Joan McGovern

Joan McGovern

 Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
BandPopChildren's Music

Joan McGovern translates Irish folk tales into delightful original songs for the young and old. Whether she is strumming the guitar, beating the bodhran, or using puppets, Joan gets her audience involved with movement or singing along. Joan sings her songs at festivals, schools, libraries, nursing homes-wherever there are people who are young at heart. Joan McGovern studied singing with Maití Joe Shéamuis and Daryl Simpson, and she has received awards for Irish singing and poetry.


Wisconsin Highland Games, Waukesha Expo Center
Sat. Sept. 3: Tea Room (1:00, 4:00)
Sun. Sept. 4: Tea Room (1:00, 4:00)
Settlers Weekend, 84th and National, West Allis
Sat. Aug. 27: Children's Area (1:00)
Sun. Aug. 28: Children's Area (1:00)
Irish Fest, Milwaukee
Sun. Aug. 12: Cultural Village (11:00-3:00)
MadCelt Fest, Madison
Sat. Sept. 18: Children's Area (12:30)
Half Saint Paddy's Day Celebration with Derek Byrne and the Kinsella Irish Dancers
Fri. Sept. 17: Mary Queen of Saints, West Allis (6:00-9:00)
Irish Fest, Milwaukee
Sat. Aug. 21: Children's Area (2 performances)
Sun. Aug. 22: Children's Stage (4:30)
Irish Fest, Oshkosh
Sat. June 12: Cultural Tent (12:30)
April 23, 2010-Mary Queen of Saints, West Allis-3 performances (High Interest Day)
March 17, 2010-Mary Queen of Saints, West Allis-2 performances (St. Patrick's Day)

What people have said about Joan's music:

"Joan's performance was well liked by those in attendance. Joan was very accomodating and easy to work with. I hope she is able to participate in our festival in future years and I have no hesitation recommending her for any other event." Jeff Propson, Oshkosh Irish Fest Cultural Activities Chairman
"(Joan McGovern's) music told stories about the hardships in Ireland and its history. Joan would be a wonderful asset for mature and young audiences alike." Renee Hicks, 3K teacher
"I enjoyed your CD very much. You have a very 'distinct' style voice." John Cullinane, Cobh, Ireland
"We love your CD." David and June Mills, Belfast, Northern Ireland
"Your songs are really beautiful. 'River Lee' is a truly unique song." John Harling, Irish Music Adjudicator
"The kids talked about the Irish songs after the performance, and they said they'd like to hear them again." Kristin Rindt, 1st grade teacher
"Even though many of my students were tired, Joan kept their attention with her upbeat songs and the use of her guitar and Bodhran. My students really enjoyed listening to her music and so did I! I would highly recommend her to perform to others-children or adults!" Colleen Schwarz, 4K teacher
"I like 'In Again Finnegan'!" 6th grade boy
"You are a great singer!" 5th grade girl

Mary Queen of Saints Catholic Academy, Colleen Schwarz, 1435 S 92nd St, West Allis WI 53214, (414) 476-0751,
Butler Public Library, Gail Duernberger, 12808 W Hampton Ave, Butler WI 53007-1705, (262) 783-2535,
West Allis Settlers Weekend, Karen Mikolajewski, 1325 S 103rd St, West Allis WI 53214, (414) 257-0189,


To a Mousie

Written By: Robert Burns, rewritten by Joan McGovern

Wee, crafty, cow'ring, fearful beastie,
O, what a panic's in your breastie!
You need not start away so hasty
With bickering chatter!
I would never run and chase thee,
With murdering plow.
I'm truly sorry man's dominion
Has broken Nature's social union,
And justifies that ill opinion
Which makes you startle at me,
thy poor, earth born companion
And fellow mortal!
I doubt not sometimes you may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, you must live!
The odd ear in twenty four sheaves
Is a small request;
I'll get a blessing with the rest,
And never miss it.
Your wee-bit housie, too, in ruin!
It's frail walls the winds are strewing!
And no grass, now, to build a new one,
And bleak December's winds ensuing,
Both bitter and keen!
You saw the fields laid bare an' waste,
And weary winter coming fast,
And cozie here, beneath the blast,
You thought to dwell,
Till crash! the cruel plow passed out
Thro' thy cell.
That wee bit heap of leaves and stibble,
Has cost you many a weary nibble!
Now you’re turned out, for all your trouble, to endure the
Winter's sleety dribble,
And hoar-frost cold.

But Mousie, you’re not alone,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid plans of mice an' men
Often go astray,
And leave nothing but grief and pain,
For promised joy!
Still you are blest, compared with me!
Only the present touches thee:
But oh! I backward cast my eye,
On prospects drear!
And forward, tho' I cannot see,
I guess and fear!

River Lee

Written By: Joan McGovern

River, River Lee. Hi-di-di-di-di-di- di.
River, River Lee. Hi-di-di-di-di-di- di.

