Kathleen Ferrier – Ca` the Yowes

There are traditional songs that can restore to me a sense of  centeredness, calm – even gratefulness in stressful times such as these. The Scottish traditional song  Ca` the Yowes is one of these. The words are by Rabbie Burns. The voice belongs to the legendary Kathleen Ferrier.

1789 lyrics Robert Burns
Ca’ the yowes to the knowes,
Ca’ them where the heather grows
Ca’ them where the burnie rows,
My bonie dearie.

Hark! the mavis’ evening sang
Sounding Cluden’s woods amang,
Then a-fauldin let us gang,
My bonie dearie.

We’ll gae down by Cluden side,
Thro’ the hazels spreading wide,
O’er the waves that sweetly glide
To the moon sae clearly.

Fair and lovely as thou art,
Thou hast stown my very heart;
I can die—but canna part,
My bonie dearie.

Ca’ the yowes to the knowes,
Ca’ them where the heather grows
Ca’ them where the burnie rows,
My bonie dearie.



Kathleen Ferrier

“The greatest thing in music in my life has been to know Kathleen Ferrier and Gustav Mahler – in that order.” That’s what the conductor Bruno Walter wrote after Ferrier’s death from breast cancer in 1953, at the age of just 41.

[Wikipedia] Kathleen Mary Ferrier was an English contralto singer who achieved an international reputation as a stage, concert and recording artist, with a repertoire extending from folksong and popular ballads to the classical works of Bach, Brahms, Mahler and Elgar.

Her death from cancer, at the height of her fame, was a shock to the musical world and particularly to the general public, which was kept in ignorance of the nature of her illness until after her death.

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2 thoughts on “Kathleen Ferrier – Ca` the Yowes

  1. That’s a good Ca, err “call” on your part, Ian. The lyrics were pulled from a Burns website which used the old Scot spellings (sae, gae, etc.). I prefer “bonnie” as well. Except of course when John Lennon sang “Bonie Maronie” – THE HOBBLEDEHOY

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