Hame Oor Bottachan, Hame Cam’ He


This song was sung at the end of a waulking — a rhythmic, labor-intensive process of cloth-making that involves applying force to cloth, particularly wool, to make the fibers thicker and softer. Waulking songs are generally only sung by women, as men do not participate in the waulking at all.

When the waulking proper has finished, the web of fibers is rolled up to be “clapped.” Of this particular song, Kennedy-Fraser writes: “The hungry rage of the man with his ‘uabh, uabh, uabh, uabhan’ and the mocking glee of the woman with her ‘hì-ri-rì-ri-rì-ri-rì-bhag’ clapped the cloth into shape and the fun was at an end.”

Thainig mo bhodachan dachaidh.
Thuirt e, fuireachdainn faireachdainn, “Thoir rud.”

Uabh, uabh, uabh, uabhan,
Hì-ri-rì-ri-rì-ri-rì-bhag, hoi-oi,
Horo, bhodachan, Hhoro.

Bhrist e’n guite, Hhoro,
Shrachd e’n criathar, Hhoro.

Uabh, uabh, uabh, uabhan…

Shrachd e’n criathar, Hhoro,
Chagain e bhrath ghlas, Hhoro.

Uabh, uabh, uabh, uabhan…
Sud am bodachan Nach robh
Dia leis.

My old man came home.
He said, blustering and raging, “Meat for me.”

[The Angry Man]: Oof, oof, oof!
[The Scolding Woman]: Hee, hee, hee!
Horo, old man, horo.

He broke everything, horo,
Angry and hungry he was, horo.

Uabh, uabh, uabh, uabhan…

Angry and hungry he was, horo,
He gnashed his teeth, horo.

Uabh, uabh, uabh, uabhan…
An old man such as he is not
With God.

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