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Our Latest Album

Track Notes

1. La Tabacchera / Mazurka a Rigal / Reel St Patrice

A medley of three traditional instrumental tunes: La Tabacchera ("The Snuffbox") is Italian, while the second ("The Royal Mazurka") is French, and the third ("St Patrick's Reel") is probably French Canadian. We learned this last one years ago from a fiddle-playing friend, and it's quite unusual for a reel (at least in terms of any Celtic music we're familiar with), as the rhythm keeps shifting from 6/8 to 3/4 and back again.

Bill Jamieson: tenor recorder, soprano recorder, castanets

Gwen Jamieson: harp, hurdy-gurdy

Amy Reiswig: bells, shaker, dumbek
Penny Reiswig: cittern
Lael Whitehead: tenor recorder, soprano recorder


2. Reis Glorios / Procurans Odium


Reis Glorios (“Glorious King”) is a troubadour song written by Giraut de Bornelh in the 13th century. Belonging to the sub-genre “alba” or “dawn,” this song tells of a knight who anxiously awaits his friend’s return, suspecting but not knowing that the friend in question has spent the night with a married lady. We have paired it with another song from the 13th century, this one written by an anonymous monk or scholar and part of the Carmina Burana. The lyrics of Procurans Odium contrast with the wistfulness of Reis Glorios, saying that those who hate have their hatred turned back upon them and that lovers harvest grapes from the thorns of their enemies. We have chosen to perform this as an instrumental.

Below are the langue d'oc lyrics of Reis Glorios, followed by a translation.


Reis glorios, verais lums e clartatz,

Deus poderos, Senher, si a vos platz,

al meu companh sïatz fizels ajuda,

qu'eu non lo vi pos la nochs fo venguda,

e ades sera l'alba.


Bel companho, si dormetz o veillatz?

Non dormatz plus, suau vos ressidatz,

qu'en orïent vei l'estela creguda

qu'amenal jorn, qu'eu l'ai ben coneguda,

e ades sera l'alba.


Bel companho, en chantan vos apel:

non dormatz plus, qu'eu aug chantar l'auzel

que vai queren lo jorn per lo boscatge,

et ai paor quel gilos vos assatge,

e ades sera l'alba.




Glorious king, true and shining light,

Mighty God, lord, if it please you

To my companion be a good help

For I have not seen him since it grew dark

And soon it will be dawn.


Fair friend, are you awake or asleep?

Do not sleep any longer, for from where you are

You can see in the east the star shining

Which fades at daybreak, this you must know

And soon it will be dawn.


Fair friend, in singing I call to you

Sleep no longer for I hear the bird sing

Who goes seeking through the wood in the daytime

And I fear the jealous one will attack you

And soon it will be dawn.   


Bill: soprano recorder, German small pipes
Gwen: harp
Amy: shaker, zils, dumbek
Penny: cittern
Lael: voice, soprano recorder



3. Isabeau S'y Promène


This is a folk tune, likely originating in medieval Normandy. There are two versions of the lyrics to this tune, both of which set the melancholy and mysterious tone we so often hear in French folk music. One version tells how Isabeau hears some sailors singing and boards their vessel, only to start crying about her ring, which she says has fallen into the water. One of the sailors dives for it and, after several attempts to retrieve it, drowns. In the other version, Isabeau is weeping at the sailor’s song, complaining that she has lost her heart. He tells her that if she will only sing, it will be returned to her.

Bill: tenor recorder
Gwen: harp
Amy: zils, dumbek, surpeti
Penny: cittern
Lael: xylophone


4. We Be Soldiers Three


A song written by Thomas Ravenscroft, included in Deuteromelia of 1609. The likely historical background for this song is the “Dutch Revolt” (1568-1648), an uprising which saw the northern, largely protestant Seven Provinces of the Low Countries reject the rule of the Roman Catholic King Philip II of Spain. The Dutch Revolt was just one of the many bloody “wars of religion” that plagued Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries. English and Scots mercenaries often joined these European wars in search of pay, which was not always forthcoming. In this song, we picture three hard-bitten soldiers returning home from overseas: penniless, thirsty and possibly looking for a fight. Some sources tell us that "Pardonnez moi, je vous en prie” was what toughs of the time might have said as they deliberately bumped into a fellow drinker at the bar, causing drinks to spill -- not as an apology but rather an invitation to brawl!


Bill: alto recorder, voice

Gwen: hurdy-gurdy, voice

Amy: snare drum, dumbek, voice

Penny: cittern, voice

Lael: voice, guitar



5. Mareta, Mareta


This traditional Catalan lullaby presents a dialogue between mother and daughter, which we have chosen to represent by giving the first verse to Gwen and the second to Lael. We have also complemented the early 18th-century style with a bassline and more dense chording combining harp and guitar.


Mareta, Mareta, n’om faces plorar
Compra’m la nineta avui qu’es el meu sant.
Que tinga la nina hermosos els ulls
La cara molt fina i els cabells molt rull

Marieta, Marieta jo es cantaré 
una cançoneta que ta adormiré. 
Dorm-te, neneta, dorm si tens son.
Dorm-te, neneta, dorm si tens son.


