MUSHA RINGUM DURAM DA? What do it mean??

I’m sure it’s been asked here before but of course a search yields nothing.

What is the translation of “MUSHA RINGUM DURAM DA” as it is sung in the traditional Irish/appalachian tune “Whiskey in the Jar?”

I guess this question presupposes that there is a translation. I wondered if it was some sort of misinterpretation of actual Gaelic.

Oh yeah, and what about the whole “Whack fol da daddy-o?”

Check out this looooong page .

And that’s just a little bit :smiley:

Yeah I saw that long winded post. Just wondering if there was any validity to it. That’s the only thing I’ve ever found that even gave a possibility of the meaning. Most sites say it means nothing at all. Shoot.

It’s not uncommon for folk songs to have parts that don’t fit all that well logically. Like “The Coo Coo Bird” has a verse about a bird, a couple of verses about a woman, a couple of verses about gambling. The verses usually sung to “Soldier’s Joy” are the same way.

There is an Irish tune called “Whiskey in the Jar” (my old standby The Fiddler’s Companion lists a G major reel with that title); my guess is that at some point words got set to it, and some of the words floated away and got attached to another song entirely, in this case an old ballad about a highwayman, and then that song passed through enough non-Irish-speaking ears and throats so that the Irish part got hopelessly mangled. The song that’s sometimes titled “Whiskey You’re the Devil” also has the “whiskey in the jar” line without the musha-ringa stuff but with a lot of skiddly-idle stuff. Do a Google search on the meaning of the chorus of “Iko Iko”/“Jock-o-Mo” and you realize that once a song in another language gets corrupted it’s hard to wind back the tape. It even happens to songs in English (look at the lyrics for most bluegrass versions of “Wildwood Flower” for an example).