Soul of a Harper

by Marc Gunn

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  • A book of poetry compiled over two years of Marc Gunn, lead singer of the Brobdingnagian Bards. It was written during one of my prolific times of writing.

    "I got Bella Filiocht in the mail yesterday, I couldn't put it down. It's profound in a word, but to stop there would sell it short. It's beautiful, and deep, heartfelt and funny, all at once. I read the whole thing before I went to sleep."
    – Emilee Rush, Oklahoma

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    Get all 23 Marc Gunn releases available on Bandcamp and save 35%.

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality downloads of Going for Brogue: Irish Pub Songs and Sea Shanties with an Accent, Live At the Cactus Cafe: Cat Songs and Celtic Music, Heart's Ease, What Color Is Your Dragon?, Soul of a Harper, A Tribute to Love, Celtic Geek, As Long As I'm Flyin', and 15 more. , and , .

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about

An autoharper's spiritual wandering through Celtic songs. Beautiful and fun Celtic folk songs to celebrate your Scotch-Irish heritage.

Are you Scots-Irish, too?
After six albums with the Celtic Folk MP3 Superstars, the Brobdingnagian Bards, Marc Gunn decided to create a solo album based on his most-popular solo recordings from 2000-2003 that he named “Soul of a Harper.” Warm and quieting with a touch of bardic fun, it features beautiful vocal balladry and a unique style of autoharping make it a favorite among Scotch-Irish descendents. And it was even chosen by Austin radio's Celtic Storm as one of the best Celtic albums of 2003.

About Soul of a Harper
Long before the Brobdingnagian Bards came to be, I planned to record a solo album to highlight my music and songwriting. A shortage of time and funding prevented this. Then The Bards came along. A lack of time was now more an issue than ever. I'm excited to finally complete an idea that began after my first solo CD, Ichabod's Geography was released in 1997.

I started recording this album in the Winter of 2000 using a 4-track I got that Christmas. I posted the songs on MP3.com. “Buttercup's Lament” became my first solo song to break into the Celtic Top 40 hit.

After finishing the sixth studio album with the Brobdingnagian Bards, “Memories of Middle Earth” in the Spring, I decided to finish this album. I updated a number of old pieces and recorded several new songs.

I think this album better reflects the person that I see in the mirror each day–reflective and romantic. The album title was taken from a song written for me by fantasy author, Rie Sheridan. It does a great job at capturing the feeling of the album.

While I may not be a harper in the traditional sense, my music, instrumentation, and songwriting are a contemporary tribute to the harpers and bards of old who created musical magic for people during their travels.

My own musical journey has been long and often
frustrating, but my boots have served me well and
my soul has reaped the rewards.

Thank you for being a part of my journey,
Marc Gunn, Dec 2003

credits

released January 1, 2004

“The Bridge”, “The Lady of Setliff Manor”, “Happy Birthday From Ireland”, “Titania Wake My Sweet Queen”, “Kyara Elven Mistress of Whispers”, “Middle Earth Bragging Song”, “The Leprechaun”, and “Buttercup's Lament” are all original songs written by Marc Gunn.

“Lanigan's Ball” is a traditional Irish folk song. “Killiecrankie” and “My Love Is Like A Red, Red Rose” are Scottish folk songs by Robert Burns.

“The Parting Glass” is a traditional song I recorded after watching Waking Ned Divine after an event hosted by the Gaelic League of Austin in October.

Lyrics for the “The Barrel Song” (aka “The Sick Note”) are by Pat Cooksey and sung to the tune, “The Garden Where the Praties Grow”.

All music was self-produced, recorded, and performed in my home studio. I designed the graphics and CD layout. Photos of me and editing were done by Nancy e. Pearsall. Other photos are by me.

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Marc Gunn Birmingham, Alabama

Marc Gunn is a rhythm and folk musician inspired by Celtic culture, science fiction, fantasy, and cats. He breathes new life into the autoharp, which continues to surprise musical veterans and fans a like for it’s unique sound and spirited energy. It’s like a satirical jam session between The Clancy Brothers and Weird Al Yankovic. It’s Celtic music, the traditional and the twisted. ... more

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Track Name: The Bridge
Lyrics and music Marc Gunn, 2000

Performed by Marc Gunn
From: The Bridge
Was it something I said that made you angry with me,
Made you dig a deep river to keep you from me?
Oh, the water is rushing, come to sweep me away
‘Less I die of sorrow, I will cross it today.

