Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Gills and Pills




The small town of Siglufjörður was once the capital of Iceland's herring industry. No wonder that at last Saturday's  Kvæðamannamót - a raucous performance of traditional song and verse by rimurs from all over the country - many of the works were about fishing. 


There was even one song in English ...




The Herring Song


The herring is the king of the sea

The herring is the fish for me

The herring is the king of the sea

Sing fol the do or die


Oh what'll we do with the herring's eyes?

We'll make them into puddings and pies

We'll make them into puddings and pies

And all sorts of things.
Herring's eyes, puddings and pies

And all sorts of things.


The herring is the king of the sea …


Oh what'll we do with the herring's heads?

We'll make them into loaves of bread

We'll make them into loaves of bread

And all sorts of things.

Herring's heads, loaves of bread

Herring's eyes, puddings and pies

And all sorts of things.




Oh, what'll we do with the herring’s gills?

We’ll make ’em into physical pills ...


Oh what'll we do with the herring's backs?

We'll make them into laddies and jacks…


Oh what'll we do with the herring's fins?

We'll make them all into needles and pins…


Oh what'll we do with the herring's tail?
We'll make a ship with a beautiful sail

We'll make a ship with a beautiful sail

And all sorts of things.
Herring's tails, ships with sails
Herring's fins, needles and pins

Herring’s gills, physical pills
Herring's backs, laddies and jacks

Herring's heads, loaves of bread

Herring's eyes, puddings and pies

And all sorts of things.


With thanks to the Herring Era Museum for the photographs of Siglufjörður  fisherfolk.

2 comments:

David C Kendall said...

Wonderful post..thank you! We've been familiar with the herring song in San Diego for some time now. My friend Jaeff discovered it somewhere in London and brought it back. I now live in Paris and am planning to record it again. I enjoyed reading your different version. I hope you enjoy mine. Cheers!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ZDSvFWvD-M

NANCY CAMPBELL said...

Hi David
Thanks for the link, a great version to dance to! I'm listening right now and my toes are tapping...
Glad you enjoyed the post.
Nancy