Please join me in the kitchen for a song and an old Irish proverb to bless the coming new year. May your home be graced with the sound of crickets on this Christmas day!
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THIS MONTH’S MUSIC: “The Cricket (Piper of the Hearth)”
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In the back yard, Dedham, MA
News: Everyone should have “Apples & Cheese!”
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This Month’s Music: “The Cricket (Piper of the Hearth)”
“The Cricket (Piper of the Hearth)” © 1982 Tom Smith (ASCAP)
“Píobairí Teallaigh” old Irish proverb, Traditional
Lyrics in the comments below.
In 1982 I taught middle school math and science. That is when I first heard of a cricket referred to by the Irish phrase “piper of the hearth”. It must have been in the back of my mind while I struggled to make the deadline to correct my students’ final exams. That is when the lovely music of a cricket distracted me. He (I understand only male crickets chirp) hid in the wood pile next to our fireplace. I had never actually seen a cricket chirp, so I put aside my red pencil and spent the next hour looking for this sweet “piper of the hearth”. He would stop making his sounds when I hunted, but as soon as I tried to go back to correcting exams, he’d start up again. Breeeep! Breeeep! I eventually gave up looking and used my red pencil to write this song. Oh, and I did make my exam correcting deadline, but it was a late night for this tired teacher.
Years later I sang “The Cricket” song for my good friend, Dr. Kate Chadbourne – singer, storyteller, poet, harper, teacher, and Celtic languages scholar. Kate has a vast knowledge of such things and (in Gaelic) she shared the old Irish proverb of the píobairí teallaigh with me.
- Tuar maith don athbhliain na píobairí teallaigh a chloisteáil Lá Nollaig
Translation: “It is a good sign for the New Year to hear the pipers of the hearth (the crickets) on Christmas Day.”
On all Christmas’ since Kate first shared it with me, I hear this proverb in my heart. With Kate’s help, I approximate her beautiful Gaelic in this video. We don’t have a definitive source for this proverb. That mystery appeals to me though, as I take it as meaning it has always been there.
At no time have we ever needed the blessing of the píobairí teallaigh more than we do now as we complete 2020 and look ahead to 2021. As the winter solstice marks the lengthening of daylight, may the music of crickets grace your house and bring a blessed new year!”
(If so inclined, I invite you to leave a comment by scrolling to the end of this page.)
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