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Liner Notes for "The Celtic Cradle, traditional celtic lullabies" by Jill Rogoff
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traditional celtic lullabies

Jill Rogoff ~ vocals, lap harp, guitar
Stefan Hannigan~ flute, low whistle, half-long
& uillean pipes, bodhran (by Marc Moggy)
Mark Powell~ accoustic and electric fretless bass guitars, piano, guitar, mandolin
Recorded and mixed at Meadow Farm Studio, Lower Hartshay, Derbyshire, UK. Nov.-Dec. 1993.
Engineers~ Mark Powell & Stewart Field

Most of these lullabies are Celtic; the exceptions are [noted]. The Celtic-language lyrics are available on request from:
19/A Simoni Street
92623 Jerusalem, Israel
Tel. and Fax: 972-2-790410.

copyright 1995 Alcazar Productions
P.O. Box 429
South Main Street
Waterbury, VT 05676

Arrane Ben Drogh Hraghtalagh
(Isle of Man)
The Smuggler's Lullaby

When the English excise men raid a smuggler's house, his wife pretends to lull the baby to sleep, while warning her husband in Manx Gaelic.

See the excise men coming
Sleep my little hero
They'll be seeking wine and whiskey
Ah me, child of mine
Sleep my little hero
Daddy's late and we must warn him
This time he'll have nothing illegal
The Englishmen may board us
They'll find nothing wrong
Let them search the boat or house
Nothing's in the hold but herrings.

Gille Beag Ó
Little Lad Oh.*
[ gille: boy, lad; beag: little ]

Little lad oh, feeble lad oh
of the sheep
I am tired of nursing you while you tear my clothing
If you were the son of gentry, I would get the value
of my sheep.

O Can Ye Sew Cushions
(Lowland Scots)
[not a Celtic lullaby]

I learned this at school in New Zealand.


For Ruth Sohn.

Sleep, my child, upon my bosom
It is warm and cosy
Mother's arms are clasped around you
A mother's heart beats in my breast
Nothing will disturb your slumber
And no-one shall harm you.
Sleep in peace, my darling baby
Sleep gently on Mother's breast
Sleep in peace tonight
Sleep gently

Deirín Dé

[see Irish lyrics below]

The nightjar is out in the heather
The brown bittern calls in the reeds
Cows will go west at dawn
And my child will go to mind them in the pasture
The moon will rise and the sun will set
Cows will return at the close of day
I shall let my child go picking blackberries
But sleep soundly till daybreak.

Si Lwli Lwli

A very old song in which a mother tries to comfort her ailing child.

Corsican Lullaby
[not a Celtic lullaby]

Translated in French from Italian.

In the hills of Cuscione* the little one was born
And I am rocking the cradle so my love will sleep
The cradle tenderly predicts her future
Sleep. little girl, mother's joy
I shall make your clothes from fine cloth of gold
Later, you will marry the finst man in the mountains
Who tends the herds of cows and glocks of goats

Proudly the bride will pass by on her horse
The swollen bagpipe will be heard amongst the escort
Your husband will lead, in his leather boots
Your parents, so proud and courageous, will celebrate

When you arrive in Mascione, where you will stay
your mother-in-law will take your hand
Giving you clotted cream, according to custom.

[*Cuscione is in South Corsica.]


Arrane Ny Niee
(Isle of Man)
The Washing Song.

The fairy-folk lull their children while bathing them.

H-Ó Abha-Ínn

River [?]

[celtic lyrics:

h-Ó Abha-ínn, h-Ó Abha-ínn, h-Ó Abha-ínn, mo gradh,
h-Ó Abha-ínn, mo leanbh agus codail go lá.

h-Ó Abha-ínn, mo leanbh is h-Ó Abha-ínn, mo ghreann
'S h-Ó Abha-ínn mo leanbh go moch is go mall.

Agus d'imthigh mo mhama le tuile tragha,
Agus ní fhuil fhios agam cé h-í.

River, my love
River, my baby sleep till day

River, my baby, my joy
And river, my baby, early and late

My mama left with the tide
And I don not know who it is.

[alternate lyrics

h-Ó Abha-ínn, h-Ó Abha-ínn, h-Ó Abha-ínn, my love,
h-Ó Abha-ínn, my baby and sleep until day.

h-Ó Abha-ínn, my baby and h-Ó Abha-ínn, my joy
And h-Ó Abha-ínn my baby both early and late.

And my mama left with the tide,
And I do not know where she is.

Dors Mon Goeland

Sung in French, Francoise Coriat's grandmother sang this to her but, for reasons of superstition, always omitted the last verse (missing here) because in the end, the sea claims the grown child's life.

Si Hei Lwli Mabi

The ship now sails away
The captain's on his way
The wind blows from the east
The seagull's on her nest.

Arrane Saveenagh
(Isle of Man)
Slumber Song.

Lullaby. From Merv Davey

Lullaby In C
[not a Celtic lullaby]
(Ray Scudero)
Copyright. Sung by kind permission.

Cadlee Ny Moidyn Moirrey
(Isle of Man)
Mary's Lullaby.