I would build me a bridge a hundred meters long
To see the other side of what I did wrong.
Well you say you don't hate me, but I guess that I'm scared
That with a river between us, you'll no longer care.

I would build a boat, and paddle agaist all sorrow.
And if I sail down the river, I'll be back again tomorrow.
I would face cold death, run and leap to your side.
And if I fall in the river, I'll be warmed by your sight.

I would beg your forgiveness for the pain that I've fed
And I'd find the source of the river you've bled.
Then I'd close the gates of the dam I built there.
And never again will you have anything to fear.

Well I never knew that your tears ran so deep.
But when I've dammed those tears, I will kiss your sweet cheek.
I will hold you close 'till your tears finally cease.
And I'll sing you a lullaby and bring you peace.
Track Name: Killiecrankie
Where hae ye been sae braw, lad?
Where hae ye been sae brankie-o?
Where hae ye been sae braw, lad?
Cam' ye by Killiecrankie-o?

An' ye had been where I hae been
Ye wadna been sae cantie-o
An' ye had seen what I hae seen
On the braes o' Killiecrankie-o

I fought at land, I fought at sea
At hame I fought my auntie-o
But I met the Devil and Dundee
On the braes o' Killiecrankie-o

The bauld pitcur fell in a furr
And Clavers gat a clankie-o
Or I had fed an Athol gled
On the braes o' Killiecrankie-o

Oh fie, MacKay, What gart ye lie
I' the brush ayont the brankie-o?
Ye'd better kiss'd King Willie's loff
Than come tae Killiecrankie-o

It's nae shame, it's nae shame
It's nae shame to shank ye-o
There's sour slaes on Athol braes
And the de'ils at Killiecrankie-o
Track Name: The Parting Glass
Of all the money that ere I had, I spent it in good company.
And of all the harm that ere I've done, alas was done to none but me.
And all I've done for want of wit, to memory now I cannot recall.
So fill me to the parting glass. Goodnight and joy be with you all.

Of all the comrades that ere I had, they're sorry for my going away,
And of all the sweethearts that ere I had , they wish me one more day to stay,
But since it falls unto my lot that I should rise while you should not,
I will gently rise and I'll softly call, "Goodnight and joy be with you all!"

Oh, if I had money enough to spend and leisure time to sit awhile
There is a fair maid in this town that sorely has my heart beguiled
Her rosey cheeks and ruby lips, she alone has my heart in thrall.
So fill me to the parting glass. Goodnight and joy be with you all.
Track Name: The Leprechaun (You're No Irish Laddie)
There's a Leprechaun in me head, and I wish that I were dead
For I don't think he'll e'er let me be.
Oh, he tempts me with his gold, and if I were e'er so bold,
I'd strangle him and leave him in the street.

Well, he says to me, "Ah, you're no Irish Laddie!
And ye call that thing a harp?"
But each time I share the lore that I am learning.
He hides in shame while my friends they chant.

La ta tee, da diddley dee, la ta tee ta tee da
La ta tee, da diddley diddley dai
La ta tee, da diddley dee, la ta tee ta tee da
La ta tee, da diddley diddley dai

There's a leprechaun in my room. He swats me with a broom.
That's the reason I forget the words of this song.
Well, he shows me a four-leaf clover, and before me song is over,
It's buried in a bowl of Lucky Charms.

Ther'es a leprechaun on the floor, and he says that I'm a bore.
He yawns aloud as I sing my song.
He feigns one last breathe stolen, but I see his eyes are open.
And he's watching me with envy deep inside.

