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The Seannachie

 
When I found my way to the seannachie he was sitting up on top of a meall just biding time
You look like you’re late he observed, maybe that or you lost your way, or you committed a crime
And I felt the sting of his tongue, not the gentle words that I’d come to expect from a man of knowledge
And in defence of myself I muttered some excuse about the information age and crap I learned in college
 
If you’d seen his eyes calm and wide you’d recognize they wouldn’t lie
He’d seen the lines stretching out from the start of time until the end
He’d seen the tree, the tree of life with roots in the past, fruit not yet ripe
 
Don’t you know who you are, he joked, you might not be as original as he thought
And what did the do with your name, peel it away like a dead skin? Now you’re caught
And it’s easier still to use your number, getting a hold of you now really is a no brainer
So you’re caught by the balls, old Donald Dubh must be grinning all the way down to his Nike trainers
 
If you’d seen his eyes calm and wild you’d recognize they wouldn’t lie
He’d seen the lines stretching out from the start of time until the end
He’d seen the tree, the tree of life with roots in the past, fruit not ripe
 
Well I replied that’s ok but you can’t make bread with all these old traditions
And all this truth is a luxury that can’t be used by a man in my position
But you can count on my survival and I’m of the mind to find my way to the tip of the tree
You might be surprised to find that I’ve got plenty other friends who’re hanging here with me…
 
Look, he said, I’m only here to deal with facts and not with your illusions
So if you really want me to help you out you won’t get me caught up in all of your confusion
There’s nothing here but families, and people all absorbed with webs they’re weaving
As would-be kings and queens and politicians stars and actors all deceiving
 
If you’d seen his eyes calm and wide you’d recognize they wouldn’t lie
He’d seen the lines stretching out from the start of time until the end
He’d seen the tree, the tree of life with roots in the past, fruit not yet ripe
 

If You’re not a Native

 
Well some of us will always love to ramble
And some of us just want to build a home
All of us have got a right to put down roots
And all of us have got a right to roam
 
But you don’t say that things are quite so easy
I can’t believe you think it’s smart to cheat
False powers giving rise to your confusion
So now it’s just yourself you have to beat
If you’re not a native what are you?
 
I need to say you seem to have a problem
Abusing people that you can’t control
You seem to feel the need to raise an army
To dig you to the bottom of your hole
If you’re not a native what are you?
 
 
Well some of us resorted to the factories
And some of us resorted to the streets
And some of us resorted to the bottle
But some of us could not accept defeat
If you’re not a native what are you?
 
Your stolen cloak of good respectability
Is always kept immaculately clean
Your manners can’t conceal the double standards
that make the whole damn picture so obscene
If you’re not a native what are you?
 
Well I suggest a visit to the doctor
To find out why you get so ill at ease
But it looks to me you’re showing every symptom
Of terminal imperial disease
If you’re not a native what are you?
 

Chunna’ mi Aisling

 
Chunna mi aisling, aisling mar bhruadar,
Aisling aisling, aisling mar bhruadar
Chunna mi bruadar, bruadar mar aisling,
Bruadar, bruadar, chuir mi nam’ cheòl e.
 

Brother in Me

 
Although I am white I am not right, cos I just do not fit into the scene
I live right out here on the fringes of what they might try to call a just society
Could you find a brother, Could you find a brother,
Could you find a brother in me
 
I have a hard time finding friends who’re not concerned with bugging me and dissing me
cos they don’t even want to know when I tell them this is the way that I must be
Could you find a brother, Could you find a brother,
Could you find a brother in me
 
It’s not that I’m afraid to bare my soul, brother, I don’t mind to share it with you
And you don’t have to carry any baggage that I’m throwing out and you just can’t use
Could you find a brother, Could you find a brother,
Could you find a brother in me
 
I’ll take my knocks and bruises and I’ll carry on walking out as far as I can go
Cos I am not an underdog, I’m carrying my line and I know what I know
Could you find a brother, Could you find a brother,
Could you find a brother in me
Could you find a brother, Could you find a brother,
Could you find a brother in me etc
 

The Burning Ship

 
Alone without reason, my family were far overseas
I saw a burning ship ablaze in the night
It wasn’t the first time the fear had taken a hold over me
I resolved to do battle again for release from its grip
 
I couldn’t do anything but wait
 
These are the waters I look out on with regularity
They’ve surrounded my people over long centuries
This playground of prowling death fish and creatures of war
Out there beyond croft land decayed beyond reason
 
I couldn’t do anything but wait
I couldn’t do anything but wait
 
I mentioned my loved ones had gone, they had taken a flight
Out to that place within weeks of atrocities
At night by the airport black flies had swarmed round our heads
But still, before dawn, they had left without worries
 
I couldn’t do anything but wait
I couldn’t do anything but wait
 
No blinds on my windows, I couldn’t avoid its bright glare
It sat in the black sea for over an hour
And though it moved on and carried its halo beyond the point
It wasn’t before I had left it behind
 
I couldn’t do anything but wait
I couldn’t do anything but wait
 

Mad in da Gad’n

 
They say that nothing lasts forever
Forever is a mighty long, long time
So if I just get my hands all full of nothing
Then maybe that will do us for a while
But hey, what’s all that green stuff that keeps springing from the ground?
I get the urge to pull it up and stuff it in my mouth
Now it’s getting taller and it’s reaching for the sky
You mix it up with water then and man it gets me high.
 
