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Romanian Song (Blood and Gold)

[Andy Irvine / Jane Cassidy]

Andy Irvine recorded Romanian Song (Blood and Gold) with Lucienne Purcell singing in 1980 for his Tara album Rainy Sundays…Windy Dreams. He noted in the Digital Tradition:

This one started as a Romanian song collected by Béla Bartók in the early part of this century. A friend of mine, Jane Cassidy from Kilkeel, Co. :Down, and myself re-wrote it a few times and put it to a Bulgarian dance-song tune (When a dance is danced to singing, the singers themselves also dance). This song is in Paidushka rhythm 5/16.

and later (possibly on the album’s CD reissue?):

The Romanian Song (Blood and Gold) is nice, though I think I should have sung it myself. It’s in 5/16 as it was supposed to be. Anybody who recorded it subsequently didn’t quite get that and recorded it in 6/8. Pity…

Silly Sisters Maddy Prior and June Tabor sang Blood and Gold, with the instrumentalists seguing into Dan ar Braz’s tune Mohacs, in 1988 on their second album No More to the Dance. A live recording from the Maddy Prior, Family & Friends Christmas tour of 1999 was released in the following year on their CD Ballads and Candles.


Silly Sisters sing Blood and Gold

On rides a captain and three hundred soldier lads
Out of the morning mist and through the silent snow
Whistling gaily rides the captain at their head
Behind him soldier boys sadly weeping go

For when you took my gold and swore to follow me
You sold away your lives and your liberty
No more you’ll till the soil, no more you’ll work the land
No more to the dance you’ll go and take girls by the hand

O mother weep for your son
He is gone to kill and die

You’ll weep, you’ll die by the keen edge of the sword
All alone by the muddy Danube shore
He gave the order for the drummers to beat their drums
That mothers all might know the life a soldier lives

Unfurl your ragged banners and raise your pale young face
You’ll all go in the fire, there’ll be no hiding place
O mother hear that drumbeat in the village square
O mother that drum’s for me to go for a soldier there

Mothers, sisters, wives, weep for us
Marked as Cain we die alone