Poor Irish and Wiradjuri

From The Kate Kelly Song Cycle, a chamber opera by composer Ross Carey and writer Merrill Findlay, first performed in 2011. The full score is now available from here >>

Listen to the first four minutes of Poor Irish and Wiradjuri, from the premiere performance of The Kate Kelly Song Cycle at the inaugural Kalari-Lachlan River Arts Festival, September 2011. With Melbourne soprano Sian Prior, accordionist Elizabeth Jones, Rachel Whealy (cello), Martin Lee (violin), and Justin Screen (clarinet), with the Forbes Shire Choir and the College For Seniors Choir under the baton of musical director William Moxey. 

[Click at the left hand end of the black bar bar to play.]

Poor Irish and Wiradjuri

I see her on the river bank
I see her down the street
Ellen Googoolin
Yellow Belly Woman
Who reminds me of Ellen my Mum

Not because they look the same
Poor Irish and Wiradjuri
It’s more to do with attitude
They’re Warrior Women, these Ellens
Fighting against the odds

[Choir]
I see her on the river bank

I see her down the street
Ellen Googoolin
Yellow Belly Woman

They drink and swear and misbehave
Have troubles with the law
Not so much for what they do
More for who they are

[Choir]
Poor Irish and Wiradjuri
Poor Irish and Wiradjuri
Poor Irish and Wiradjuri
Poor Irish and Wiradjuri

One’s been here since time began
Since thousands of ago
The other sailed across the sea
From Baile Meánach, Éirinn
A little girl form a big family

One tells me ancient tales
Which all begin right here
Baiame, Kurikuta and Wawi
The other tales from far away
Saint Pádraig, Brigit and Colum Cille

One’s been here since time began
Since thousands of ago
The other sailed across the sea
From Baile Meánach, Éirinn
A little girl form a big family

One tells me ancient tales
That all begin right here
Baiame, Kurikuta and Wawi
The other tales from far away
Saint Pádraig, Brigit and Colum Cille
Aes sídhe, Cú Chulainn, and Temair na Ri

So many different legends
Yet some almost the same
‘Bout things you know in your heart are true
Yet no-one else can see
Like bugeeyn, bunyips and spirit people
Banshees, fairies and leprechauns
Poor Irish and Wiradjuri

[Choir]
Poor Irish and Wiradjuri

But the stories of these Ellens
That I like most of all
Are about freedom, justice and liberty
Heroes fighting for our destiny
Like Pemulwuy
In 1788
Wolfe Tone and the United Irish
1798
Windradyne and his clansfolk
1824
Dan O’Connell, the Emancipator
And, of course, our own Cú Chulainn
My brother Ned
And his Republic of East Gippsland

These are the stories they told me
The Yellow Belly Woman
And Ellen my Mum
Two Warrior Women
Who drink and swear and misbehave
Have troubles with the law
Not so much for what they do
More for who they are

Poor Irish and Wiradjuri ….

 

Copyright Merrill Findlay 2014

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Page created 3 May 2014. Last updated 19 September 2014.

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