PS 107 – The Blue Ribbon, or The Horse’s Bridle Tune

      An Ribean Gorm
 The Blue Ribbon
      Port na Srian
 The Horse’s Bridle Tune
      Port na Strì
 The Tune of Strife

Primary Sources

C2 Ribban Goarm C2.23: 56
D2 An Ruibain Gorm / The Blue Ribbon D2.31: 161
Dj Riban Gorum Dj.16: 12
K1 Port na Srian, na Port na Strigh / The Tune of Strife K1.16: 43
JK John Garve of Colls Lament JK.60: 165
KS Port na Srian na Port na Strigh / The Tune of Strife KS.11: 25

Notes on Gaelic Titles

An Ribean Gorm  Ribban Goarm C2; An Ruibain Gorm / The Blue Ribbon D2.31; Ruibain Gorm / Blue Ribbon D2.47; Riban Gorum Dj; An Ribean Gorm / The Blue Ribband K1; A Ribbean Gorm JK; Riban Gorm SC. The Blue Ribbon. Donald MacDonald gave the title Ruibean Gorm to two different tunes – this one and PS 4. Colin Campbell and Angus MacKay also transcribed An Ribean Dearg (The Red Ribbon) – PS 5. MacDonald wrote, ‘there are four of these Ribbons, one of them an Island of Mull Ribbon, another of them an Isle of Skye Ribbon, another of them belongs to the MacGregors; and this one [PS 4] belongs to the clan Grant’. In his note for PS 107, MacDonald wrote, ‘It would be difficult to make out to whom this air belongs. The Macniels, the MacLeans, and also the MacQuarries, claim it’. C.S. Thomason (1900) assigned it to the Isle of Mull, presumably having noted that traditionally the MacQuarries possessed Ulva, and the centre of MacLean territory was Mull.

Port na Strì  Port na Strigh / The Tune of Strife K1. The Tune of Strife.

Port na Srian  Porst na Striane C1; Port na Srian K1. The Horse’s Bridle Tune. For srian, Dwelly gives ‘Bridle, curb, bridle and reins. 2 Restraint. 3 Stripe, streak.’ Horses were highly prized in Gaelic culture and were kept on many of the islands, including Islay, Jura, Mull, Rum, Skye, Barra, Eriskay, the Uists, Harris, and Lewis. MacNeil of Barra used Arab stallions on native breeds, probably in the sixteenth century, and MacDonald of Clanranald introduced Spanish stock to South Uist in the early eighteenth century (see Colin Campbell and Angus MacKay each transcribed PS 4 and PS 107, calling one An Ribean Gorm and the other Port na Srian but with the titles switched about.

      Allan MacDonald and Barnaby Brown discuss the Gaelic titles of PS 107

Roderick Cannon (2009), rev. Barnaby Brown 2015

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