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The Great Silkie Of Sule Skerry


by

Briguy777

 Genre: Celtic

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Description
This ballad originates from the Orkney Islands and dates back to the late 1800s, though it is probably older. A 'Silkie' or 'selkie' is a seal when it is in the water and turns into a man on land. Sule Skerry is a small, uninhabital island west of the Orkney mainland.

I heard a live version of this song that the Corries played with their Combolin Instruments. Joan Baez also recorded a beautiful version. I feel this tune to be enchanting and wanted to add a simple version in Open B tuning.

This is my first attempt at playing & singing this song. I'm playing a nylon Goya classical guitar I picked up at the Stormville flee market(Stormville, NY) a few years ago for $20. I recorded it with my iPhone & threw in some small effects with Garageband.

I know it's been a while but I hope you enjoy.
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Lyrics
An earthly nourice sits and sings
And aye she sings by the lily-wean
Little ken I my bairnie's faither
far less the land that he bides in

Then up come he tae her bed fit
And grumbly guest I'm share was he
Saying "Here I am, thy bairnie's faither
Although I may not comely be."

"I am a man upon the land
And I'm a Silkie on the sea.
And when I'm far and far frae land,
My hame is in the Sule Skerry."

And he has taken a pot o' gold
And he has set it upon her knee
Sayin' "Gie to me my ain wee son
And you accept your nourice fee."

It shall come to pass on a summer's day
When the sun shines bright on every stane
That I will tak my ain wee son
And learn him how to swim the fame

And ye will marry a proud gunner
And a right guid gunner I', sure he'll be
And wi' the first hot that e'er he fires
He'll kill baith my bonnie son and me
Song Stats
Hits: 1599
Comments: 12
Fans: 7
Plays: 91
Downloads: 0
Votes: 0
Uploaded: Feb 06, 2014 - 06:16:27 AM
Last Updated: Feb 06, 2014 - 06:16:27 AM Last Played: Nov 18, 2017 - 09:39:28 AM
Song License
Creative Commons License:
Attribution-NoDerivs-NonCommercial

Creative Commons

Song Actions
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Hardware:
iPhone
Software:
voice memos app
Garageband
Comments
woofer3 said 1385 days ago (February 6th, 2014)
The Great Silkie Of Sule Skerry
A very accomplished and rich sound with a fine performance. Lovely.
Check out my latest song called Drunken bakers [08-01]
Briguy777 said 1382 days ago (February 9th, 2014)
Thanks Woofer!
I appreciate the compliment, It means a lot coming from such an accomplished musician!
Check out my latest song called The Night Visit
Philip18 said 1384 days ago (February 7th, 2014)
The Great Silkie
You got a good deal on that guitar - I like it's tone and what you're playing. I'm having trouble distinguishing the vocal - is it deliberate to have it right at the back of the mix? Powerful song.
Check out my latest song called First Night Alone
Briguy777 said 1382 days ago (February 9th, 2014)
Powerful compliment
Living in a 900 square foot condo with my pregnant wife & a 14 month asleep above me I have to play & practice as quiet as possible. The iPhone's mic was also too close to the guitar. When I listened back it reminded me of the Corries version of the tune (I can't understand Scottish)so I had some fun with it.
Thanks,
Brian

Check out my latest song called The Night Visit
DWL said 1384 days ago (February 7th, 2014)
Great sound on the guitar
and a fine song but as Philip said, the vocal is very low in the mix.

Cheers

Dick
Check out my latest song called This Empire's State
Briguy777 said 1382 days ago (February 9th, 2014)
Thanks DWL
I think I'm going to re edit & record the guitar & vocals separate
I appreciate the encouraging comment.
Thanks again,
Brian
Check out my latest song called The Night Visit
Daugrin said 1384 days ago (February 7th, 2014)
Silkie
The legend is not nearly told here. The Silkie is a seal, a Siren, a Mermaid, and a surrogate lover. She raises the discarded children and reanimates the frozen world of popular vision. Many seek her and few but catch a glimpse.
There is no song with greater power when approached correctly. I enjoyed your version. Might place the vocal out front, and pan a harmony to either side. Nothing wrong with guitar effort. Well done!

Daug
Check out my latest song called TCYB/U Got No Mind
Briguy777 said 1382 days ago (February 9th, 2014)
Gratis!
I did not realize the extent of the Silkie legend! Thanks for addition background. I really enjoyed hearing this tune in it's many versions. Also being a fan of the "Combolin" string instrument but never being able to afford one, I tuned the guitar down.

I will try to re-record the vocals but am limited on resources & equipment.

Thanks,
Brian
Check out my latest song called The Night Visit
PeterB7858 said 1383 days ago (February 7th, 2014)
The Great Silkie Of Sule Skerry
Atmospheric post, Brian. The guitar drone had me reaching for the sitar :-) As others have pointed out, the vocal just seems an adjunct to the guitar, but perhaps that was your intention. You were able to maintain the mood throughout. Thanks, Peter
Check out my latest song called Losing You
Briguy777 said 1382 days ago (February 9th, 2014)
Cool Peter!
I can't thank you enough as everyone here has really been supportive! For a poor recording, I just had to post it and am overwhelmed by the good response.
Thanks again,
Brian
Check out my latest song called The Night Visit
FEEL said 1383 days ago (February 8th, 2014)
Nice guitar tone
I'm in agreement... The vocals deserve to be turned up. Enjoyed the listen. Thanks for sharing.
Check out my latest song called Crazy Clown Dreamer w/sammydix
Briguy777 said 1382 days ago (February 9th, 2014)
Thanks for the comment Feel
I going to try adjusting the recording I have or record the vocals separate from the guitar and that's probably the better way.
Thanks again for the backup!
Brian
Check out my latest song called The Night Visit
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Name: Briguy777
Location: Connecticut United States
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Genre Info
Celtic music is a broad grouping of musical genres that evolved out of the folk musical traditions of the Celtic peoples of Western Europe. The term Celtic music may refer to both orally-transmitted traditional music and recorded popular music with o

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