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The Bodhrán Song

(Words and Music: Brian O'Rourke, copyright Camus Productions; Produced by Brendan Nolan)


Key of E; Guitar, Capo 2nd fret, D; Tuning: EBGDAD

This is a wonderful tongue in cheek ditty by Galway writer Brian O'Rourke, about a goat whose sole ambition in life is to become an Irish drum. Brian has written and recorded several comedic and satirical songs. I learned this one from Jim Flanagan of Ballyvourney in West Cork. The tune appeared on his album "Blood Drops In The Snow." Jim is a great singer and collector of songs. This is in between his main gig as an associate professor in the Dept of Anthropology at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, MS.

I am a year-old kid
I’m worth scarcely fifteen quid
I’m the kind of beast
You might well look down on
But my value will increase
At the time of my decease
For when I grow up
I’m going to be a bodhrán

If you kill me for my meat
You won’t find me sweet
Your pallet I’m afraid
I’ll soon turn sour on
But if you do me in
For the sake of my thick skin
You’ll find I make
A dandy little bodhrán

Now my parents Bill and Nan
They do not approve my plan
To become a yoke
For every yob to pound on
But I would sooner scamper
With a bang than with a whimper
And achieve reincarnation
As a bodhrán

I look forward to the day
When I leave off eating hay
And become a drum
To entertain the crowd on
And I’ll make my presence felt
With each well delivered belt
As a fully qualified
And licensed bodhrán

For tis when I’m killed and cured
My career will be assured
And I’ll be a skin
You’ll see no scum nor scour on
But with studs around my rim
I’ll be sound in wind and limb
And I’ll make a handy dandy
Little bodhrán

Oh my heart with joy expands
When I dream of far off lands
And consider all the streets
That I will sound on
And I pity my poor Ma
Who has never seen a fleadh
Or indulged in foreign travel
As a bodhrán

For a hornpipe or a reel
A dead donkey has no feel
Or a horse, a cow, or a sheep
With it’s shroud on
And you can’t join a jig
If you’re a former grade A pig
But you can wallop out the lot
If you’re a bodhrán

So if e’er you’re feeling low
To a session you should go
And take me there
To exercise an hour on
you can strike a mighty thump
On my belly, back, or rump
But I’ll thank you if you’ll wait
Till I’m a bodhrán

Now a cat’s lives they are nine
But they’re not very fine
And a dog might become
A bow wow wow rán!
But tis when you are a goat
You can strike a merry note
Just as long as you become
An Irish bodhrán

For when I dedicate my hide
I’ll enhance the family pride
And tradition is a thing
I won’t fall down on
For I’ll bear a few young bucks
Who’ll inherit my good looks
And be proud to say their father
Is a bodhrán

Now I think you’ve had enough
Of this rubbishy oul stuff
So I’ll put a sudden end
To my wee amhrán
And quite soon my oul bleat
Will become a steady beat
As I start my new existence
As a bodhrán

bodhrán: Irish goat-skin drum
fleadh: Irish music festival
amhrán: song