This is a verse and chorus of a song about a disgruntled Cape Breton miner. The singer is Dan MacNeil.
Many Gaelic speakers from rural parts of the island moved to the industrial areas to work in the coal mines. Some would stay in lodgings during the week and go home at the weekends. On Friday they would announce, “Tha sinn a’ dol dhachaidh,” meaning “We are going home.” (Some were also regarded by the collectivised miners as “blacklegs,” or scabs.) Hence, the disparaging term “the Yahie miners,” “yahie” being a phonetic rendering of “dhachaidh.”
Oran A’ Mheinneadair. Dan MacNeil. T-1189. Beaton Institute, Cape Breton University.
Òran A’ Mhèinneadair
Ì ill ù ill agus ò
Mo chridhe trom ‘s cha charaich e;
Cha tig na fithich ‘n am chòir
Leis an dòigh ‘s ‘n do chailleadh mi.
Bha mi deas ‘s gu robh mi tuath,
Bha mi thall an Sydney Mines,
Bha mi shuas an Glace Bay mhòr,
‘S gur iomadh gual a tharraing mi.
Ì ill ù ill agus ò,
My heart is tired and will not move;
The crows won’t come near me
Because of how I have been lost.
I was in the south and in the north,
I was over in Sydney Mines,
I was up in big Glace Bay,
And much coal did I haul.