Hushie Baa, Ee-a-baa


Hushie baa, ee-a-baa, naething to me ava;

Hushie baa, ee-a-baa, baby lie still;

Tho' I'm nae your daddy, my wife she's your mammy,

Oh wae's me she's gotten too much of her will.



ava - at all

nae - not

wae's - woe is


This lullaby appears in the Greig-Duncan Folk Song collection, Volume 8 No 1559, attributed to Rev John Calder.


The theme of the song - a lullaby sung by a husband who know the child is not his - seems an odd choice for a man of the cloth, but Rev Calder's repertoire of songs came from his upbringing on a farm in Durris.  His brother, Rev R H Calder, wrote in 1925: "I do not think my brother had opportunities of hearing songs of the kind Mr Greig collected after he was fifteen years of age, that is about 1864 when he began a course of study at the Grammar School, Old Aberdeen." The Greig-Duncan Folk Song Collection vol 8 p476.  Their father "himself had a fund of song and was a willing singer" and Rev John Calder had learned songs from him and from staff on the farm, including men who came to the farm from Aberdeen and Stonehaven and some who travelled across the border to carry out seasonal work in England.


Gavin Greig collected folk songs in the North East of Scotland, largely between 1905 and 1911.  He was commissioned by the New Spalding Club of Aberdeen and in collaboration with Rev James Bruce Duncan, he utilised a collecting technique in contrast with established procedures of equivalent collectors in England, where informants were brought to collectors in quite formal circumstances.  Greig and Duncan went on foot or bicycle to meet informants in their own environment.  Both men came from the area in which they were collecting and were familiar with the local language and ethos.  They were also well-known for their ability to put their informant at their ease.  In addition to collecting in person, Greig ran a series of 180 weekly columns in the Buchan Observer, which generated interest with the public, provided him with a welcome salary and allowed the New Spalding Club committee members to see that work was progressing.  Collating and publishing the full collection compiled by Greig and Duncan proved too great a task for Greig and Duncan themselves.  The full set of 8 printed volumes finally appeared in 2002.

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