Inni-K: Iníon – A fresh take on a sean-nós tradition

The singer goes back to her childhood and the songs from her parents’ record collection

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Artist: Inni-K
Genre: Alternative
Label: Green Willow Records

Eithne ní Chatháin’s third record reaches back to her childhood, at aged 11, hearing the singing of Seosamh Ó hÉanaí emerging out of her parents’ record player, and being transported by the tradition of sean-nós singing.

This album is emblematic of a fidelity to the form but, equally, a fidelity to musical exploration and collaboration, ní Chatháin recruiting fellow musicians Matthew Berrill, Mary Barnecutt and Brian Walsh to help harness a kind of elegant modernity, folding in piano, fiddle, clarinets, drums and cello.

An exciting newness settles over the course of nine songs; An Tiarna Randal brings beautiful piano to stage ní Chatháin’s potent voice detailing a dark tale, while Casadh an tSúgáin is all about the tender details, the soft brush on the drums, and the lone reedy fiddle.

Lord Gregory, with its dramatic and eerie opening, has an epic, cinematic quality, and Cuc-a-neaindí is all playful disruption; a song intended for children, it is sonic chaos wedded to a kind of meditation. An Raibh Tú ar an gCarraig? is where ní Chatháin’s unaccompanied vocal unfurls its true grace amid an unusual melody, complemented by the soft, sad radiance of Éamonn an Chnoic.


Uirchill an Chreagáin and its doleful piano is strangely uplifting, as is The Mountain Streams Where the Moorcocks Crow. Closing song Hó-bha-ín is pure poetry, a kind of pastoral lullaby; it is a fitting end to a very special record.

Siobhán Kane

Siobhán Kane is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in culture