Lyrics by H.P. Kelly. Thanks to Mrs. Esther Richmond and her brother for their kind permission to sing their father's lyrics.

Little baby, hush now
Rest in peace, my little one
My heart, sleep on
We'll know many sorrows, little baby
But today I hold you safe.

Right By Your Side
[not a Celtic lullaby]
(Jill Rogoff)

Copyright. For my children.



1. Arrane Ben Drogh Hraghtalagh 03:26
2. Gilie Beag O 01:55
3. O Can Ye Sew Cushions 02:35
4. Suo-Gan 04:00
5. Deirin De 03:59
6. Sil Lwli Lwli 01:42
7. Corsican Lullaby 03:00
8. Toutouiq 03:04
9. Arrane Ny Niee 02:13
10. H O Abha Inn 02:13
11. Dors Mon Goeland 03:17
12. Si Hei Lwli Mabi 02:12
13. Arrane Saveenagh 03:23
14. Hungan 01:42
15. Lullaby In C 02:30
16. Cadlee Ny Miodyn Moirrey 02:26
17. Right By Your Side 03:20


Deirin De (Ireland)
Irish lyrics (alternate text in parenthesis)

        Deirín dé, deirín dé,
Tá'n gabhairín oíche amuigh san bhfraoch,
(Tá'n gabhar donn ag labhairt sa bhfraoch)
        Deirín dé, deirín dé,
Tá'n bunán donn a' labhairt san bhféith.
(Táid na lachain ag screadaigh sa bhféith.)

        Deirín dé, deirín dé,
Geóidh ba siar le héirí an lae,
(Gheobhaidh ba siar le héirí'n lae)
        Deirín dé, deirín dé,
Is raghaidh mo leanbh 'á bhfeighilt ar féar.
(Is rachaidh mo leanbh dá bhfeighilt ar féar. )

        Deirín dé, deirín dé,
Eireóidh gealach is raghaidh grian fé,
        Deirín dé, deirín dé,
Tiocfaidh ba aniar le deireadh an lae.

        Deirín dé, deirín dé,
Leogfad mo leanbh a' pioca sméar,
        Deirín dé, deirín dé,
--Ach codail go sámh go fáinne an lae!

According to the liner notes of the albulm "The Celtic Cradle" by Jill Rogoff, this is translated as:

The nightjar* is out in the heather
The brown bittern** calls in the reeds

Cows will go west at dawn
And my child will go to mind them in the pasture

The moon will rise and the sun will set
Cows will return at the close of day

I shall let my child go picking blackberries
But sleep soundly till daybreak.

* according to O Donaill's Irish Dictionary, "deirin de" are nonsense words used in a child's game played by tworling a glowing stick.
* Nightjars are nocturnal birds and can be seen hawking for food at dusk and dawn.
** Bitterns are another type of bird. "Shy and secretive, with cryptic plumage that blends well into it's reedy home. More often heard than seen, the bittern's deep booming song is often likened to the sound produced by blowing across the top of an empty milk bottle."

An alternate translation:

Deirín dé, deirín dé
The nightjar is abroad in the heather
Deirín dé, deirín dé
The brown bittern speaks in the reeds

Cows will go west at dawn of day
And my child will go mind them in the pasture

The moon will rise and the sun will set
Cows will return from the west at close of day

A thrush’s nest in my little press
Yes, and gold for my little darling

I shall let my child go picking berries
But sleep soundly till light of day!


"The information which follows was copied from The Mudcat Cafe forum. I can't vouch for it one way or the other. The Irish lyrics are somewhat different in that information so I have included all of it.

That site is a good place to research music. The address for their forum is

This is the text from their thread: "

Okay, here goes. This is the text as it appears in Rois Ni Ogain's collection "Duanaire Gaedhilge", Vol I, published in the 1920s. The spelling of the Irish is a trifle old-timey.

Deirín de, deirín de!
Ta an gabhar donn ag labhairt 'san bhfraoch!
Deirin de, deirin de!
Taid na lachain ag screadaidh 'san bhfeith.

Deirin de, deirin de.
Gheobhaidh ba siar le heirghe an lae.
Deirin de, deirin de.
As raghaidh mo leanbh d'a bhfeighilt ar fear.

Eireochaidh gealach as raghaidh grian fe
Is tusa mo leanbh as mo chuid de'n tsaoghal/

Ta nead smolaighe im choifrin fein/ Ta, agus or dom stoirin fein./

Leigfead mo leanbh ag piocadh smear/ Ach chodladh go samh go fainne an lae./

TRANSLATION (My own, therefore rough!)

Deirin de, deirin de

The brown goat is bleating in the heather/ The ducks are calling in the swamp./

Cattle will go westwards at daybreak/ And my child wil go to mind them as they graze./

The moon will rise and the sun will set/ And you are my child and my life's portion./

There is a thrush's nest in my little coffer/ Along with gold for my own darling./

I will let my child pick blackberries/ and sleep soundly until the break of day./

Thanks for reminding me of this charming text!


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more irish lyrics
A Basic Guide to Gàidhlig (Scottish Gaelic) Pronunciation
more celtic albulms