Song from The Basque, Bard of Cornwall and HebCelt 2010..

There are two popular versions of this song. One is by Sting and the other one is by Moya Brennan. The first time I heard it(Sting’s) I was drawn to the melody and how fitting it is to sing that in such a Gregorian style. There is something of a story telling here:
The angel Gabriel from heaven came
His wings as drifted snow
His eyes as flame
“All hail” said he “thou lowly maiden Mary,
Most highly favoured maid,” Gloria!

“For known a blessed mother thou shalt be,
All generations laud and honor thee,
Thy Son shall be Emanuel,
By seers foretold
Most highly favoured maid,” Gloria!

What starts with a glorious pronouncement is followed by something poignant and even foreboding:

Then gentle Mary meekly bowed her head
“To me be as it pleaseth God,” she said,
“My soul shall laud and magnify his holy name.”
Most highly favoured maid Gloria!

Of her Emanuel, the Christ was born
In Bethlehem all on a Christmas morn
And everyone throughout the world forever saved
Most highly favoured maid Gloria!

I guess that foreboding part is what I picked up in Moya Brennan’s version. Mary has no other choice but to obey . But as a mother she knows what challenges there will be. Whenever I hear this part I could not help but be driven to tears. I am sure no mother would want her son subjected to such fate. And I think this speaks to all moms of the world. Mother’s of great men. The hero’s. The men sacrificed in order for this world to become  a better place.  The mothers who outlived their sons….

This is a traditional song with words by Words by Sabine Baring Gould.  The Basque occupies the border between Spain and France. And this song has encouraged me to research more about the Basque culture. May this bring you into a journey…

…I came across Bard of Cornwall as an accident while looking for some Cornish music in YouTube.

….Let us check out the highlights for the Hebridean Celtic Festival lunched this month in Scotland…promo clip and highlights from the show with the Treacherous Orchestra and Runrig


2 thoughts on “Song from The Basque, Bard of Cornwall and HebCelt 2010..

  1. The Basque folk song sung by Sting and Moya had its beginnings from a much earlier age. I hear almost every year in the lessons of carols and hymns that are sung during the Christmas season.

    I have to admit that I love both versions, though I am more familiar with the one by Moya.

    The Bard of Cornwall (Jesse?) has a fabulous voice! I’ve not heard him before, but his acapella version of that song is one I’ve heard before. I believe The song is by Canadian Stan Rogers. I love this version!

    I really enjoyed this post!


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