These Islands

by Albion

  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    A new collection of the music of these islands, the timeless songs and words that make up the rich musical tradition of Britain and Ireland, in beautiful new choral settings.

    The fifteen tracks of 'These Islands' represent some of the most popular pieces from the group’s formative years. Twelve unaccompanied voices are joined by piano on three tracks including Greensleeves, a medieval love song reputedly composed by King Henry VIII.

    Amongst the British and Irish songs reclothed in lush choral harmonies are Scarborough Fair, Loch Lomond, Jerusalem, and Danny Boy. They are combined with Fraser Wilson’s beautiful new settings of text including WB Yeats’ 'He wishes for the cloths of heaven' and Robert Burns’ 'My love is like a red rose'.

    These Islands is a distinctive choral compilation from a group that cannot be categorised, and represents a unique and gladdening contribution to a rich musical tradition.

    Includes unlimited streaming of These Islands via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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  • Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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      £6 GBP  or more




To hear and download the bonus tracks, which all appear on the CD, you'll need to buy either version listed above. Whether you buy the digital or CD version, you get to download these tracks to your computer straight away.


released March 1, 2014

sung by ALBION
all music arranged / composed by Fraser Wilson (C) 2014
engineered by Nick Cox @ Sounds Like Screaming
produced by Stewart Campbell
mastered by Paul Baily @ ReSound Ltd





The music of "these islands" - folksongs, madrigals, chant, and anthems from the British Isles (and beyond) - reimagined through new arrangements and compositions in the unique choral sound of Albion.

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Track Name: The Skye Boat Song
Text & melody: traditional Scottish

Speed, bonnie boat, like a bird on the wing,
Onward! the sailors cry;
Carry the lad that's born to be King
Over the sea to Skye.

Loud the winds howl, loud the waves roar,
Thunderclouds rend the air;
Baffled, our foes stand by the shore,
Follow they will not dare.

Though the waves leap, soft shall ye sleep,
Ocean's a royal bed.
Rocked in the deep, Flora will keep
Watch by your weary head.

Many's the lad fought on that day,
Well the Claymore could wield,
When the night came, silently lay
Dead in Culloden's field.

Burned are their homes, exile and death
Scatter the loyal men;
Yet ere the sword cool in the sheath
Charlie will come again.
Track Name: God be in my head
Words: Sarum Primer (1558)

God be in my head, and in my understanding;
God be in mine eyes, and in my looking;
God be in my mouth, and in my speaking;
God be in my heart, and in my thinking;
God be at mine end, and at my departing.
Track Name: Scarborough Fair
Text & melody: Traditional Yorkshire

Are you going to Scarborough Fair?
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme,
Remember me to one who lives there,
She once was a true love of mine.

Ask her to make me a cambric shirt,
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme,
Without any seam nor needle work,
Then she'll be a true love of mine.

Tell him to find me an acre of land,
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme,
Between the salt water and the sea sand,
Then he'll be a true love of mine.
Track Name: The month of maying
Text: ?Orazio Vecchi (1590)

Now is the month of maying, fa la la la,
When merry lads are playing, fa la la la,
Each with his bonny lass, fa la la la,
Upon the greeny grass. Fa la la la.

The Spring, clad all in gladness,
Doth laugh at Winter's sadness,
And to the bagpipe's sound
The nymphs tread out their ground.

Fie then! why sit we musing,
Youth's sweet delight refusing?
Say, dainty nymphs, and speak,
Shall we play at barley-break?
Track Name: Wishes
Text: William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
Track Name: Greensleeves
Text & melody: traditional English, probably Elizabethan

Alas, my love, you do me wrong,
To cast me off discourteously.
For I have loved you for so long,
Delighting in your company.

Greensleeves was all my joy
Greensleeves was my delight,
Greensleeves was my heart of gold,
And who but my lady Greensleeves.

I have been ready at your hand,
To grant whatever you wouldst crave;
I have both wagered life and land,
Your love and good-will for to have.

Greensleeves, now farewell, adieu,
God I pray to prosper thee,
For I am still thy lover true,
Come once again and love me.
Track Name: Jerusalem
Text: William Blake (1757-1827)
Melody: Hubert Parry (1848-1918)

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England’s mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England’s pleasant pastures seen?
And did the Countenance Divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here,
Among these dark Satanic Mills?

Bring me my Bow of burning gold;
Bring me my Arrows of desire:
Bring me my Spear: O clouds unfold!
Bring me my Chariot of fire!
I will not cease from Mental Fight,
Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand:
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green & pleasant Land.
Track Name: My love is like a red rose
Text: Robert Burns (1759-1796)

My love is like a red red rose
that's newly sprung in June:
my love is like the melodie
that's sweetly play'd in tune.

So fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
so deep in love am I:
and I will love thee still, my dear,
till a' the seas gang dry.

Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear,
and the rocks melt wi' the sun:
and I will love thee still, my dear,
while the sands o' life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only love,
And fare thee weel awhile!
And I will come again, my love,
tho' it were ten thousand mile.
Track Name: Come live with me
Text: Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593), The Passionate Shepherd to His Love

Come live with me and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That hill and valley, dale and field,
And all the craggy mountains yield.

There we will sit upon the rocks,
And see the shepherds feed their flocks,
By shallow rivers to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.

A gown made of the finest wool
Which from our pretty lambs we pull;
Fair lined slippers for the cold,
With buckles of the purest gold;

Thy silver dishes for thy meat,
As precious as the gods do eat,
Shall on an ivory table be
Prepared each day for thee and me.

The shepherds' swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May morning:
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and be my love.
Track Name: Slán agus beannacht leat - A Gaelic Blessing
Text: Traditional Scots Gaelic prayer, trans. Alexander Carmichael (1832-1912), Carmina Gadelica

Bless to me O God the earth beneath my foot,
Bless to me O God the path whereon I go,
Bless to me O God the thing of my desire;
Thou evermore of evermore.
Slán agus beannacht leat.
[Goodbye, and blessings be with you.]

The eye of the great God,
The eye of the God of glory,
The eye of the King of hosts,
The eye of the King of the living,

Pouring upon us at each season,
Glory to thee thou glorious Sun,
Face of the God of life.

Bless to me the thing whereon is set my mind,
Bless to me the thing whereon in set my love,
Bless to me the thing whereon is set my hope;
O thou King of Kings.

She of my love is the new moon,
The King of all creatures blessing her:
Be mine a good purpose
Towards each creature of creation.

Holy be each thing which she illumines,
Kindly be each deed which she reveals:
Be her guidance on land with all beset ones,
Be her guidance on sea with all distressed ones.

May the moon of moons be coming through thick clouds
On me and every mortal who is coming through affliction.
May the virgin of my love be coming through thick clouds
To me and to all in tribulation.

May the King of grace help my hand,
Now and for evermore;
Until my resurrection day.

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