Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I's the B'y sheetmusic and lyrics in G

This evening I thought I'd post some music for I's the B'y, a song we taught way back before the blog got started.  The song's author is unknown, and may be a re-writing of an older ballad, but in it's most recent form, it originates in Newfoundland.  For more info and all the verses, click here.

Each chord gets 3 beats.  The chords for it are:


The melody is the top line:

The words vary widely depending on whose version you sing.  Here's the version we have sung:

I's the B'y who builds the boat
I's the B'y who sails her
I's the B'y who catches the fish
and brings 'em home to Liza

I took Liza to the dance
Faith but she could travel
Every step that Liza took
Covered an acre of gravel

From the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada - We are told that although the song may have originated in the 1870s, probably in a Newfoundland fishing village, interest in I's The B'y did not spread outside Newfoundland until after the song was heard and transcribed by two researchers interested in Newfoundland's folk traditions, Kenneth Peacock and Gerald S. Doyle. Its melody and lyrics were transmitted throughout Canada in the songbook Folk Songs of Canada by Edith Fowke and Richard Johnston (1954), relying on Peacock's transcription. Teachers and students outside Newfoundland were eager to learn about the music of the newest province, which had joined Canada a mere five years earlier, and I's the B'y quickly became a favourite of classrooms and choirs across the country.


  1. I'm new to the island and was curious about your group sessions. I just strum a few chords on my guitar. What is the skill level requirement? Should I just come by and strum in the background?

  2. Thanks for looking us up Dylan! We are actually just finishing our fall session today with a concert at the Vashon Community Care Center, but we'll start up again in January, and you are welcome to come join in! Every Tusday, 3:30pm up at the Roastery meeting room. Skill level is basic beginner through professional musicians, come try it out and see what you think - we always have fun :) If you sign up for the email updates (see the top right corner of the blog), I'll send out a note before our first session in January. Hope to see you then!