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Clannad lyrics: “A Quiet Town”

In 2013, Clannad (one of my favourite bands) came out with their newest album, Nádúr, and after seven years, it appears that still no one has taken the trouble to transcribe the lyrics of these songs and to make them available online. I did this song just now, and I thought I would share it here for anyone who may be searching the web for just that.

A Quiet Town

Riveira is an old fishing town
The Christians came here long ago
And they worked and toiled with love and devotion

And when the Moors, they came across the sea
They plundered with fear and ferocity;
It kept its beauty and its tranquility.

I saw the full moon rising behind me
Shining waves on the ocean

As I look around the hills above the town
A vision of the same starry sky
And they landed boats along the sandy shorelines

[Irish lyrics]

Ha visto la luna tras las colinas
Bailando feliz en la noche

Now, as far as the subject of the song, my best guess is that it refers to the town of Riveira (Ribeira in Galician), in Galicia, Spain. Wikipedia confirms that the town was subjected to raids by the Saracens from the 11th to 18th centuries (not to mention Vikings and pirates), so that seems to match the song.

Unfortunately I don’t speak Irish, so if anyone can take a gander at transcribing that part of the song, please let me know. My guess is that it has something to do with the moon.

As for the Spanish, let me just say I was surprised to hear Clannad singing in Spanish, but they did well with the pronunciation—the lyric is just a bit odd, and I imagine they meant to sing He visto instead of Ha visto.

I can’t help but wonder, of all the small fishing villages in Europe, why did they write a song about this one? Maybe one of the Clannad clan visited there on vacation and was struck by its “beauty and tranquility.” At any rate, it’s a nice little song.

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