Wovember Words #16

Today’s Wovember Words must be one of my personal favourites so far. It’s a oral history record from the Tobar an Dualchais Archives. It was originally brought to my attention by Felicity, who had this to say about it:

This amazing song by Rosabel Blance was one of my first really magical discoveries in the Tobar an Dualchais archives… I love it for so many reasons. I love the fact that the reporter, Tom Anderson, tries to draw a sort of lengthy, poetic description from her about the song, which she answers with an amazingly practical and straightforward description… but that then there is so much poetry in the song itself, in the sound of the wheel… in the way Rosabel can perfectly mimick the sound of her own spinning wheel. You can only do a sound like that if you know it really well.

To my surprise and delight, I found the words to Rosabel Blance’s song written out in Shetland Textiles, 800BC to the Present, edited by Sarah Laurenson, who gave me permission to reproduce the words here. You might need to refer back to John J Graham’s online Shetland Dictionary to look up some of the words. You can listen to the recording on the Tobar an Dualchais website by following this link.

Da Nortmaven Spinning Sang [Roo the bonnie oo]

words and music by Rosabel Blance

Roo da boannie oo fae da haet sheep’s back;

Roo da boannie oo at we’ll spin an mak,

Da auld spinning-wheel ‘ill hae wark to dö

Fir we’ll hae foo bags ere we laeve da crö

Da dirl o da wheel gyings hurr-in hurr-in,

Da whip-tree clicks as da wheel gyings roond.

Da whirr o da flicht gyings murrin, murrin,

Da sang o da wheel is a weel-kyent soond.

Taese da Shetlan oo till it’s clear an fine,

Lyin laek a clood wi a silver shine,

Dan shak ower it oil, laek bricht draps o dew,

Ower a wib i’da hill whin da mön is foo.

Da dirl o da wheel etc.

Tak doon da cairds noo apo your lap,

An turn oot da rower wi a quick saft flap.

Da risk o da teeth, as ye caird da oo,

Keeps da time o da sang at we’re singin noo.

Da dirl o da wheel etc.

Reck oot your haand fir da spinning-wheel;

Lay on da treed noo, an lay it weel.

Da rower rins oot as da treed rins in,

Wi da fit-board clappin, as da oo ye spin.

Da dirl o da wheel etc.

My beautiful picture

Shetland spinny – image ©Elizabeth Johnston

This entry was posted by tomofholland.

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