Verse 1.
We lived on the bank of the River Lee, formed by a serpent forced to flee
When St. Finbar sent him down, and saved the people and the town.
Well, that old serpent ate the ground with holy water sprinkled around.
And he ate so hungrily he carved a path to the open sea.

River, River Lee. Please won’t you carry me down.
River, River lee. Down to the port at Queenstown.

Verse 2.
Now my Kyle was a diamond in the rough, yet he had the gentle touch.
More in love we could not be, there on the bank of the River Lee.
But then one day, we knew not why, all our potato plants had died.
Nothing to eat for days and days, Kylie had to sail away.

River, River Lee. Please won’t you carry me down.
River, River lee. Down to the port at Queenstown.

Verse 3.
I can still remember that dreadful dawn-one last kiss and he was gone.
I just stood there shivering, there on the bank of the River Lee.
And now a year has come and gone, still no letter, not even one.
Oh St. Finbar, I rue the day the river took my Kyle away.

River, Oh di-di-di-di-di-di.
River, River Lee. Please won’t you carry me-far to the open sea.

An Irish Blessing

Written By: Joan McGovern

Our ways have parted, the miles come be-tween us.
Oh but still we can laugh, we can laugh, we can laugh,
And still we can play, we can play, we can play to-gether.

We travel our own road, some miles long and weary.
Oh but still we can dance, we can dance, we can dance,
And still we can sing, we can sing, we can sing to-gether.

But when we part:

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.

So, we must part, but ‘til we meet a-gain,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Yes, may God hold you in the palm of His hand,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

In Again Finnegan

Written By: Joan McGovern

Out again, in again, out again, Finnegan. Scratch on the chin, lookin’ three sheets to the wind again.
Out again, in again, my little Finnegan. Confess your sin again, where have you been?

Been to the corner store, thought we could use some more cream, after all it was getting quite low.
So I slipped on the floor, now my poor chin is sore. Do you need any more? Will you open the door?

Do you think? Well then think again! Wanting to drink again? Nose looking pink again, ask me to wink again?
Out again, in again, my little Finnegan. Confess your sin again, where have you been?

Maybe a little time for just a little pint-had to make sure my old Tommy McKitty was fine.
We saw some birds and Tom started to purr. I said “I must go”, but that rumpled his fur!

“Started to purr” you say? “Rumpled his fur” you say? You couldn’t find your way back from the alleyway?
Out again, in again, my little Finnegan. Confess your sin again, where have you been?

Now I will clue you in how it has truly been, where old Tom drew me in where he would do me in!
Just like a soldier he swatted my shoulder, my tail, then the rogue threw me out in the cold!

You start it every night, another two-cat fight! You are a sorry sight, you better make it right!
Out again, in again, my little Finnegan. Confess your sin again, where have you been?

Quit with the naggin’ and “look what the cat dragged in”, call me a pagan: I feel like a rag!
OK, it’s all my fault, friskin’ around about. Never again will I ever go out!

OK, you win again; get your paws in again. Whiskers are thin again-poor little Finnegan!
Fault is not Finnegan, only the cream. So then curl by the fire again-Where have you been?

The White Trout

Written By: Joan McGovern

A fair lady who lived in a castle was to marry a kind and loving prince,
But he was killed and thrown into the water, and never was seen, ever since (the more’s the pity!).
The lady went crazy, and the fairies took her away, for tenderhearted was she (like the rest of us!),
And, for the first time, in the lake by the castle, a snow white trout the people did see (God bless it!).

The villagers thought it was a fairy so no one would eat the lovely fish (aye, troth!).
But a wicked man came and he caught it, and said, "This trout will be a tasty dish" (bad luck to him! God forgive me for sayin’ it).
But the trout could not be cooked at all, so that man cut into it hard (for sure sir, he was a desperate villain entirely!).
Suddenly the trout was the fair lady, but with blood streaming down her white arm. She said,

"In the lake, I've been waiting for my prince for years. If I missed him I'll haunt you all your life!
So be kind and return me to the water, and forever put away your cruel knife."
So, gently he slipped the trout into the lake, for he now is a kind and loving man,
Just the same as the lady's dead prince was, and he helps out whenever he can.

Clever Tom and the Leprechaun

Written By: Joan McGovern and Linda Shute

One fine day, Lady Day in the harvest, Tom Fitzpatrick was a’ramblin’ down the lane.
Click, clack, click clack, he heard from the hedge. Tom tiptoed over to take a look.
The clacking sound stopped when Tom peeped thru the bushes. There in the shadow what did he see,
But a big gallon pitcher and a teeny man with a brown leather apron and three cornered hat.
Then up the man climbed on his wee wooden stool and he dipped his wee piggin into the crock,
Then he settled down with full mug beside him to hammer on the heel of a fairy-sized shoe.
By the powers, thought Tom, it’s a leprechaun, I’ll catch him and scare him, he’ll give me his treasure.
Since I’m a clever fellow, and I say it with pride, before the sun sets I’ll know where he keeps gold!

