album’s back cover, Mac Mathúna observes:

Tom uses the technique of minor melodic variation with a skill and subtlety which gives a recurring freshness and appeal to each succeeding verse. For example in his singing of An Bonnán Buí the changes of ornamentation, shifts of rhythmic emphasis and variations of the basic melody convey the impression of a completely new piece of music with each verse.

Lewis also credits Tom with this quality:

Perhaps the most striking characteristic of Tom’s singing is the feeling of freshness he gives to each line of a song. It seems to stem from a sort of free treatment of phrasing: an effortless and carefree structure built by instinct as each verse progresses. It comes as a surprise, therefore, to notice that as he sings even the slowest air his left foot is carefully measuring time.

Tom Pháidín Tom: recorded live

The tracks on this album aren’t studio recordings. The sleeve notes state that all recording was done at ordinary music sessions, in Conamara and Dublin, where Tom would be at his ease and where those present would be invested in and receptive to the material:

…ag seisiúin nuair a bheadh cóluadar feiliúnach againn agus Tom féin ar a sháimhín sógha. Na taifeadáin [seo], deineadh iad ag seisiúin éagsúla i gConamara agus i mBlá Cliath idir Márta 1973 agus Eanair 1976.

Interestingly, the songs were recorded over a period of very nearly three years — March 1973 to January 1976 — but unfortunately there’s no listing of when and where each recording took place.

Digital restoration

This song was digitised directly from a cleaned, good-condition copy of the vinyl album. It was then digitally restored by Fionn Ó Sealbhaigh at Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge to exise clicks, crackles and surface noise. The restoration process was in most respects the same as that carried out on a 1932 Linguaphone Conversational Irish box set of 78 RPM shellac records for the Coisín Shiúlach project, which celebrates the sean-nós singer Sorcha Ní Ghuairim; a contemporary of Joe Éinniú’s.

Thanks and credits

Glacann muid buíochas le Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, agus le Siobhán Ní Chonaráin go háirid, as cead an taifeadadh seo, clúdach an albaim ⁊ na nótaí clúdaigh a chur ar fáil sna Cartlanna.