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PostPosted: Sun 22 Jan 2023 6:30 pm 
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Caoilte wrote:
Nice find. I found another recording here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQcgdSQ ... 3w&index=3. It’s a medley of three songs, with the first one being Ím Bím Babaró.

And I found some lyrics for Ím Bím Babaró here.https://www.duchas.ie/en/cbe/9000685/71 ... entScript=

There are 4 lines per verse, with the first and last lines matching within each verse, and also between verses. So only the second and third lines change across the verses. The lyrics are whimsical in nature, such that they would appeal to a small child.

However, the lyrics generally differ between the three sources (apart from the first and last lines of each verse, which all three sources have in common). The recording you found has 5 verses. The recording I found has 4 verses, with the 3rd and 4th verses being in English (the English verses are not translations of the first two verses, which are in Irish). The third source, which only gives lyrics, has three verses. The only match in lyrics across the three sources is between those of the second verse of the recording you found and the second verse of the recording I found.

Your mother’s lyrics bear a slight similarity to the source that only gives the lyrics. Specifically, the second line of the first verse has “Táim ag fanacht le mo bhuachaillín” (meaning: I am waiting for my little boy). This seems similar to, but not the same as, what I had labelled as Lines 2 and 3 of your mother’s recording (although the first three words are identical). Maybe she’s trying to say “mo bhuachaillí” (my boys) here instead of ‘mo bhuachaillín” (my little boy).

Anyway, It’s a very pleasant melody. I'm sure your mother will enjoy hearing it.


Well, your mother says "leis", but maybe she was singing from memory "le mo bhuachaillín". If you listen to the bit Caoilte transcribed as "lao", it does seem to have an "n" at the end. And it struck me that the l was soft, so much so that I have tried to see if there was a meaning of léan that fit the context, so I think bhuachaillín is what it is. The /x/ or the "ch" is either dropped or very slight.


Last edited by djwebb2021 on Sun 22 Jan 2023 10:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun 22 Jan 2023 6:32 pm 
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Caoilte wrote:
djwebb2021 wrote:
I think im means butter, and bím is just a word to rhyme with im, and then babaró is a made up word that is alliterative and fills out the metre.


Maybe so, although I'm don't see the relevance of butter to the lyrics. Also, the word "bím" means "I be" (aka "I am") but I don't think it's meant to mean that here.

Yes, you're right. I think ím may be a filler word here too.


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PostPosted: Mon 23 Jan 2023 10:51 am 
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Caoilte wrote:

Anyway, It’s a very pleasant melody. I'm sure your mother will enjoy hearing it.

Brilliant, Caoilte. She'll love that. The only time we had police at our door growing up was when mom and dad put on The Chieftains live album for a couple of hours so loud one of the neighbours complained. ;) Be interesting to see if she recognises the other two songs in the medley.
Caoilte wrote:
Your mother’s lyrics bear a slight similarity to the source that only gives the lyrics. Specifically, the second line of the first verse has “Táim ag fanacht le mo bhuachaillín” (meaning: I am waiting for my little boy). This seems similar to, but not the same as, what I had labelled as Lines 2 and 3 of your mother’s recording (although the first three words are identical). Maybe she’s trying to say “mo bhuachaillí” (my boys) here instead of ‘mo bhuachaillín” (my little boy).

Yes, it's possible she's misremembering. Speaking of little boys, one song she does sing in Gaelic and English is An bhFaca tú mo Shéamaisín (I'm a James so she likes to sing that to me). She also called me amadán and latchico when I was young but we don't talk about that. :)
djwebb2021 wrote:
Well, your mother says "leis", but maybe she was singing from memory "le mo bhuachaillín". If you listen to the bit Caoilte transcribed as "lao", it does seem to have an "n" at the end. And it struck me that the l was soft, so much so that I have tried to see if there was a meaning of léan that fit the context, so I think bhuachaillín is what it is. The /x/ or the "ch" is either dropped or very slight.

That's great detail, thank you djwebb2021. Interestingly, Im Bim Babaro is the title of a collection of Irish traditional children's songs – it does have that nursery rhyme feel
https://www.abebooks.co.uk/Bim-Babaro-R ... 5479675/bd


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PostPosted: Mon 23 Jan 2023 10:51 am 
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Joined: Thu 01 Sep 2011 11:36 pm
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Caoilte wrote:
Nice find. I found another recording here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQcgdSQ ... 3w&index=3. It’s a medley of three songs, with the first one being Ím Bím Babaró.

