Sean Nos Singing

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neopkwaii
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Sean Nos Singing

Postby neopkwaii » 20 Nov 2013, 03:51

I have recently come across a child's Celtic Lullaby CD http://www.amazon.com/Celtic-Dreamland- ... _dp_dpt_22at the local library. I came across a song I immediately resonated with, and read the liner notes. It mentioned that the song was sung by someone whom is known for their Sean Nos singing style. Well that got me to researching...

and finding a (mostly) dead end. I have purchased the mp3s off Amazon for the winners of the http://www.amazon.com/dp/B001UDN5Q2/ref ... QDMP728SCO Oireachtas competition. But without the physical CD, I find myself lost for the lyrics in the original language...the true meaning of the songs. Hey, I can sing what I think is in a language foreign to me all day long....that doesn't mean I might be saying one letter a little bit leaner than it should be-changing the meaning drastically.

from my research:
Sean Nos is a traditional style of singing (there is Sean Nos Dancing as well-very confusing) where the emphasis is on the song itself; not the singer, nor the "back up girls" whom are scantily clad, not the lyrics, not the melody, not even the "performance" of the piece. I read that there are some "performances" of Sean Nos where the singer would sit in a corner with their back towards the audience & just sing. The "performance" is truly about the song itself; the message it was meant to convey. In this age of sexting (Bruno Mars) and drinking references (ke$ha) in lyrics that are going over most adult heads: I want to get back to this style. To learn as much as I am able to on this side of the pond (I'm in USA)

Now that I've drawn your attention to a possibly new style-is there anyone familiar with this "genre" that might be able to point me in a direction? Lyrics? A personal favorite performer (my bias will not let me listen to Sinead O'Connor-unless someone *really* tells me that this actress is culturally accurate in style)? a website to go to for more information that I'm craving?

Anyone? I'm going kind of nuts here! :wall:

Thank you all;
:acorns: Adrianna :acorns:
:trefoil: http://druvid.blogspot.com/ :trefoil:


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neopkwaii
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Re: Sean Nos Singing

Postby neopkwaii » 20 Nov 2013, 03:56

:acorns: Adrianna :acorns:
:trefoil: http://druvid.blogspot.com/ :trefoil:


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Gwion
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Re: Sean Nos Singing

Postby Gwion » 20 Nov 2013, 12:57

As well as the excellent link above you can find several examples of Sean Nos singing on Youtube. (I particularly like Nell Ní Chróinín’s singing.)
https://www.youtube.com/results?search_ ... ADn.&sm=12
https://www.youtube.com/results?search_ ... nging&sm=1
Comhaltas http://comhaltas.ie/ is an organisation which promotes traditional Irish music and culture globally and may provide further links, including possibly links to relatively local activities

If you’re looking for lyrics in English, then check out Julie Fowlis (http://www.youtube.com/results?search_q ... owlis&sm=1) who sings in both Gaelic and English and also, in my opinion, manages the crossover between “popular” song (often accompanied) and more traditional (and unaccompanied) singing. Another, with a foot more firmly in the “popular” camp but still with hints of Sean Nos style, is Cara Dillon (http://www.youtube.com/results?search_q ... illon&sm=1). Some of these young “commercial” singers are easier to listen to than the truly traditional ones. (There are even some relatively young singers who are making a name for themselves at folk festivals and clubs but who probably wouldn't be described as commercial; such as Thomas McCarthy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=onjLJgfBH7g)

There’s plenty out there though. If you’re interested in both song and music then some of the series “Come West Along the Road” is still available on Youtube. Additionally, I don’t know whether you can get it where you are, but try checking out some of the programmes (particularly radio) on RTE http://www.rte.ie/ the Irish national broadcast station. These sources give you some of the context into which Sean Nos singing fits.

