Some of the world’s most powerful Gaelic voices come together for Shared Songs – the second concert in the Aidan O’Rourke-curated series A Great Disordered Heart – in a night of soulful ancient Irish and Scottish song.
This is an immersive evening of song showcasing the profound beauty and truth-telling grit of Gaelic voices from either side of the Irish Sea. Shared Songs brings together a group of leading singers, each with their own revered expertise in traditional song.
Irish singer Liam Ó Maonlaí is a sensational performer whose fierce charisma makes his traditional repertoire all the more compelling. In 1985, he formed Hothouse Flowers and their album People is the most successful debut album in Irish history to date. Since then, he’s engaged with his native song culture with fresh and vibrant energy.
Scottish singer and piper Allan Macdonald is a true tradition bearer from Glenuig in the West Highlands. His research into the deep connections between early pibroch and Gaelic song have revolutionised how both repertoires are interpreted today. While vocal trio Sian (Ceitlin Lilidh, Eilidh Cormack and Ellen MacDonald) originally came together to investigate Gaelic songs composed by women and has gone on to create a distinctly rugged and soulful sound with rich harmonies and striking melodic power.
Róisín Chambers is a singer and fiddle player whose influences draw on the Connemara lineage of sean nós singing. Chambers prides herself as a Dublin exponent of the great sean nós tradition and with a voice of unflinching splendour, lends a forensic realism to her interpretation of the old songs.
Bringing these Gaelic voices together for the International Festival is Sam Amidon – an artist of exuberant magnetism, with deep respect for the heritage of traditional song and a playful, radical flair. Growing up in a Vermont family of a-cappella singers, he’s a lifetime devotee of Irish fiddle music and a fanatic for classic banjo, blues and jazz vernaculars. His own voice is a free-wheeling wonder.
The songs shared in this A Great Disordered Heart concert connect with a deep history of community singing. The passing-on of stories highlights the ineffable communication that happens when voices come together.
Presented in association with the National Concert Hall of Ireland and The Soundhouse Organisation
Liam Ó Maonlaí