Dónal Óg

Young Donal
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From joeheaney.org: The Flight of the Wild Geese. That was…after the Battle of the Boyne, 1691. The people who lost to more...

From joeheaney.org: The Flight of the Wild Geese. That was…after the Battle of the Boyne, 1691. The people who lost to William of Orange, they couldn’t go back to the lands they left, and as a result, they had two choices – either to be killed, or go away into other European countries. So they went away to France and Spain and Greece. And this song was dedicated to one of them – Dónal Óg, ‘Young Donal.’ This song also appears on the first of Joe’s Gael-Linn recordings (CEF 028) as well as its two subsequent reissues (see discography). It is one of the ‘big songs’ of the Irish repertoire, with versions to be found from all over the country, and over forty stanzas associated with it. Although Joe here refers to an association between the song and the Flight of the Earls (the ‘Wild Geese’) following the Irish defeat at the Battle of the Boyne, it seems likely that the roots of this song go further back than that. In An Grá in Amhráin na nDaoine (Dublin, 1960), Prof. Seán Ó Tuama traces its thematic roots back to the traditions of the amour courtois of twelfth-century Normandy. While there are many love songs in which the man bewails his inability to marry the woman of his choice, this is one of the few in which the woman describes her feelings of loss and betrayal at being abandoned by her suitor. For additional verses and some discussion, see Ríonach uí Ógáin (ed.), Faoi Rothaí na Gréine: Amhráin as Conamara a Bhailigh Máirtín Ó Cadhain (Dublin, 1999), 224-6; also an tAth. Tomás Ó Ceallaigh, Ceol na n-Oileán (Dublin 1931), 26-8 and notes.

The videos are two renditions by Irish band Líadan, and Irish sean-nós singer Seosaimhín Ní Bheaglaoich.


The launch of Líadan’s second CD, Casadh na Taoide/Turning the Tide marks their fifth anniversary as a band. Described by Hotpress Magazine as ‘wildly talented’ and as being ‘The next major global force in Irish traditional music’ by New York’s Irish Echo, Líadan’s mesmerising singing and creative instrumental music have been captivating audiences at home in Ireland and abroad since the band’s formation in Spring 2004. Blending together their rich musical backgrounds, these six talented young ladies create a fresh and exciting sound that explores both traditional and new material. From Galway and Limerick this inspiring all-female band comprises of six members: Síle Denvir, harpist; Deirdre Chawke, piano accordion; Elaine Cormican, whistles. Valerie Casey and Claire Dolan, fiddles; Catherine Clohessy, flute.

The uniqueness of Líadan lies in the deeply traditional essence of their music and in each band member’s ability to shine both instrumentally and vocally. Líadan’s stage presence exudes a group personality that is both vibrant and engaging. Their tune playing features striking string and reed rhythms and accompaniments, while always keeping the melody central to their arrangements. Coupled with that, the members are highly talented vocalists, displaying an astounding ability to move audiences with their settings of traditional and sean-nós songs in the Gaelic and English language, using acapella, harmonies and instrumental arrangements.

Líadan’s distinctive and innovative sound has won them such prestigious awards as ‘Best Live Band’ at the Lorient Interceltic Festival, 2005, and ‘Best Vocal Group’ at the International Pan Celtic Festival, 2005. Following the huge success of their debut album, which was launched in September 2006, the band was invited to tour America and Japan with The Chieftains. They have also played at prestigious venues and festivals such as Carnegie Hall, Áras an Uachtaráin, Milwaukee Irish Festival, Icons Festival, The World Fleadh, Richmond Folk Festival, EBU Folk Festival and the North Texas Irish Festival. Líadan performed on Ireland’s favourite chat show, The Late Late Show in October 2007 and they were also featured on Up for the Match earlier that year (both performances can be seen on www.myspace.com/liadanmusic).
Líadan’s musical and vocal prowess, their ability to move effortlessly between Irish and English language song, and the traditionally rooted core of their music makes them a force to be reckoned within the Irish traditional band stakes.

Seosaimhín Ní Bheaglaoich

Working now as a journalist with Radio na Gaeltachta in Dublin, Seosaimhin Ni Bheaglaoich is a native of Baile na bPoc in the west Kerry Gaeltacht area of Corca Dhuibhne. The musical tradition which she has made her own comes from both sides af the family – Loinsigh and Fearghaisigh on her mother’s side, and the musical tradition of muintir Bheaglaoich from her father.

In 1984 she was a founding member of the group ‘MACALLA’, an all women band that won an enthusiastic following in the 1980s. The group issued two records . Television audiences came to know her singing when she presented the popular RTE series THE MOUNTAIN LARK. In november 1993 Seosaimhin undertook a highly successful tour of the USA under the auspices of the Irish-American Cultural Foundation. “Taobh na Greine: Under the Sun” is her first solo album.

She delights us with a feast of the great traditional songs from her native West Kerry Gaeltacht, songs that were an integral component of her native tradition and up-bringing. Her highly individual and sensitive treatment of the songs is elevated by a natural voice that is of great warmth, eloquence and colour.

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Young Donal, if you cross the ocean,
take me with you – don’t forget!
You’ll have a keepsake on a fair-day and market,
and the daughter of a Greek king for a bed-mate.

You promised me, but you lied to me,
that you’d meet me at the sheep-fold;
I whistled and called a thousand times for you,
but all I got was
the lambs bleating.

I gave you my love when I was little,
and even more when I got bigger –
and not the love that a lamb gives its mother,
but everlasting, secure love that can’t be broken.

First time I saw you 'twas a Sunday evening
'Twas at the Easter as I was kneeling
'Twas on Christ's passion that I was reading
But my mind, it was on you, and my own heart bleeding

You have taken east and west from me;
you’ve taken the moon and the sun from me;
you’ve taken the heart from within my breast;
but my greatest fear is that you’ve taken God from me.

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