Air falalalo

Words : Sir Hugh Roberton / Music : traditional

Lyric as sung by Dick Gaughan

There's lilt in the song I sing
There's laughter and love
There's tang of the sea
And blue from Heaven above
Of reason there's none
And why should there be, forbye,
As long as there's fire in the blood
And a light in the eye?

Air falalalo horo, air falalalay
Air falalalo horo, air falalalay
Air falalalo horo, air falalalay
Falee, falo, horo, air falalalay

The heather's ablaze with bloom
And the myrtle is sweet
There's a song in the air
The road's a song at our feet
So step it along as light
As the bird on the wing
And stepping along
Let's join our voices and sing

And whether the blood
Be Highland, Lowland or no
Or whether the skin be white
Or black as the sloe
Of kith and of kin, we are one
Be it right, be it wrong
So long our hearts beat light
With the lilt of the song

Song Notes

My mother used to sing this to me when I was young. It became a very popular song around the pubs of Edinburgh in the 60s after it had been recorded by both the Corries and the Clancy Brothers. The chorus isn't actually words and doesn't mean anything, it's simply a refrain. There are several features to it which make me suspect that this is fairly modern, possibly based on a traditional Gaelic song, but I've never been able to discover the author; if anyone knows, I'd be delighted to find out.

Update to the above:

Mystery solved. I've now been informed that the lyric is by Sir Hugh Roberton.
(Thanks a million to Murray Shoolbraid for the info. Murray has recently published "The High-kilted Muse: Peter Buchan and His Secret Songs of Silence" - you'll find additional info at Amazon )

Scots composer and socialist Sir Hugh Roberton (1874 - 1952), was the founder of the famed Glasgow Orpheus Choir.

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