Saturday, November 27, 2010

Aileen Carr -This Is No' My Plaid (trad.)

This is a favorite song of mine sung here by Aileen Carr. The song is often said to be a Jacobite-era song. The lyrics are possibly coded speech about the exiled Charles Edward Stuart, better known as Bonnie Prince Charlie. After the 1745 Jacobite Uprising, much of the familiar trappings of Scottish culture were outlawed. To openly speak support for the Jacobite cause would have been folly, so this (and probably many other) songs were written to communicate love (that is, the love of a patriot, disguised as a romantic love in the song) for Bonnie Prince Charlie. The plaid is a symbol of the loss of an independent Scotland. After the 1707 Act of Union bound Scotland and England, many Scots were left feeling that their country was no longer their own. (...this is no ma plaid, bonnie though the colours be...)

MA PLAID (trad.)

This is no' my plaid, my plaid, my plaid
This is no' my palid, bonnie though the colour be

The ground o' mine was mixed wi' blue
I got it frae the lad I lo'e
He ne'er has gied me cause tae rue
And oh the plaid is dear to me
For mine was silky soft and warm
It wrapped me round frae arm tae arm
And like himself it bore a charm
And oh the plaid is dear to me

Although the lad the plaid wha wore
Is now upon a distant shore
And cruel seas between us roar
I'll mind the plaid that sheltered me
The lad that gie'd me it like me well
Although his name I duarna tell
He likes me just as weel's himself
And oh the plaid is dear to me

Oh may the plaidie yet be worn
By Caledonians still unborn
Ill fa' the wretch whae'er shall scorn
The plaidie that's sae dear tae me
Frae surly blasts it covers me
He'll me himself protection gie
I'll lo'e him 'till tha day I die
And oh the plaid is dear to me

I hope he'll no' forget me now
Each aften pledged aith and vow
I hope he'll yet return to woo me
In the plaid sea dear tae me
And may the day come soon my lad
When we will tae the kirk and wed
Weel happit in the tartan plaid
The plaidie that's sae dear to me


About Aileen Carr

Aileen is originally from Blairgowrie in Perthshire, and now lives in Auchtermuchty. She's been singing traditional songs since her teens - what else would you be doing coming from these places? During her long career she has sung by herself, with Coelbeg among others, and now with Palaver. Hers is the deep voice in Palaver's sound. Aileen has contributed tracks to a number of compilation albums.

The 1960's were exciting times for the folk revival in Scotland but it was hearing the likes of Belle Stewart at the 1967 Blairgowrie Festival that was a defining moment for Aileen - not to mention the day she was given, at teacher training college, a copy of Norman Buchan and Peter Hall's 1973 'Scottish Folksinger'. On her family moving to Goole in Yorkshire, Aileen became a floor singer at the South Cave folk club and at the Bluebell Club in Hull, where she met many performers such as Alison McMorland and Archie Fisher. In the 1970's she returned to Scotland and became a regular solo singer at St Andrews and other folk clubs, performing at Kinross Festival and throughout Britain and Ireland. During her long career she has sung by herself, with Coelbeg among others, and alongside Maureen Jelks and Chris Miles in the highly popular a capella group, Palaver

Aileen continues to sing solo, and over and above her clear, disciplined performances and her excellent, powerful singing voice, her most important attribute is the way she persistently searches out fresh and interesting material from both sung and printed sources, constantly researching texts, tunes and history. Although an eclectic singer in the true folk tradition, it is the great classical story ballads - especially Scottish - and their rich history that she enjoys most of all.

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