Mommy, dear Mommy, don't make me cry,
Today is my saint's day, so buy me a doll.
Let the doll have beautiful eyes,
A pretty face and very curly hair.

Mary, little Mary, I will sing you
A ditty and I'll lull you to sleep.
Sleep, little one, sleep, if you're sleepy.
Sleep, little one, sleep, if you're sleepy.


Bill: great bass recorder
Gwen: voice, harp
Amy: zils, shaker, dumbek
Penny: flute
Lael: voice, guitar


6. Abbots Bromley Horn Dance / Baerentanz / J’ai Vu le Loup


Abbots Bromley is a tiny English village and home to one of those ancient rites whose origins are lost in the mists of time. Every fall, several pairs of 1,000-year-old reindeer antlers are taken down from where they hang on a wall in the parish church and are paraded around the village and surrounding area in a dance that lasts for hours. The first of our medley is one of the tunes associated with that dance. It is followed by the Baerantanz, or Danse de l’Ours, possibly of Flemish origin, and J’ai Vu le Loup ("I have seen the wolf"), a French traditional tune. For these two pieces we’ve chosen to feature two sets of German hummelchen bagpipes and a hurdy-gurdy to conjure up the animals in the dark forests of medieval days.

Bill: tenor recorder, German small pipes
Gwen: hurdy-gurdy
Amy: shakers, zils, dumbek, surpeti
Penny: mandolin, German small pipes
Lael: soprano recorder


7. Kanomp Nouell / Breton Tune


Kanomp Nouell is a haunting Breton carol that we have paired with a traditional Breton tune – one that we learned long ago but, in the true folk tradition, don’t know the name of. If any one knows what this second tune is called, please let us know! “Kanomp Nouell” is Breton for “Let us sing of Christmas.”


Bill: vielle

Gwen: voice, hurdy-gurdy

Amy: shaker, dumbek

Penny: flute

Lael: voice, guitar



8. Fortune My Foe / Roslyn Castle

Fortune My Foe was a popular melody and song in the 16th and 17th centuries. This version has the singer lamenting that fortune has stolen their love away and that henceforth, sorrow will be their mistress. We follow it here with the 18th-century Scottish air Roslyn Castle, for no other reason that the two melodies flow so beautifully into each other.

Bill: tenor recorder
Gwen: voice, harp
Amy: bells, shaker, dumbek
Penny: flute
Lael: voice, guitar


9. Fairie Round

Fairie Round is a galliarde, one of many composed by the prolific English composer Anthony Holborne (c. 1545-1602) and published in the extravagently named Pavans, Galliards, Almains and other short Aeirs, both grave and light, in five parts, for Viols, Violins, or other Musicall Winde Instruments (1599). Holborne was very popular in his day, writing tuneful dance music for the Elizabethan nobility. Among his most popular pieces, the Fairie Round was originally written for a consort of five instruments. Lael leads the three recorders in our arrangement (reduction by Bill), with harp and percussion accompanying.

Bill: tenor recorder, soprano recorder
Gwen: harp
Amy: jingles, dumbek
Penny: tenor recorder
Lael: tenor recorder, soprano recorder


10. Ja Nus Hons Pris


According to legend, Richard the Lionheart wrote this song while imprisoned for several years in Austria. The song is also known as “The Song of Captivity” and “King Richard’s Ballad.”


The legend goes that shortly before Christmas, 1192, Richard I was captured near Vienna by Leopold V, Duke of Austria, who accused the English monarch of arranging the murder of his cousin Conrad of Montferrat. Richard had also personally insulted Leopold by casting the Duke’s standard from the walls of Acre during the Third Crusade. Leopold, in revenge, imprisoned Richard at Dürnstein Castle.


At first no one in England knew what had happened to their king. Finally, the minstrel Blondel, who had been searching for his master throughout Europe, overheard that Dürnstein held a high-ranking, closely-guarded prisoner. Suspecting that this was his master, Blondel approached the castle in secret and located a tiny barred window high up on the wall. He stood beneath the window and sang the first couplet of a Troubadour song he had composed. Immediately a voice responded, singing the second couplet of the song. It was the King.


Richard was eventually released, but not until after the English had paid a hefty ransom. During his years in prison, or so the story goes, the King composed Ja Nus Hons Pris. In the song, he addresses Marie of France, his half-sister, begging her to come to his rescue.


Our arrangement includes the song's first four stanzas in a polyphonic setting by Bill. Below are the original lyrics with translation.


Ja nus hons pris ne dira sa raison
Adroitement, se dolantement non;
Mais par effort puet il faire chançon.
Mout ai amis, mais povre sont li don;
Honte i avront se por ma reançon—
Sui ça deus yvers pris.

Ce sevent bien mi home et mi baron–
Ynglois, Normant, Poitevin et Gascon–
Que je n’ai nul si povre compaignon
Que je lessaisse por avoir en prison;
Je nou di mie por nule retraçon,—
Mais encor sui [je] pris.