Tom stared at the leprechaun trying hard not to blink, he knew that if he looked away the old man would escape,
Then he crept up quite near, tipped his hat, and said, Good day to you neighbor, blessings on your work.
Thank you kindly, said the small one, but he never looked up. He just kept tapping on the heelpiece of the brogue.
Tom moved his hand closer and smiled sweetly, said, Today’s a holiday, you shouldn’t have to work.
The leprechaun frowned and he answered quite sharply, If I do that is my business and none of yours.
Instead of pestering you should watch your father’s field, look, the cows are knocking the corn about.
Cows in the cornfield? Tom’s head started turning, but he wasn’t fooled by the leprechaun’s trick.
He grabbed the sly fellow and then he cried, You are my prisoner, tell me where is your gold.

The leprechaun wiggled and twisted and whined, he said, I’m just a poor man, but Tom held him fast.
He said, you and I both know that you are lying, Tom made a fierce and frightening face.
Finally the leprechaun stopped squirming and he said, Tom Fitzpatrick, you’re much too clever for me.
I know that you’re after my buried treasure, I’ll have to show you where it’s hid.
With his eyes on the bitty man locked in his fist, Tom followed where the leprechaun led.
He traipsed over the hill, under some heather, through a bush, across the peat bog.
Then, just as Tom thought that he had been hoodwinked, he found himself in a great field of weeds.
There, the sly fellow said, on the left side, under that boliaun, that’s where I keep my gold.

Thunderation! said Tom, I need to fetch my spade, but when I return I’ll be lost,
There are forty acres of boliauns here. Each plant looks just like the other one.
Still watching the leprechaun Tom figured out a plan. He tied his bright red garter on the bush.
Swear you old rascal, you won’t take this off while I run back to get my spade.
That I will promise you, said the wee man. And Tom knew that leprechauns always keep their word.
Now that I told you where lies my treasure, I don’t suppose that you need me anymore.
No, said Tom, my fortune is made. You may go and good luck go with you.
Then the sly fellow bade Tom goodbye and said, may you do much good with all of your gold.

And so Tom ran as fast as he could run, figuring how he would spend the gold,
Back he came with his shovel in hand, back to the field of boliaun.
But when he got there, lo and behold: a thousand garters like his own
Were tied to each and to every boliaun, as far as the eye could see.
So he dug to the east and he dug to the west and he dug to the north and he dug to the south,
‘Til tired Tom Fitzpatrick knew he couldn’t find that gold. So he gave up and headed for home.
From then on Tom always listened for tapping sounds, as he grew old he would carry his spade.
He’d say, I’m a clever fellow so the very next time I catch that leprechaun I’ll finally get his gold!

Giants' Causeway

Written By: Joan McGovern

Fin M’Coul of Knockmany Hill, Fin M’Coul the giant
Married Oonagh up on the hill, gentle were those giants.
But Benandonner, he was cruel, and he called out from Scotland.
“I would fight you Fin M’Coul, if I could swim…”, but he could not swim to Ireland.

Now Fin was scared of Benandonner, scared for his survival, but
Oonagh said, “Eventually you must face your rival.” But
Somehow Benandonner must arrive there for the showdown.
And so Fin had to begin to build a causeway…to build a causeway to Scotland.

When the road was finally done Fin was so exhausted
He came home and fell asleep all covered with his bedspread.
But Benandonner rushed across the causeway for to fight him.
He ran up to the door and Oo-nagh saw that he was twice the size of her darling giant.

Oonagh feared for her darling Fin, but she was very wise.
She put a baby bonnet on him and she told him to cry.-”waa, waa!”
When Benandonner saw the “baby”, Oonagh told him slyly,
“Papa Fin M’Coul has been away and that’s…why his son is cryin’.”

But “baby” Fin was oh so big that Benandonner trembled
To think of fighting a father of his, he ran so fast he stumbled. To
Make sure that the fearsome giant could not follow after
With his big paws he broke up the cause-way that had spanned…that had spanned the water.

Fin threw off the baby bonnet and he asked his Oonagh,
“Why are you so very wise?” and she said, “Because I love you so.”
And now you still can see what’s left of Giants’ Causeway
From the days of Fin M’Coul and his dear wife…and his dear wife, his Oonagh.

Set List

In Again Finnegan
Giants’ Causeway
The Giant Potato
Colin’s Cradle
McNamara’s Band
The White Trout
Clever Tom and the Leprechaun
Fhear A'Bhata
River Lee
To a Mousie
Captain Coulston
The Unicorn Song
Irish Blessing