An T-Aodann Ban

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The song’s title means ‘The White Face’.   At first I had no idea whose white face was referred to, or what the song was about.  But I have now discovered that the name ‘Edinbane’ – a village on the Isle of Skye, takes its name from the Gaelic phrase ‘An t-aodann ban’, the white face.  Wikipedia gave me the following information:

Edinbane lies on the A850 road[1] at the foot of the Waternish Peninsula on the Isle of Skye, Scotland, 14 miles from Portreeand 8 miles from Dunvegan. The name An t-Aodann Bàn is said to be taken from the white bog cotton plants that can be found on the hill sides.[citation needed] The village is based around the crofts with a small primary school, a pottery and two hotels, the Edinbane Hotel and the Lodge Hotel. accessed 7.1.15

As you know, the concert I am calling ‘The Misty Corrie’ was inspired by my holiday last summer on the Isle of Skye.  I stayed then in a small town called Staffin, on the east coast of the island.  I’m returning to Skye for another holiday in July 2015, this time to Edinbane.  When I booked my holiday cottage in Edinbane I had no idea that the song I’d been listening to, ‘An t-Aodann Ban’ was about that place.  I can’t wait to see Edinbane for myself now!

I’ve also managed to find a translation of the lyrics that Arthur Cormack sings:

Since I left the land of my youth

Great is my sadness and yearning

Now I never see the hillocks

The hollows or the pools

I am far from my friends

Although I remember them well

And the voices which welcomed me

Are now no longer heard


The high shady hills

With their peaks in the clouds

There is nothing more beautiful in the land

When they are cloaked in heather

Until death closes my eyes

And I hear and see no more

I will long for the Isle of Skye

Where I spent my youth


When the summer sun shines

On the beautiful banks

And you see the flowers growing

The prettiest under the sun

They have never seen a gardener

And no hand ever cultivated them

But growing from the world of nature

Is every bush, flower and rose


I am far from the place

Where I was brought up

I am far from the Gaelic tongue

The poetry and the music

I am no longer welcomed

With the words “How are you, friend?”

And I will never forget my homeland

Until I lie in the grave


I cannot leave Edinbane

Without composing a verse in its honor

Many of my friends are there

And I belong there myself

It is there that my parents reside

Who have guided my life’s steps

And as long as they live there

There will be a welcome there for me


PDF files of the music:

An t-Aodann Ban – Panpipes Section 1 First Desk Players 1 and 2 – Adam and Ethan

An t-Aodann Ban – Dulcimer Section 1 First Desk Players 3 and 4 – Freya and Alice

An t-Aodann Ban – Saw Lead Section 1 Second Desk – Josh, James C., Matthew G. and Harry

An t-Aodann Ban – Cyber Pad Section 1 Third Desk – Amy, Gemma and Ben L.

An t-Aodann Ban – Harpsichord Section 2 – Jonah, James L., Lucy, Tom R., Matthew C., Tomas F., Reuben, Alankrita and Nicola

An t-Aodann Ban – Synth Strings Section 3 – Jacob, Megan, Finlay, Matthew L., Ben C., Callum and Evelyn

Audio at 150bpm:

Click here to download this file.

Audio at 175bpm:

Click here to download this file.

Original track, sung by Arthur Cormack:

Click here to download this file.

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