Gaelic Music Poetry

Psalm 1 Recording

So 2023 is drawing to a close and 2024 is nearly upon us. As a small gesture of acknowledgement of this transition I uploaded a recording I made while in Knoydart of the first Psalm in Gaelic. As I had been reading the Gaelic psalms (“salman” in Gaelic) and also had my mandolin with me I was playing around with a tune that seemed to fit the regular metre that they are in. So eventually I learned the words and after many, many times singing it over and over I got to the rough form that I recorded on my phone in my bedroom in Knoydart. Perhaps one day I will get round to doing a better one but for now it is up on the Psalm 1 page on the Gaelic part of my website:

It was my thought to learn tunes for all the Psalms based on the traditional ones used in Gaelic congregations but having experienced singing the psalms at the church service at the Mòd in Paisley I decided that it is much better to sing them with groups who are still doing it. So in the meantime I’m just making some of my own tunes up that I can sing solo or with others should the opportunity arise.

The particular tune I made for Psalm 1 I have named Inbhir Aoidh after the place where I was staying, known as Iniverie in English and if you listen to the recording you should be able to get it pretty clearly as it repeats 3 times, once for each pair of stanzas or “rann” as they are called in Gaeilc.

I enjoy the process of fitting tunes to words and vice versa. If you have a look at my Soundcloud you will also find the setting of “The Song of Wandering Aengus” to a tune I composed when I was in Ireland over 20 years ago now. I certainly feel like I have wandered through many “hollow lands and hilly lands” since then that is for sure.

So Happy New Year to you when it comes!

By DrewMcN

Drew McNaughton is a poet and musician with a passion for nature and languages.

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