Kansas City Irish Sean Nós Song Festival Kick-Off

Todays Chat and Sing Show Notes:
Season 3,#2,  Sean Nós, old style Irish Song

1) What is Sean Nós ?
2) Festival Finalists to be broadcast weekly.
3) Todays Song is: ‘Sadhbh Ní Bhruinneallagh’
(The 1st full song to be sung by our host, ever ! )

The Irish Song and Recitation Festival Podcast
with your host Michael C. O’Laughlin in Kansas City.
From the Irish Roots Cafe at www.Irishroots.com

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Thanks for the help

On this broadcast we called for Sean Nós songs, as
defined by our audience.  The term definitely means
different things to different individuals today.  We hope
this broadcast will help spread the word and create
interest in the field of Sean Nós today.
Thank to all who have participated, you have made
a great contribution to the effort.

Top 10 Sean Nós Final Entries

We have 7 v songs in Irish / 3 in English/ 1 instrumental to date.
1)  Peneleapaí with The Leaving of Limerick, in Irish.
2)  Peneleapaí with “        “,   in Irish.
3)  Harpin’ Hank Hogan with ‘Dilan O’ Deamhas’ in Irish
4)  Liza with instrumental An Poc Ar Buile or ‘Mad Puck Goat’
5)  Mike with ‘The Old Claddagh Ring’ or.. (Joe Heaney style)
6)  Mike with ‘Roisin Dubh’  (or… Joe Heaney style)
7)  Karen with ‘Red is the Rose’ w/ bodhran backer
8)  Renata  ‘Were You At the Rock” (An raibh tú ar a gCallaig)
9)  Renata with “Ar Bruacha na Laoí”
10) Sadhbh Ni Bhruinneallaigh  ( a) as solo b)Group Finale)

The Irish Culture
Sean Nós is a link to the lost culture of the Irish going
back for centuries.  Queen Elizabeth must have been
impressed, for she had several of the songs
written down.  Of course, that would have been
difficult, as this Irish form of song did not follow
the rules of other forms of musical notation.

What it is
Well, the new season kicks off today with a new format
and type of music.  Sean Nós  ( pronounced ‘Shann Nós’
definitely not ‘Shawn Nós” ).  Some might say this is
primitive Neolithic song !  What it is, is the old Irish way
of singing. The term was invented in the 20th century to
describe just that. It is generally said to originally have

1) Sung in Irish
2) Sung solo
3) not dependent upon volume changes like today
4) Some say, little vibrato should be found in Sean Nós
5) Some styles are described as ‘Saying a Song’

There are different styles of Sean Nós found in different
areas of the country, and of course, the Irish accent also
changes within the country.  It is today also a style used in the English language by some.

What it is not:
1) It is not sung like an English ballad
2) It is not like ‘Tin Pan Alley Songs’ (covered earlier.)
3) It is not just an Irish Song sung solo.

New Ways – Old Tunes
Today we find new forms of this singing art, sometimes called Sean Nós Nua.  You will find instruments added to the song and all forms of singing at times, accompanied by dancing, and capes and orchestras !

Experienced Welcomed
But then, all this is just my passing opinion,
I am by far no expert, the best way to learn
what Sean Nós is :  Listen to it being sung.

Learn it – Love it
The best way to learn Sean Nós, is to listen to those who
do it best.  I have several examples on our web page at:

Among the songs I usually have posted are:
Liam O Maonlai (Sadhbh Ni Bhruinneallaigh)
Darach O Catháin  (Óró sé do bheatha ‘bhaile)
Nell Ní Chróinín – (An Lacha Bacach)
iarla O Lionaird –  The Lament of 3 Three Marys)

Todays Song: ‘Sadhbh Ní Bhruinneallagh’
as sung by Mike O’Laughlin, your session leader (by default).

A Boatman from Mayo ?
This song is about a Mayo boatman and his courting
of ‘Sadhbh’.  He talks about his fine boat, which makes
trips to Galway. He also tells his love that he wants
her to elope with him, and that her mother even want
her to elope with him ( repeated in the chorus).

Joe Heaney Style
As the first time I heard this song it was by Joe Heaney,
it shows some influence here.  This is my first full song
sung – so thank you for your patience.
Heaney also sing Roisin Dubh, Red is the Rose, and much more..
He was great in Irish and English. Until next week or so, adios !

Join up on our Sean Nós fan page on Facebook:

Listen to the complete ‘Irish Song’ broadcast series here:

Hope you’ll be singing or listening in, to season 3,
on the Irish Song and Recitation Festival !

The Irish Roots Cafe has 7 Broadcast series:

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Irish Video Shorts
Irish Song and recitation
Irish Family History and genealogy
Irish Family History photo enhanced with links.

All available on the iTunes Irish provider page (click below):
Contact Me
( Perhaps we can put together a Sean Nós session group ! )
You can reach the Irish Roots Cafe on Twitter; Facebook;
www.IrishRoots.com; and by mail at our U.S. location:

Mike O’Laughlin
The Irish Roots Cafe
Box 7575
Kansas City, Missouri 64116
Leave a message on our Phone (816) 256-3360

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About Mike

Mike is the worlds most published author in his field, with over 40 books, 700 articles, two newsletters, a blog, 200 podcasts and 170 videos. He also publishes rare books like "The Annals of Ireland by the Four Masters" and Keatings "History of Ireland". Mike also sings in the Irish (Gaeilge) Language, with 3 albums to his credit. Mike descends from the O’Loughlins of Kilfenora, County Clare, and the O’Donahues of Glenflesk, County Kerry and also bears Sullivan, Buckley, Kilmartin, Llewellyn and Kelliher roots. He has led tours to Ireland and maintains a 3,000 volume Irish library.
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