Seachrán Chearbhaill Revisited
It is nearly 20 years since I recorded my own take on this fascinating song/story.
Many purists will no doubt cringe at my attempt here to provide accompaniment to Joe Éinniú’s unaccompanied tour de force, Seachrán Chearbhaill, The Rambles of Carrule.
No-one has attempted accompaniment before or since, as far as I know…
'Know Your Place' - new book available now
An Exploration of the Place Names of Ireland
Following on from a suggestion from Michael Brennan of Red Stripe Press, Dublin I began writing a new book in the Autumn of 2019. It was very wide-ranging and challenging but Michael and his team had unflinching belief in my ability to produce and deliver a book of such scope and depth. “Know Your Place : An Exploration of the Place Names of Ireland” is now available online and in good book shops all over Ireland.
In it I have selected a group of place names from each of our 32 counties – about 80-90. I discuss the anglicized name, the original Irish name and the meaning. At the beginning of each county section there is also a paragraph or two on the formation of that county and how it came to be named.
I think it will be a useful book for people, both at home and abroad, who have a curiosity about Irish place names and how landscape, history, culture and politics have shaped and coloured the naming.
A Chraoibhín Aoibhinn Álainn Ó
Seoirse’s new album released!
This a compilation from various albums released 1988-2013.
Crimson Moon – Gealach Dhearg
Lots of Inishowen in this collection – the sea, the stories, the legends, the history, told in newly-composed songs… with a couple of “oldies” thrown in for good measure! Weaving through this tapestry of sound are delightful pieces by Mozart, Schubert, Bach and Tchaikovsky proving just how versatile these accompanying musicians really are when not only can they play good trad music but feel equally comfortable and confident with classical music.
Among the musicians on the album are Inishowen’s very best:
Lorna McLaughlin: vocal harmonies; Joleen McLaughlin: piano, harp; Karen McLaughlin: violin (The fabulous Henry Girls!); Jim Woods: bodhrán; Laurence Doherty: percussion; Thérèse McKenna: flute; Aidan McLaughlin: upright bass; Tom Byrne: harmonica, accordion.
Seoirse’s speciality is Gaelic song, poetry & story (with translations) but can diversify into a variety of internationally sourced and familiar songs in English, rendered simply through the pure acoustic essentials of voice and nylon-stringed guitar. He also plays a range of guitar instrumentals performed in classical style.
The books I have written so far celebrate the place where I live - the home of my ancestors: Inishowen. Lately, I have created a work that isn’t specifically about Inishowen but nevertheless may be of interest to the music-lovers of peninsula, certainly to the rest of the nation – a book called “Sunlight & Shadow” about our forgotten composers.
I listen to a song or a piece of music and something comes into my mind. I start painting. Ultimately, it’s the totality of the experience that assails my senses. If it is a particular poetic image that sticks in my mind (in the case of a song) the outcome may not be a photographic representation of that image but a response to the musical mood.
Seoirse is available to give lectures. His thoroughly researched and detailed PowerPoint lectures, on a wide variety of topics from music to placenames to language to song, have proven to be very popular in Inishowen. Talks have beed delivered across Inishowen, the rest of Donegal and Derry.
Singer, painter, storyteller, encourager, innovator, energizer; I like to think of Ó Dochartaigh as a present-day Johnny Appleseed. By the generosity of his imagination he has scattered many seeds that all of us have benefited from. We need this kind of creative presence in our community; without artists we stagnate. What I like most about Seoirse’s work is its attentiveness to the natural world and its offbeat spontaneity. Ó Dochartaigh is both a slinky jazz tune and a doorway to the marvellous!
- Cathal Ó Searcaigh, 17th Feb. 2015, Mín a’ Leá