Mo Mhallachd air na Caoraich Mhòr – en

Highland

10 April 2020

Composed by Ewan Robertson (Bard of the Clearances)
Researched and sung by Chloë Bryce

Lyrics

Three score and three years have passed
Since we left MacKay Country;
Where are the noble lads of my heart
And the beautiful young girls?

My curses on the big sheep,
Where are the children of the dear people?
We separated when we were young,
Before North-west Sutherland became a desert.

Now out with you Sellar, you died;
If you received any justice, you would feel the heat;
The fire with which you burnt others –
May you get plenty of it.

My curses on the big sheep,
Where are the children of the dear people?
We separated when we were young,
Before North-west Sutherland became a desert.

The song

The words of the song were written by Ewan Robertson, a fisherman from Tong who was known as ‘The Bard of the Clearances’. He lived between 1842 and 1895 and a memorial cairn was built in his memory near the Kyles of Tong, where he had died.

In the song, he recalls how his local area, MacKay Country, is now like a desert since the people were cleared out of it and only sheep put in their place.

It was in 1958 that Andrew Stewart recorded John MacInnes singing this song. I found the recording in the School of Scottish Studies. I researched the different melodies associated with the song, and it is this unusual tune which John MacInnes used, that I enjoyed most.

Chloë Bryce, 2019

Acknowledgements

Recorded at Chem19, Blantyre
Filmed at Moniack Mhòr Creative Writing Centre
Filmed by Mike Webster, Spiral Out Pictures
Make-up Stephanie Foster

← Back to songs list