There's a leprechaun on a hill, and his gold is buried there.
So I grab him by the neck 'fore he gets away.
The pot's too heavy, he giggles, so I pinch me just a little,
And he thinks he's fooled me as I run away.
Track Name: Lanigan's Ball
In the town of Athol one Jeremy Lanigan
Battered away 'til he hadn't a pound.
His father died and made him a man again
Left him a farm and ten acres of ground.
Myself to be sure got free invitation,
For all the boys and girls I might ask,
And without being asked both friends and relations
Danced like bees 'round the sweet cask.

There were lashings of punch and wine for the ladies,
Potatoes and cakes; bacon and tea,
Nolans, Dolans, all the O'Gradys
Courting the girls and dancing away.
Songs they went 'round as plenty as water,
"The harp that once sounded in Tara's old hall,"
"Sweet Nelly Gray" and "The Rat Catcher's Daughter,"
Singing together at Lanigan's Ball.

They were doing all kinds of nonsensical polkas
All 'round the room in a whirligig.
Julia and I, soon banished their nonsense
And tipped them the twist of a reel and a jig.
How the girls they all got mad at me
For they thought the ceiling would fall.
I spent six months at Brooks' Academy
Learning to dance for Lanigan's Ball.

Six long months I spent up in Dublin,
Six long months doing nothing at all,
Six long months I spent up in Dublin,
Learning to dance for Lanigan's Ball.
She stepped out and I stepped in again,
I stepped out and she stepped in again,
She stepped out and I stepped in again,
Learning new steps for Lanigan's Ball.

The boys were merry, the girls all hearty
Dancing around in couples and groups,
An accident happened, young Terrance McCarthy
He put his foot through miss Finnerty's hoops.
The craythur she fainted, and roared, "Bloody Murder,"
Sent for her brothers and gathered them all.
Carmody swore he'd go no further
'Til he had revenge at Lanigan's Ball.

In the midst of the row miss Kerrigan fainted,
Her cheeks at the time as red as a rose.
Some of the lads declared she was painted,
She took a small drop too much, I suppose.
Her sweetheart, Ned Morgan, so powerful and able,
When he saw his colleen stretched out by the wall,
Tore the left leg from under the table
And smashed all the Chaneys at Lanigan's Ball.

Boys, oh boys, 'twas then there were runctions.
I got a kick from big Phelim McHugh.
I soon replied to his introduction
And kicked up a terrible hullabaloo.
Casey, the piper, was near being strangled.
Squeezed up his pipes, chanters and all.
The girls and boys they got all entangled
And that put an end to Lanigan's Ball.
Track Name: Happy Birthday from Ireland
On St. Patrick's Day, I was born.
America my home, my heritage unknown.
T'was two years ago on a musical journey
I found Ireland on the wings of a note.

O Ireland, how I long for your valleys and mountains!
How I long to see your hills and streams.
From my home 'cross the ocean, I hear your voice singing,
"Happy Birthday from Ireland, my child of the green!
La la laa, la di la laa, la laa di la la
Happy Birthday from Ireland, my child of the green!"

My Da played the tunes on squeezebox and fiddle.
And the songs they were tuned to the harp in my soul.
St Paddy, ye never told me that I was Irish.
'Till I heard your voice singing, bringing me home.

Now two years have passed and Ireland sings with me.
In every song that flows from my voice and from harp.
But I see your eyes smiling and your arms wide open.
From the way your children open their hearths and their hearts.
Track Name: Buttercup's Lament (Princess Bride)
There's a leaf on a tree and it's swaying
And a girl 'neath the tree tears in her eyes.
There's a wolf on the run saying 'Where have ye gone?'
'Oh where have ye gone sweet love of mine.'

Oh wind, cruel wind, bring and end, an end
To the storm that took me love afore his time
Oh wind, cruel wind, bring and end, an end
I long for him. Will ye bring my true love back to me side

There's a puddle on the ground and it's growing
And a girl above the pond tears in her eyes
There's a fox on the run saying 'Where have ye gone?'
'Oh where have ye gone sweet love of mine.'

There's a woman on the run saying, 'Where have ye gone?
Oh where have ye gone sweet love of mine?
Oh where have ye gone sweet love of mine?
Oh where oh where? I long for ye here.
Oh where have ye gone sweet love of mine?