Folk Notes 6 - Eriskay Love Lilt

September 11, 2017

Eriskay (Scottish Gaelic: Èirisgeigh, pronounced [ˈeɾʲiʃkʲej]), from the Old Norse for "Eric's Isle", is an island and community council area of the Outer Hebrides in northern Scotland. It lies between South Uist and Barra and is connected to South Uist by a causeway which was opened in 2001. In the same year Eriskay became the ferry terminal for travelling between South Uist and Barra. The Caledonian MacBrayne vehicular ferry travels between Ceann a' Ghàraidh in Eriskay and Ardmore in Barra. The crossing takes around 40 minutes.

Eriskay Love Lilt

 

Vair me oro van o
Vair me oro van ee
Vair me oru o ho
Sad am I without thee

When I'm lonely dear white heart
Black the night or wild the sea
By love's light my foot finds
The old pathway to thee

Vair me oro van o
Vair me oro van ee
Vair me oru o ho
Sad am I without thee

Thou'rt the music of my heart
Harp of joy oh cruit mo chridh
Moon of guidance by night
Strength and light thou'rt to me

 

In the morning, when I go 
To the white and shining sea, 
In the calling of the seals 
Thy soft calling to me.

 

Vair me oro van o
Vair me oro van ee
Vair me oru o ho
Sad am I without thee

 

This is a traditional song and therefore has no particular artist associated with it. It is believed to have originated in Scotland but was first written down and published by Marjorie Kennedy Fraser after she visited the island in 1905 to record traditional Hebridean songs and folklore.

©Jeff Guess 2017

 

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