Clàrsach na Bànrighe

Clàrsach na Bànrighe is the 2008 debut CD from Simon Chadwick.

Sample track

(Click here to download an mp3, 3.9MB, 4:18)

11: Da Mihi Manum
This is the best known tune by Ruaidhrí Dall Ó Catháin, and is still widely played by traditional Irish musicians. Arthur O'Neill (1734 - 1816), speaking in about 1810, said:

Amongst other visits in the style of an Irish chieftain he paid one to a Lady Eglintoun, and she (not knowing his rank) in a peremptory manner demanded a tune, which he declined as he only came to play to amuse her, and in an irritable manner left the house. However, when she was informed of his consequence she eagerly contrived a reconciliation and made an apology, and the result was that he composed a tune for her ladyship, the handsome tune of ‘Da Mihi Manum’ (Give me your hand), for which his fame reached through Scotland...

There are many different versions, as is to be expected for a tune that has spent almost 400 years in the living tradition, but the oldest versions are from the 17th century Scottish lute manuscripts. My setting is from the lute book which was written out by Lady Margaret Wemyss (1630-49) in Fife. Margaret died tragically young at the age of 19. She wrote this tune into her music book in 1643-4, only a decade or so after it was composed. I like to imagine Ruaidhrí Dall visiting Wemyss Castle and teaching her the tune, and her writing it, with its idiomatic clàrsach style and harmonies, neatly into her music book.

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