> Folk Music > Songs > Killiecrankie


[ Roud 8187 ; Ballad Index MBra173 ; Bodleian Roud 8187 ; DT KILCRANK ; Mudcat 28904 ; Robert Burns]

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Jean Redpath sang Killiecrankie in 1986 on her Philo album Lowlands and in 1987 on her Philo anthology The Songs of Robert Burns Volume 6 where Serge and Esther Hovey noted:

Tune: An’ Ye Had Been Whare i Hae Been

Burns sent his lyrics for this ancient pipe tune to the editor, James Johnson, for publication in The Scots Musical Museum, with the letter ‘Z’ clearly visible at the end of the last verse. Ethnomusicologists may enjoy this candid remark made by Burns in a letter quoted in R.H. Cromek’s Select Scotish Songs (1810):

The songs marked Z in the Museum, I have given to the world as old verses to their respective tunes; but, in fact, of a good many of them little more than the chorus is ancient, though there is no reason for telling everybody this piece of intelligence.

On 27 July 1689, Highland clans, led by Viscount Dundee (Graham of Claverhouse) fought and won the battle of Killiecrankie. It was on this wild mountain pass, surrounded by roaring waterfalls, that Lord Dundee lost his life. In August 1787, Burns and his good friend Willie Nicol stood together by a stone that marked the spot where Dundee fell.

James McMenemy sang Killiecrankie in 1998 on the Linn anthology The Complete Songs of Robert Burns Volume 5. He also sang it in 2000 on the Breton band Kornog’s Green Linnet album Korong.

Chantan, with Corrina Hewat in lead, sang The Braes o’ Killiecrankie O in 1998 on their Culburnie CD Primary Colours. They noted:

A song about one of the earlier Jacobite rebellions. The Battle of Killiecrankie was fought in 1689 as part of the Scots’ rebellion against William of Orange who had replaced his father-in-law James VII and II as King. It is notable for the death of Claverhouse and the bravery of the participants.

Jim Malcolm sang Killiecrankie on his 2007 album of songs of Robert Burns, Acquaintance. He noted:

This is the song I was most tentative about recording as it has been so murdered by generations of kilt and sweatered throwbacks. But as the battle happened not too far upstream from Perth I have always had a soft spot for the song. I wanted to have the sounds of battle going on during the solo but my plan to nick it from the soundtrack of a film was dished when I discovered that all battle scenes have noisy, Waqner-esque music going through them—doleful viola rescued me from such folly—closer to ‘kill a krankie’ than I do.

Johnny Campbell sang Braes of Killiecrankie on his 2014 EP Robbie Burns (Volume 1).


Jean Redpath sings Killiecrankie

Whare hae ye been sae braw, lad?
Whare hae ye been sae brankie O?
Whare hae ye been sae braw, lad?
Cam ye by Killiecrankie O?

Chorus (after each verse):
An ye had been whare I hae been,
Ye wad na been sae cantie O;
An ye had seen what I hae seen,
I’ th’ braes o’ Killiecrankie O?

I faught at land, I faught at sea.
At hame I faught my auntie O;
But I met the Devil and Dundee
On the braes o’ Killiecrankie O.

The bauld Pitcur fell in furr,
An’ Clavers gat a clankie O;
Or I had fed an Athole Gled
On th’ braes o’ Killiecrankiex O.

Chantan sing The Braes o’ Killiecrankie O

Whaur hae ye been sae braw, lad?
Whaur hae ye been sae cantie O?
Whaur hae ye been sae braw, lad,
On the braes o’ Killiecrankie O?

Chorus (after each verse):
An’ ye hae been whaur I hae been
Ye wadna be sae brankie O,
An’ ye had see what I hae seen
On the braes o’ Killiecrankie O.

I fought on land, I fought at sea,
At home I fought my auntie O,
But I met the Devil and Dundee
On the braes o’ Killiecrankie O.

The bold Pitcur fell in a furt
An’ Clavers got a clankie O,
Or I had fed an Athole gled
On the braes o’ Killiecrankie O.

O fie Mackay, what gart ye lie
In the bush ayont the brankie O,
Ye’d better kiss’d King Willie’s loof
Than come by Killiecrankie O.

It’s nae shame, it’s nae shame
It’s nae shame tae shank ye O,
There’s soor slaes on Athole braes
And De’il’s at Killiecrankie O.