Shifting emphasis slightly away from Sean Nos and Gaelic singing, in my (biased) opinion most British traditional folk music and song (– I have little knowledge of other styles) has the same approach. A friend of mine once said "A good singer stands behind the song, a poor one tries to stand in front of it." It’s only when commercialism raises its head that the singer/musician feels the need to stand in front of the song.

My own favourites are the English and Scottish narrative ballads such as those collated by Prof. F J Child (although he was an American the collection is from English/Scottish sources) but there are plenty of other examples, such as “English Folk Songs from the Southern Appalachians” http://www.traditionalmusic.co.uk/english-folk-songs/, collected on your side of the Atlantic by C Sharp & Maud Karpeles. Lots of the singers Sharp collected from came from immigrant stock who retained many aspects of Sean Nos style. (Although he called them “English” folk songs, many clearly came from Scotland and Ireland for example.)

If you want more discussion on the songs/tradition, have a look at the Mudcat discussion forum. http://www.mudcat.org/ Discussion sometimes gets a bit heated over there (unlike the respect for others’ views shown here) but there are some knowledgeable contributors.

Enjoy the journey :gulp:
"Had I lived I might have been clever" - from the traditional ballad "The Bonny Bunch of Roses"
Some songs https://soundcloud.com/gwionssongs https://soundcloud.com/sthomason-1
Some Pictures http://gwion01.deviantart.com/

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neopkwaii
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Re: Sean Nos Singing

Postby neopkwaii » 20 Nov 2013, 15:48

Gwion;

Firstly, thank you ever so much for not only taking the time to read my posting....but also to impart your knowledge. I can not thank you enough!

Background-I *love* languages. I am also an ethnomusicological snob:
:old: one can NOT take the song out of it's original context and have it hold the same integrity/meaning it held upon creation. :old:

As a vocal instructor it upsets me to no end (I am being G rated here) that a song will contain the original language, then make up something totally stupid to sing underneath. For example: Ave Maria sung 4 times apparently translates into "english" to mean Mary, the virgin gave bith to the beautiful baby boy......more about how beautiful she is, there were sacrifices for a complete sentenance or two....It means Hail Mary for crying out loud! /end rant...no really.

n.b.-for this post, I am using the term Gaelic to refer to the "traditional" language of the work, be it Welsh/Irish/regional dialect. While not very fair, it is more practical in this instance.

Given my above stance, I would (of course) be singing these in their original Gaeliage (and, through a free online self-taught course [http://www.erinsweb.com/gaelic1.html], I don't believe I followed the words to Amárach Lá ‘le Pádraic too badly :grin:), with NO instrumental accompaniment. In the above referenced song, I am watching the video on SongsInIrish.com, and...that's what I want. (I'll be honest, I have referenced that link before, and been to that page....but I failed to realize there were actually links to the songs....with not only the Gaelic, but a translation as well. :oops:)

Background over....I hadn't, as of yet pegged YouTube as a resource as of yet because you never know what you're going to get on there. You could get some back water hick completely butchering the language (even if they have a "Gaelic stagename"...)-and that is not what I want to learn at first. I want to learn the traditional language....even though I am unable to learn it truly traditionally. I wanted to learn more about the style, so I could have a knowledge base to be able to tell crap from not. I can tell from your posting though that you are relaying the type of material that I want to learn from so I will most definately check out those links!

I've looked up Child's Ballads (I'm in a medieval research organization, trying to do pre-16th Century documentable works so I've used this site [http://www.pbm.com/~lindahl/ballads/early_child/]), and I had a really hard time putting the words with the melodies. I know it can be done...but for me it was hard, and none of the melodies "sang" to me.....and I (currently) prefer the traditional nature of the Sean Nos.

As to Mudcat; I've tried to traverse the Mudcat with little success. Perhaps I should just knuckle down and spend more time on it....like I did with SongsInIrish :wall:

Thank you for your guidance in this-I feel like I've made a breakthrough, and it was about time!
:acorns: Adrianna :acorns:
:trefoil: http://druvid.blogspot.com/ :trefoil:


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