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Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh

D’imigh amhránaíocht Eithne go mór i bhfeidhm orm agus mé ag éirí aníos. Ní h-amháin go raibh guth aoibheann aici, agus fios a ceard i dtaobh na sean-amhrán, ach, do bhí sí cruthathach leo agus ní raibh leisce uirthi fonn nua a chur le sean-fhocail, nó cóiriú suimiúil, triallach a chur ar amhrán ársa. Ní raibh aon eagla uirthi a rud féin a dhéanamh dos na hamhráin, agus, dár liom, d’oibrigh sé sin toisc an meas agus tuiscint a bhí aici ar an dtraidisiún agus an t-eolas a bhí aici ar stair na namhrán agus ár n-oidhreacht.

Sa stór seo, cloisfimid seóda an t-sean-nós cosúil le “Táím Cortha ó ‘Bheith im’ Aonar im’ Luí” i dteannta amhrán nua–chumtha ar nós “Meadhrán Shamhraidh” agus “Lúnasa Dancing”. Tá ceol curtha leis an dán cliútach a chumadh san ochtú aois déag ag Eibhlín Dubh Ní Chonaill “Caoineadh Airt Uí Laoghaire”. Tá leaganacha nua le chlos de “Oró sé do Bheatha Abhaile” agus “Táím Sinte ar do Thuama”. Tá giotaí d’amhráin nascaithe le chéile. Tá amhráin dhátheangacha ann, filíocht Eithne féin, fite-fuaite le ceol uirlise rithimiúil binn a chuireadh fé dhraíocht thú. Ina measc san, tá veidhleadóireacht álainn a fir chéile, Gerry O’Connor, a bhí léi sa ghrúpa Lá Lugh.

Ach ‘sé is mó a thugas fé ndeara agus mé ag éisteacht leis an dtaifead speisialta seo ná na fíor-mhothúcháin a bhí le braistint tríd na hámhráin, i nguth Eithne, agus an bua ar leith a bhí aici. Is omós é seo do bhean spreagúil a d’éag ró-luath. Ceiliúraimid í.

Eithne Ní Uallacháin’s singing made a huge impression on me as a young singer. Not only did she have a beautiful voice and a great way with the old songs, but she was creative and brave in her treatment of them. She never shied away from composing new melodies for old words, or from being experimental in their arrangement. She put her own stamp on songs, something I feel worked very well, due to her coming from a place of respect and deep understanding of Ireland’s musical heritage.

In this collection, we will hear gems from the sean-nós tradition, such as “Táim Cortha ó Bheith im’ Aonar im’ Luí – I am Weary of Lying Alone” and “Táim Sínte ar do Thuama – I am Stretched on Your Grave” alongside Eithne’s compositions “Meadhrán Shamhraidh” and “Lúnasa Dancing”. There is a version of the 18th century poem by Eibhlín Dubh Ní Chonall “Caoineadh Airt Uí Laoghaire” set to music. We hear snatches of old songs mixed with new. There are bilingual songs, Eithne’s own poetry, interwoven with hypnotic rhythms and instrumentals, including the sweet fiddle playing of her husband and fellow Lá Lugh member, Gerry O’Connor.

Above all, what affected me the most about this recording was the breadth of feeling and emotion Eithne conveyed in her singing. She truly had an exceptional gift. Through this album, the life and legacy of this inspirational woman, who left us too soon, is celebrated.