Edmund of the Hill

(slideshow of sketches with lyrics shown and recited and interpreted by guitar)

Edmund of the Hill (with lyrics spoken)

Eamonn an Chnuic instrumental (without lyrics)

“Eamonn an Chnuic” is an old tune with a heart-breaking melody that I’ve adored since childhood, despite having no understanding of the Gaelic words. After decades of playing the tune, I finally looked up the lyrics, and I was overwhelmed by the feeling that I actually had already known the meaning all along: it’s in the melody. I translated the words into English, interpreted the melody with guitar, and put it to a slideshow made of some sketches of mine. I’ve included the video, the song, and the purely instrumental version. You don’t need to necessarily get the words to get the meaning; in fact, the instrumental is the purest and my favorite… I hope you enjoy my “interpretation” of this beautiful, simple saga of human aloneness and desire for togetherness.

 

Edmund of the Hill (translated from Gaelic)
“Who is that at my door, with the sharp-edged voice,
Who is ripping through my closed door?”
“I am Edmund of the Hill who is cold, wet, and tired
From endlessly walking over mountains and glens.

I’ve been outside for a long time in the frost and the snow
I’m afraid to come close to anyone.
My land, untilled, my seed not to plant,
And I haven’t got them at all.

I’m gravely hurt that I have no friends
Who would welcome me early or late,
So I must travel east over land and sea
Since none of my kin are here with me.”

“Darling, what could I do
If I were to cover you
While gunpowder was continually
Blowing over us?”

“I am Edmund of the Hill who is cold, wet, and tired
From endlessly walking hill and glen.”

 

(translated from Gaelic by Mark Zucker)

music and video ©Mark Zucker, 2020


             Mark Zucker, NBCT,  has taught, coached, and created curriculum in OUSD for 28 years. He lives with his wife Penny, and kids Solomon and Dimitri in Berkeley, where he enjoys playing music, writing, reading, dancing, nature, and being physical. You can access his double-CD Balls of Mercury: Hard/Sweet  at markjzucker.bandcamp.com/album/hard-originals.

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