PS 245 – Lament for the Son of the King of Aros

      Cumha Mhic Rìgh Arois

Primary Sources

Caugh Vic Righ Aro G.14: 32

Notes on Gaelic Title

Cumha Mhic Rìgh Arois Caugh Vic Righ Aro G; Lamentation (Vic Righ Aro) Alias the Son of King Aro GN. Lament for the son of the King of Aros. The tune is a variant of the well known Cumha Mhic an Tòisich (PS 200), otherwise Cumha Mhic a’ h-Arasaig. The name Cumha Fear Arais – ‘the elegy of the Chief of Arois’ – is mentioned by MacAlpine (1832), under the word cumha, but evidently in the sense of a song or poem, not an instrumental piece. MacLeod of Gesto stated (Gesto Notes) that he could not identify the King, or the place called Aros, but that his informant John MacCrimmon connected the tune with ‘the death of one of the first chiefs of MacIntosh in battle’. The connection is also made in the title of a set of words ‘Cumha Mhic a arois / no Cumha Mhic-an-Tòisich’ (‘Abrach’ [i.e. Donald C. MacPherson], ‘Ceol nan Gaidheal’, An Gaidheal, ceud mios an Fhogharaidh [1873], pp 116-169: 168). Cf also A.D. Fraser, Some reminiscences and the bagpipe. Edinburgh (1907, p. 144), mentioning a song “ ‘Cumha Fear Aros’, a lament for the Laird of Aros… resembling somewhat the MacIntosh’s Lament…”. For texts and traditions see A.M. MacDonald, The relationship between pibroch and Gaelic song: its implications on the performance style of the pibroch ùrlar. MLitt Thesis, Edinburgh University (1995), pp. 122-162; and R. Black, The Gaelic Otherworld. Birlinn, Edinburgh (2008), p 365 note 357. MacDonald discusses (p. 159) the place-name Aros in Mull, and remarks that aros is also used in Gaelic for an important dwelling – cf Dwelly, àros. Black argues that the underlying name is Mac Fir Àrois.

Roderick Cannon (2009)

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