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People and Places - Baase Illiam Dhone: Mona Douglas

Published on 30 Dec 2017

A visual poem for Mona Douglas' singing of 'Baase Illiam Dhone', one of the Isle of Man's most important traditional songs.

Illiam Dhone was a Manx National hero who was executed on 2 January 1663 for his role in steering the Isle of Man away from the carnage of the English Civil War. One of the oldest traditional songs in the Manx musical tradition is 'Baase Illiam Dhone' ('Brown William's Death' in Manx Gaelic) which recounts the life and execution of the martyr (whose real name was William Christian).

A constant feature in the song is the haunting repeated refrain at the end of each verse:

As dty vaase, Illiam Dhone, te brishey nyn gree!
(And thy death, Illiam Dhone, 'tis that breaks our heart!)

The song is performed here by Mona Douglas, one of the most important figures in Manx cultural history. Her voice has rarely been heard since her death in 1987, but we are very pleased to be working on a reel-to-reel audio recording she made 1968. We hope to release the full recording of this in the near future.

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