And I found some lyrics for Ím Bím Babaró here.https://www.duchas.ie/en/cbe/9000685/71 ... entScript=

There are 4 lines per verse, with the first and last lines matching within each verse, and also between verses. So only the second and third lines change across the verses. The lyrics are whimsical in nature, such that they would appeal to a small child.

However, the lyrics generally differ between the three sources (apart from the first and last lines of each verse, which all three sources have in common). The recording you found has 5 verses. The recording I found has 4 verses, with the 3rd and 4th verses being in English (the English verses are not translations of the first two verses, which are in Irish). The third source, which only gives lyrics, has three verses. The only match in lyrics across the three sources is between those of the second verse of the recording you found and the second verse of the recording I found.

Your mother’s lyrics bear a slight similarity to the source that only gives the lyrics. Specifically, the second line of the first verse has “Táim ag fanacht le mo bhuachaillín” (meaning: I am waiting for my little boy). This seems similar to, but not the same as, what I had labelled as Lines 2 and 3 of your mother’s recording (although the first three words are identical). Maybe she’s trying to say “mo bhuachaillí” (my boys) here instead of ‘mo bhuachaillín” (my little boy).

Anyway, It’s a very pleasant melody. I'm sure your mother will enjoy hearing it.


Nice work, this and the listening/dictation above.


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PostPosted: Tue 24 Jan 2023 12:41 am 
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My mother's parents grew up in Killedan and Killasser parishes in East Mayo, so not far from Kilmovee. I've transcribed and translated below the version which Caoilte found at duchas.ie, which is part of one of the largest folklore collections in the world, compiled in the 1930's by schoolchildren all over the Republic who were sent out to interview older people in their area about all sorts of subjects. Note also that the duchas.ie version comes from Mayo, though from Kilcommon, which is a good bit further west. As you can see, it's actually a love song, and in this case I think buachaillín means boyfriend. Some of the spelling is from before the spelling reforms in the mid-20th century, and at least one word (comhnaidhthe) may be a local spelling.

Ím, Bím, Babaró, ‘gus óró a grádh.
Táim ag fanacht le mo bhuachaillín,
‘s ní thiocaidh arís go bragh,
Ím, Bím, Babaró, ‘gus óró a grádh.

Ím, Bím, Babaró, ‘gus óró a grádh,
Tá seomra geal le cuairtaigheatar,
in áit comhnaidhthe* mo mhíle grádh,
Ím, Bím, Babaró, ‘gus óró a grádh

Ím, Bím, Babaró, ‘gus óró a grádh,
Tá leiceann dearg na h-óige,
in éadan mo mhíle grádh,
Ím, Bím, Babaró, ‘gus óró a grádh.

*comhnaithe

Ím, Bím, Babaró, and óró my love,
I’m waiting for my boyfriend,
and will never come back,
Ím, Bím, Babaró, and óró my love.

Ím, Bím, Babaró, and óró my love,
There's a [bright/nice] room to be found,
in the place where my dear love lives,
Ím, Bím, Babaró, and óró my love.

Ím, Bím, Babaró, and óró my love,
There are the red cheeks of youth,
in the face of my dear love,
Ím, Bím, Babaró, and óró my love.

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I'm not a native (or entirely fluent) speaker, so be sure to wait for confirmations/corrections, especially for tattoos.


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PostPosted: Tue 24 Jan 2023 10:16 am 
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Joined: Thu 01 Sep 2011 11:36 pm
Posts: 538
There's an song in Arabic called "Im Bim Billilah", (إم بمبليلح) , also nonsense words in that song. In Spanish, bárbaro means barbarian, literally, but also has the nuance of "wonderful guy".


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PostPosted: Wed 25 Jan 2023 8:22 am 
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Joined: Fri 20 Jan 2023 2:43 pm
Posts: 6
That's so interesting Caoimhín, thanks so much for going to the trouble. The revelation that it's actually a love song is a new twist and the dúchas site is fascinating - I'm going through some of the Kilmovee stories right now. I did Brian Friel's Translations at A-level so the stuff on hedge schools recalls that fantastic play. Mom was born 1930 so the children taking the stories would be her contemporaries. I played her a recording of Im Bim Babaro yesterday – she loved it.


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