for eight solo voices (SSSSAAAA) and stereo fixed media (2010)
[fixed media available here]
Art Mac Cumhaigh was a poet born on the Co. Armagh/Co. Louth border near the parish of Creggan. After initially being reviled for his reputation as an alcoholic travelling labourer, his poetry has seen resurgence in the latter half of the 20th century, prompting acknowledgement that Mac Cumhaigh is one of the most famous exponents of the 18th-century Oriel tradition of poetry.
This piece draws on the sean-nós tradition in Irish folk music in both its melodic and modal style. The ornamentation systems of this tradition are explored and used expressively throughout the musical discourse. The tradition of the féth fiáda (and accompanying ceol sídhe, or ‘fairy music’) which was widespread at the time of this poem (and long before) is recalled here both in the poem and in the musical text. Only the first verse of Mac Cumhaigh’s poem is used here.
28.07.2010 — Blue Bulb Vocal Ensemble, National Concert Hall, Dublin, Ireland