There’s something growing in your belly,
You’ve given me another mouth to feed
Oh well now, tha seo a’fas gu funky
I’m not so sure I know what to believe
And now they’re here and dancing man and they’re so full of life
So full of energy sometimes I want to die
But I still keep alive, I keep alive, I keep alive
I’m still alive and dancing, you can’t take me, I’m alive
 
Looks like I have got to stretch a long way
To reach the fruit that’s hanging from the trees
The more I stretch, the more the trees are growing
And heaven knows they’re tantalizing me
If we can keep on dancing maybe we can leave the ground
For long enough to find a way to keep from falling down
We’re alive, yes, we’re alive, we’re dancing, we’re alive
When we’re alive and dancing then we just can’t help but thrive
 
 

It’s Your Love

 
When I’m down there always is a light that shines for me
It’s your love, it’s your love, it’s your love
And as I break down my illusions there’s still one thing clear to me
It’s your love, it’s your love, it’s your love
 
Like a tiger burning bright in the forest of the night
But not to be my foe but by my side
So we can do together what we please and choose whatever
In the darkness where the creatures try to hide
 
If there’s a thing in this world that I take seriously
It’s your love, it’s your love, it’s your love
If there’s a thing that Jah gave to us so we’d get across the sea
It’s your love, it’s your love, it’s your love
 
We built a craft together that could hold out come whatever
And it’s strong enough to get us to the shore
We lifted up the ropes so we’re adrift but we’re afloat
And when our friends come out and meet us we will know
 
It’s your love, it’s your love, it’s your love, it’s your love
It’s not an ordinary thing, it’s your love
 

A Faerie’s Tale (Buain na Rainich)

 
All the time you have been gone I have waited all alone
Just dreaming up a rhyme to remind you that you’re mine
They held you back in chains crying out in pain
To return to me you tried but then the serpent arrived
He tore you from your home and left me here alone
Took you off to foreign lands and put you in a trance
I heard him lying through his teeth: ‘in this land you will be free’
So he dressed you up in gold and marked you bought and sold
And for the freedom that you craved made you forget you were a slave
So you painted on a smile and surrendered to his guile
And so you learned to like his ways but still your heart can not erase
A tiny shred of memory, time will take it endlessly
But you’ll make no mistake and from illusion you’ll awake
On that eventful day you will again return my way
And I’ll be pulling up the roots and weakening the shoots
Until the bracken is undone and the land will not succumb
And you’ve already made a start with what’s unfolding in your heart
So when his palaces have burned your captor will have no return
 
And you won’t want to know about evil, you’ll only want to know about love
You won’t want to know about evil, you’ll only want to know about love
 
Tha mi sgith’s mi leam fhin
buain na rainich buain na rainich
tha mi sgith’s mi leam fhin
buain na rainich daonnan
 
 
 

My Imaginary Band

 
Welcome to the show, let me introduce the band
Part of this is planned, and part is unplanned
All of us are game, but we are not all the same
We play some common chords, and a rhythm’s in our veins
My imaginary band
 

Angels

 
If white man speaks in a forked tongue
What is that tongue, where did it come from?
When white men speak in a forked tongue
What is that tongue, where did it come from?
If divided tongue won’t set you free
Maybe we can try bilingually
Angels are helping you to get free
 
Uniting, not dividing
No! don’t bury your culture there
Uniting not dividing
You’ve got to have something to share
Cos what you are draws from your roots
You’ve got to let them know where you’re coming from
Angels are helping you to get free
 
The tongues of angels don’t lie
The tongues of angels don’t lie
The tongues of angels don’t lie
The hearts of angels have nothing to hide
Angels are helping you to get free
 
Angels are helping you to get free
Angels not angles are helping you to get free
 
 
All songs © Derek MacLennan 2005
Except tracks 6, Words - MacLennan, Music – MacLennan & MacRae, and track 8, use of lyrics & melody from Don’t Want To Know (John Martyn) by permission of  Warlock Music Ltd,  Buain Na Rainich  trad. arr. MacLennan & Easson
 



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