Mending Horses: Music

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There’s a lot of music in Mending Horses. I thought readers might enjoy listening to some of the songs mentioned in the book.

Billy’s songs

Near the beginning of the book, Billy sings a lullaby to Daniel after Mr. Stocking rescues him. Although the song isn’t named in the book, I imagine that it is “Táimse im Chodladh” (“I Am Sleeping, Do Not Wake Me”). Ciara Walton sings a lovely version on YouTube.

I’ve heard several versions of “Deirdre’s Lament,” the song that Hugh hears Billy singing at the circus. Some are set to new music rather than the traditional tune. I found two versions on YouTube; I’m not sure whether they are traditional versions, or are modern adaptations, but they’re still beautiful. There’s one by Trio Nocturna and one by Heather Alexander .

Two beautiful versions of “Siuil a Ruin” (the song Billy sings to Hugh near the end of the book) are on YouTube, one by Connie Dover  and one by Clannad.

I couldn’t find a recording of “The Last Link is Broken” (the song that Augusta taught to Billy, and that Liam hears Augusta singing) on the Internet, but you can find the lyrics online here.

Edward Bunting’s 1840 Ancient Music of Ireland is a great resource if you’re looking for more traditional Irish tunes.

violinMr. Stocking’s songs

Mr. Stocking plays several songs on his fiddle. At the barn dance, he plays “Oft in the Stilly Night.” During the circus, he plays “Flowers of Edinburgh” and “The White Cockade” to accompany the dancing ponies’ routine. Later in the story, he plays “The Minstrel Boy” and “Soldier’s Joy.”

To find popular songs from the 1830s, go to the Library of Congress’s “Music for the Nation” website, where you’ll find sheet music for hundreds of songs and a list of greatest hits organized by date.

If you’re looking for more music from 19th-century New England, I encourage you to check out these two collections recorded by the musicians of Old Sturbridge Village:

Village Green – Music of Old Sturbridge Village

A 19th Century Music Sampler Featuring the Musicians of Old Sturbridge Village


Other music:

Although Heidi Talbot’s “Start it All Over Again” is not a 19th-century song, the lyrics makes me think of Liam and Augusta, so I’m including a link to it here.

While writing the book, I listened to a lot of music by Celtic artists and American folk musicians to inspire me. Here are some of the musicians on my playlist:

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