MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
Psalm 23
Alex MacKinnon and others CB 1 Tape 4 Track 2
Lake Ainslie Audio:
Psalm Precenting


Is e Dia fèin as buachaill dhomh
Cha bhi mi ann an dìth

[From here each line is sung twice]

Bheir e fanear gu luidhinn sios
Air cluainibh glas le sìth

Is fòs ri taobh nan àimhnichean
Theid seachad sios gu mall
A tà e ga mo threòrachadh
Gu mìn rèidh anns gach ball.


The Lord's my shepherd I shall not want
He makes me down to lie

[From here all lines are sung twice]

In pastures green he leadeth me
The quiet waters by.

My soul he doth restore again
And me to walk doth make.
Within the paths of righteousness
E'en for His own name's sake.


The first two verses of the twenty-third Psalm are precented here. The tune used here and most often associated with this psalm is “Martyrdom,” composed by Scottish precentor Hugh Wilson, around the year 1800.

In her notes on the Leach collection, folklorist Margaret Bennet writes that the precenting heard on this recording “…is as one might hear Psalm singing in any Gaelic Presbyterian church in Scotland.” An interesting aspect of this particular performance is the occasional use of harmony. While members of a congregation each embellish the lines of psalms differently, harmonization is not a feature of psalm singing.

Accompanying Alex MacKinnon on this recording are Hector, Mrs. Hector MacKinnon and "Johnny."

All material on this webpage is copyright © 2004, Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive, Memorial University of Newfoundland. No unauthorized copying or use is permitted. For more information, follow this link.