Scottish Blessings

by Mike Wilson

"Lang may your lum reek." What?? "Weel may your boatie row." Huh??

My wife and I were fortunate to take a trip to Scotland this past summer. We met lots of people who quickly became friends. One couple we spent an evening with helped familiarize us with some common colloquialisms and some blessings as well. "Lang may your lum reek" means "long may your chimney smoke" – so a blessing for long life. "Weel may your boatie row and aye, your crew increase" is a blessing for prosperity and a large family. These would make for a great song, thought I. What you hear is the result.

Of course, there are Scottish/Irish instruments involved – bodhrán, uilleann pipes, and accordion. The 3-part mixed song was written for any middle age to older choir. It can be sung with all three parts, parts 1 and 2 only, or unison. For flexibility, we have created a unison and a 2-part mix and put them on our web site. We've even included an a cappella version if you would like to go that route. And as usual, part 2 and part 3 rehearsal mixes are available there as well for easy learning.

It is important to observe the dynamics as you sing, and add musicality to your sound with a crescendo and decrescendo in and out of the first two phrases. Diction is also important, though your audience will be unfamiliar with the vernacular. It may be wise to include lyrics in your program for this tune, probably with translations. Though a spoken explanation prior to performance would also be nice.

I hope this will add an enjoyable Scottish flare to your spring program. Lang may your lum reek. – MW

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.