Or sai je bien de voir certeinnement
Que morz ne pris n’a ami ne parent,
Quant on me faut por or ne por argent.
Mout m’est de moi, mes plus m’est de ma gent,
Qu’aprés ma mort avront reprochement—
Se longuement sui pris.

N’est pas mervoille se j’ai le cuer dolant,
Quant mes sires met ma terre en torment.
S’il li membrast de nostre soirement
Quo nos feïsmes andui communement,
Je sai de voir que ja trop longuement—
Ne seroie ça pris.




No prisoner can tell his honest thought
Unless he speaks as one who suffers wrong;
But for his comfort as he may make a song.
My friends are many, but their gifts are naught.
Shame will be theirs, if, for my ransom, here—
I lie another year.

They know this well, my barons and my men,
Normandy, England, Gascony, Poitou,
That I had never follower so low
Whom I would leave in prison to my gain.
I say it not for a reproach to them,—
But prisoner I am!

The ancient proverb now I know for sure;
Death and a prison know nor kind nor tie,
Since for mere lack of gold they let me lie.
Much for myself I grieve; for them still more.
After my death they will have grievous wrong—
If I am a prisoner long.

What marvel that my heart is sad and sore
When my own lord torments my helpless lands!
Well do I know that, if he held his hands,
Remembering the common oath we swore,
I should not here imprisoned with my song,—
Remain a prisoner long.

Bill: tenor recorder

Gwen: harp

Amy: dumbek

Penny: flute

Lael: voice


11. Bon Bon Si l’Amour Vous Gène / Bransle d’Ecosse / L’Homme Armé

Bon Bon Si l’Amour Vous Gène is a rather cocky traditional Belgian song, in which the narrator boasts of his conquest of his lover to his rivals. We have arranged it as an instrumental, on two sets of German hummelchen small pipes, with Penny on lead. The intensity builds as we move into the 16th-century French dance tune “Scottish Bransle”, then finally erupts into L’Homme Armé featuring the shawm. L’Homme Armé is a late medieval secular song, warning the listener to fear the armed man – possibly a reaction to the 15th-century fall of Constantinople to the Turks. The tune became quite ubiquitous in Renaissance sacred music, famously used as a cantus firmus for masses by composers such as Josquin des Prez, Guillaume Du Fay and Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina.

Bill: German small pipes, soprano shawm, tabor
Gwen: hurdy-gurdy
Amy: zils, dumbek
Penny: German small pipes, cittern
Lael: strummed dulcimer, tambourine

12. Cro Chinn tSaile

Cro Chinn tSaile (“the cattle fold of Kintail”) is a traditional Scottish song believed to have been written after the Battle of Sheriffmuir in the first Jacobite rebellion in 1715. Bill learned this tune from his first folk music records back in the '70s. We chose to highlight the more modern Celtic style of this song by including two instrumental verses featuring uillean pipes and whistle, with a bassline on the vielle.

Thèid mi dhachaigh, hó ró dhachaigh
Thèid mi dhachaigh Chrò Chinn t-Sàile.
Thèid mi dhachaigh, hó ró dhachaigh
Thèid mi dhachaigh Chrò Chinn t-Sàile.

Thèid mi leam fhìn ann, leam fhìn ann, leam fhìn ann,
Thèid mi leam fhìn ann, gun dàil ann.
Thèid mi leam fhìn ann, leam fhìn ann, leam fhìn ann,
Thèid mi dhachaigh Chrò Chinn t-Sàile.

Dhachaigh thu, dhachaigh thu, dhachaigh thu, dhachaigh thu,
Dhachaigh thu, dhachaigh thu, dha do thaigh Gheamraidh.
Dhachaigh thu, dhachaigh thu, dhachaigh thu, dhachaigh thu,
Dha do thaigh Earraich 's dha do thaigh Samhraidh.


I will go home, ho ro, home,
I will go home, to the cattle fold of Kintail
I will go home, ho ro, home,
I will go home, to the cattle fold of Kintail

I will go myself there, myself there, myself there, myself there,
I will go myself there without delay.
I will go myself there, myself there, myself there, myself there,
I will go home to the cattle fold of Kintail.

Homeward you, homeward you, homeward you, homeward you,
Homeward you, homeward you to your winter house.
Homeward you, homeward you, homeward you, homeward you,
Homeward you to your spring house and to your summer house.

Bill: vielle
Gwen: voice, harp
Amy: jingles, dumbek
Penny: uillean pipes
Lael: voice, whistle


13. Mandolinata / Strawberry Tree

Mandolinata appeared in Melodieën-Gids ("melodies-guide"), a Dutch collection of some
400 folk songs and tunes published in 1893 by L.H. Deelman. We've coupled it here with a tune composed by Penny originally on Northumbrian pipes, though it's played here on the Irish uillean pipes.

Bill: German small pipes
Gwen: spoons
Amy: shakers, dumbek

Penny: mandolin, uillean pipes
Lael: guitar, whistle


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