Song written by Kate Bush. Originally released on her fifth studio album Hounds Of Love. Fifth track of The Ninth Wave suite. The song was also released as a B-side track on the 12″ single Hounds Of Love.

Versions

There is only one studio version of this song.
A live version appears on the album Before The Dawn.

Performances

In 2014, Kate performed ‘Jig Of Life’ live during all the shows of Before The Dawn. During the performance, a video of John Carder Bush appears on a television screen, reciting the poem at the end of the track.

Cover versions

‘Jig Of Life’ was covered by Beethoven Orchester Bonn, Goodknight Productions, G√∂teborgs Symfoniker, The Sandman’s Orchestra, Catherine Smitko and TM Collective.

Kate about ‘Jig Of Life’

At this point in the story, it’s the future self of this person coming to visit them to give them a bit of help here. I mean, it’s about time they have a bit of help. So it’s their future self saying, “look, don’t give up, you’ve got to stay alive, ’cause if you don’t stay alive, that means I don’t.” You know, “and I’m alive, I’ve had kids [laughs]. I’ve been through years and years of life, so you have to survive, you mustn’t give up.”
This was written in Ireland. At one point I did quite a lot of writing, you know, I mean lyrically, particularly. And again it was a tremendous sort of elemental dose I was getting, you know, all this beautiful countryside. Spending a lot of time outside and walking, so it had this tremendous sort of stimulus from the outside. And this was one of the tracks that the Irish musicians that we worked with was featured on.
There was a tune that my brother Paddy found which… he said “you’ve got to hear this, you’ll love it.” And he was right [laughs], he played it to me and I just thought, you know, “this would be fantastic somehow to incorporate here.”
Was just sort of, pull this person up out of despair. (Richard Skinner, ‘Classic Albums interview: Hounds Of Love. Radio 1 (UK), aired 26 January 1992)

Lyrics

Hello, old lady.
I know your face well.
I know it well.

She says,
    “Ooh-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na!
    I’ll be sitting in your mirror.
    Now is the place where the crossroads meet.
    Will you look into the future?

    “Never, never say goodbye
    To my part of your life.
    No, no, no, no, no!
    Oh, oh, oh,

    “Let me live!”
She said.
    “C’mon and let me live, girl!”
She said,
    “C’mon and let me live, girl!”

        (“C’mon and let me live!”)

    “This moment in time,”

            (She said.)

    It doesn’t belong to you,”

            (She said,)

    It belongs to me,

    “And to your little boy and to your little girl,
    And the one hand clapping:
    Where on your palm is my little line,
    When you’re written in mine
    As an old memory?
    Ooh, na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-

    “Never, never say goodbye
    To my part of your life.
    Oh no, no, no, no, no!
    Never, never, never!
    Never, never let me go!”

She said,
    “C’mon and let me live, girl!’

            (“C’mon and let me live!”)

She said,
    “C’mon and let me live, girl!”

            (“C’mon and let me live!”)

I put this
moment……………………………………….here.
I put this moment…………………….here.
I put this moment–

                    “Over here!

        “Over here!
        Can’t you see where memories are kept bright?
        Tripping on the water like a laughing girl.
        Time in her eyes is spawning past life,
        One with the ocean and the woman unfurled,
        Holding all the love that waits for you here.
        Catch us now for I am your future.
        A kiss on the wind and we’ll make the land.
        Come over here to where When lingers,
        Waiting in this empty world,
        Waiting for Then, when the lifespray cools.
        For Now does ride in on the curl of the wave,
        And you will dance with me in the sunlit pools.
        We are of the going water and the gone.
        We are of water in the holy land of water
        And all that’s to come runs in
        With the thrust on the strand.”

Credits

Drums: Stuart Elliott, Charlie Morgan
Fiddles, whistles: John Sheahan
Bouzouki, Bodhran: Donal Lunny
Uillean pipes: Liam O’Flynn
Bass: Del Palmer
Dijeridu: Paddy Bush
Narration by John Carder Bush