I have a request for this piece, She moved through the Fair, to be played at a wedding.
She didn’t just die. She came back as a ghost and basically told him he was going to die soon too.
Lyric wise, definitely not an appropriate song for a wedding. But a reasonably pretty melody so as an instrumental I can see why they might like it. However I think I would point out to them the nature of the song and see if they still want to use it. If they do it’s their wedding and their dime.
I just played this a couple weeks ago for a wedding and had a vocalist with me to sing it. We omitted the one verse with the child out of wedlock though. The bride was Irish and knew the song well so we did not have any qualms about playing it for a wedding.
I think that many people who have sung it have altered the original lyrics to intentionally make it a less sad song. But all the older version I have seen have the last verse as:
“Last night she came to me, My dead love came in So softly she came That her feet made no din As she laid her hand on me And this she did say It will not be long, love, ‘Til our wedding day”
Many of the more recent version I have heard over the past ten years or so change “my dead love” to “my young love”.
The verse that is also often left out is the third which begins:
“The people were saying, No two e’er were wed But one had a sorrow That never was said…”
Not a happy sentiment for a wedding, but these days this verse is rarely sung it seems. The song gets watered down a bit because it really doesn’t paint either a happy story or a positive depiction of love and marriage.
I think this is a gorgeous song, I have processed behind the coffin singing it for an Irish wake (not with the harp)which was incredibly moving.
Although it could be seen as mournful, the slow rhythm is so serene- as are the images, like the swan, in the words,that I think it highly suitable for the signing of the register,(which I have performed on harp solo and harp/vocal)and possibly for a bride’s entrance for lovers of celtic music.
The slow rhythm is very calming an helps slow the bride down during a short walk in civil premises! There are few slow irish or folk ballads that do not allude to death, I really don’t think it is at all obvious here.
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