Six Songs by Dark Willow

Dark Willow medium

Photo by Tobias Donaldson

Dark Willow was a folk-music duo. Ellen van der Hoeven sang all the songs and played mandolin and guitar. David played a variety of whistles.

There are two links on this page. The first is for a Zip file called which will unzip, when opened, into six mp3 files. You can download it by clicking the following link.

Download Six Songs by Dark Willow

Here is the track list for six songs containing the information below in a convenient format. If you right-click or control-click (Mac) in the link and select Download Linked File or the equivalent for your browser, a pdf file of the track list will download. You may have to let your browser open it first, then save it.

Download Dark Willow Song List

If you want to hear an indiviual song, click its name in the list below. If you want to download it, right-click (or Control-click Mac) and select Download Linked File or Open with iTunes (iTunes will copy it to your Media folder) or the equivalent for your browser.

Song List

1. The Doffing Mistress (trad.) 1:51: Doffers, who worked in spinning mills, changed the bobbins and tied the ends of the thread to a new one. In the past, the job was usually done by children (both boys and girls). This traditional song expresses appreciation for a kind and considerate boss, Elsie Thompson. In this recording, Ellen sings and David plays a low whistle in G by Michael Burke.

2. I Know Where I’m Going (trad.) 2:18: I Know Where I'm Going is a traditional song. We do it faster than most because the singer sounds like a woman who knows her own mind, plans for her future, and gets there. A spirited girl might be proud to wear “shoen of bright green leather” with her silk stockings. In this recording, Ellen plays guitar and David plays a Burke whistle in D.

3. Swords into Plowshares (David Donaldson) 3:27: Swords into Plowshares was written by David and we've enjoyed playing it ever since. The title is based on a verse from the Bible: "And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more" (King James Bible: Isaiah 2:4). A story goes with the tune. It says that, in the near future, all the nations of the world decide to end war. When word goes out to the soldiers, they throw their weapons into the recycling bin and march home with a light, happy step. And Swords into Plowshares is the tune they march to. In this recording, David plays a D whistle by O'Riordan and synth harp, and Ellen plays mandolin.

4. Tarry Trowsers (trad.) 1:48: Ellen learned this song Tarry Trowsers from Newfoundland singer Andrew Draskoy. It has a historic theme: the young rebelling against their parents' wishes. Ellen sings and David plays a Burke whistle in A.

5. The Good Ship Kangaroo (trad.) 5:22: The Good Ship Kangaroo is an Irish nonsense song. It has a catchy tune with a chorus and it's fun to sing and play. In this recording, Ellen plays mandolin and David plays whistles in D and G made by Michael Burke.

6. Mandolin Ann (Ellen van der Hoeven) 5:26: Mandolin Ann, an original by Ellen, was inspired by a fellow student in a mandolin class a few years ago. Ellen sings it beautifully; we’re sure you’ll enjoy it. Ellen plays Mandolin and David Plays a whistle in D by Michael Burke.