Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin
Songs of the Scribe Ceoltaí Éireann****
The contemplative side of our music has been overshadowed by its (unquestionably visceral) dance tunes and big songs, with their emphasis on the social. On Songs of the Scribe, Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin, traditional singer-in-residence at Queen’s University’s Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry, delves deep into the history of our monastic tradition to dramatic effect.
Her bell-clear voice serves a rich repertoire of incantations, love songs and lamentations, and her choice of Tibetanbowl and harp (from Helen Davies), drones and bells for accompaniment is pitch perfect. Works by both Seamus Heaney and Ciaran Carson are lovingly honed by Ní Uallacháin’s voice: in particular, her treatment of the iconic poem The Blackbird of Belfast Loughis a minimalist treasure. Switzerland’s St Gallen’s monastery yields many riches, which singer and harpist pick with great delicacy, melding poetry and music across millennia with a sinuous grace and elegance. irishsong.com