The Red-Haired Man’s Wife

Robin Lewando is keeping us nicely supplied with tunes and – today – he’s added a song! It’s called The Red Haired Man’s Wife or, in Irish, Bean An Fhir Rua.

Robin learned this song many years ago, but can’t remember where it came from. I delved into the internet archives and came across a whole lot of information about it, including the theory that’s it’s an allegory of the turbulent relationship between England and Ireland (although I’m not sure that I fully understood the argument on this one). If anyone wants to look into this further, here’s a discussion thread on Mudcat.

Whatever the meaning of the song, it’s a very beautiful air. Here’s an instrumental version from The Chieftains:

Thank you, Robin: it’s great to have songs here. In our normal Ballydehob weekly sessions there would always have been a song or three – from Dick, Robin or Alex. Or many of the visitors who we have welcomed in the summer months – and will welcome again, of course, when normality resumes!

A 15th century Irish Chieftain – Fignin The Red!

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