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Renée Fleming Sings “Danny Boy”

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Acclaimed opera soprano Renée Fleming sings “Danny Boy,” a song dear to Irish Americans, at the American Voices Concert at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. The performance was part of the weekend-long American Voices festival that Fleming produced and led.

The folk ballad “Danny Boy” was written in 1910 by English lawyer Frederic Weatherly. After he heard the rhythm of “”Londonderry Air,” he set “Danny Boy’s” lyrics to that tune.

The lyrics are at times altered, but an historic version is the following.

Oh, Danny Boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling
From glen to glen, and down the mountain side.
The summer’s gone, and all the roses falling,
It’s you, it’s you must go and I must bide.
But come ye back when summer’s in the meadow,
Or when the valley’s hushed and white with snow,
It’s I’ll be here in sunshine or in shadow,—
Oh, Danny Boy, oh Danny Boy, I love you so!

But when ye come, and all the flowers are dying,
If I am dead, as dead I well may be,
Ye’ll come and find the place where I am lying,
And kneel and say an Ave there for me.
And I shall hear, though soft you tread above me,
And all my grave will warmer, sweeter be,
For you will bend and tell me that you love me,
And I shall sleep in peace until you come to me!

The special documentary American Voices with Renée Fleming will air on THIRTEEN’S Great Performances Friday, January 9, 2015 at 9 p.m. (Check local listings.)