Released: Sony Music, 1998
Artist: Lá Lugh
With: Neil Martin, Mario N’Goma, Garry Ó Briain, Seanie McPhail, Martin O'Hare, Ray Gallen, Gilles Le Bigot, Shaun 'Mudd' Wallace, Jim Corr & Dan Donnelly
About ‘Senex Puer’
Lá Lugh originate from the coastal region of South Ulster, known today as County Louth, the smallest county in Ireland. Historically, County Louth took it’s name from the pagan God ‘Lugh Lámhfhada’ or Long Handed Lugh, father of Cúchulainn, the central figure in the great Ulster epic ‘Táin Bó Cúailgne’, the setting for which was the Cooley mountains, where Eithne Ní Uallacháin and Gerry O’Connor now live. It is from this mythological character Lugh that the band took their name — Lá Lugh, The Day of Lugh.
This area has the highest concentration of archaeological and historical sites in Ireland. Situated in ‘The Gap of the North’, the area has been a meeting place for peoples and cultures for thousands of years. Evidence of the Bronze age and from Iron age peoples who lived here exist in the massive stone monuments, burial chambers and ring forts which abound in the area. Ancient monastic and ecclesiastical sites link the district to the saints, Patrick and Monnine, and the goddess Brighid (on which the song ‘Brighid’s Kiss’ is based).
South Ulster, which was Gaelic speaking (the language of the Irish Celts and Eithne’s first language) within living memory, is also known as a district particularly rich in songs, music and poetry, with some of Ireland’s greatest poetic literature composed there in the 18th Century. This rich musical and cultural tradition and the generations old fiddle style of Gerry’s family is the source of Lá Lugh’s music.
Some of the songs on this collection have been given new melodies. They are not deliberately composed in the strict sense of the word, but evoked, for music, like a dying language lives in the consciousness of it’s people manifesting itself in various new forms.
While tuned to the ancient voice of their ancestors, Lá Lugh approach their music with a progressive ear drawing from soulful imagination and modern world music motifs to create their own Irish individual and earthed style.
Spanning ten centuries of musical influence, the album’s title track, ‘Senex Puer’ draws from the Irish monastic tradition, with the bilingual Latin and Gaelic hymn ‘Deus Meus’ — ‘to make a plea, in contemporary style’ for the vagaries of soul.