The Gaelic Tradition: Òran Do Cheap Breatainn

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About this Song

The singer is Malcolm R. MacLeod of Sydney. This song has become the Gaelic anthem of Cape Breton; it was composed by Dan Alex MacDonald from Framboise. A longer twelve-verse version of the song is published in Gaelic Songs of Nova Scotia, by Helen Creighton and Calum MacLeod (1964).

Òran Do Cheap Breatainn. Malcolm R. MacLeod. T-630. Beaton Institute, Cape Breton University.

About the Artist

Oran Do Cheap Breatainn was recorded by Malcolm R. MacLeod on a Celtic Label 78rpm which was numbered #023 in that series. It was the flip side of a record which had another popular Gaelic tune entitled O Teannaibh Dluth Is Togaibh Fonn on the opposite side. Celtic Label 78s were recorded in Montreal at this point in time. Malcolm R. also recorded a number of disks on the Victor Label.

He was from Sterling, Cape Breton where the MacLeod family homestead lay near the site of the famous Sterling Mine. For a time, he made his living selling cream separators and tombstones, the latter manufactured by a company which used to advertise in the old Family Herald magazine.

In later life, Malcolm R. moved to Sydney.

Lyrics

Sèist
'S e Ceap Breatainn tìr mo ghràidh,
Tìr nan craobh 's nam beanntan àrd;
'S e Ceap Breatainn tìr mo ghràidh,
Tìr as àille leinn air thalamh.

1. Àit' as maisich tha fon ghrèin,
Smeòraich seinn air bhàrr nan geug;
Gòbhlain-gaoithe cluich ri chèil,
'S an nead glèidhte fo na ceangail.

2. Feasgar foghair àm an fheòir,
Nuair a dhùineadh oirnn na neòil;
Ceò na mara tighinn 'n a thòrr,
'S e 'n a sgleò air bhàrr nam beannaibh.

3. Àm a' gheamhraidh, àm an fhuachd,
Àm nam bainnsean, àm nan luadh;
Chluinnte gillean air cleith-luaidh,
'S gruagaich le guth cruaidh 'g an leantainn.

4. Am Framboise fhuair mi m'àrach òg,
Ann an nàbachd Chlann MhicLeòid;
'S tric bha sinn ri mir' is spòrs,
Làithean sòlasach nach maireann.

5. Chan urrainn dhòmh-sa leth dhuibh ìnns',
Na tha mhaisealachd 's an tìr;
Stadaidh mi bhon tha mi sgìth,
Beannachd leibh is oidhche mhath leibh.

Translation:

Song to Cape Breton

Chorus
Cape Breton is the land of my love,
The land of trees and high mountains.
Cape Breton is the land of my love,
To us the most beautiful land on earth.

1. The most beautiful place under the sun,
Thrushes singing on the tips of the branches,
Swallows playing with one another,
Their nests secure under the rafters.

2. On an autumn evening at hay-making time,
When the clouds close in upon us,
As the sea mist comes in banks,
Spreading a film over the peaks of the mountains.

3. Winter-time, time of cold,
Time of weddings, time of milling frolics;
Young men would be heard at the milling table,
With maidens supporting them with clear voices.

4. I was reared in my youth in Framboise,
In the neighbourhood of the Clan MacLeod;
We were often playful and joyful,
Happy days that are no more.

5. I cannot describe to you
Half of the land's beauty.
I will conclude because I am tired;
Blessings be with you and goodnight.