The Otherworld: Music & Song from Irish Tradition

Nell Ní Chróinín

The Otherworld: Music & Song from Irish Tradition

The Otherworld: Music and Song from Irish Tradition is a splendid large-format, soft-back, bilingual book, with two accompanying compact discs, reflecting on musical expressions of otherworldly phenomena.

Aimed at both the general reader and scholars of folklore, the publication, according to the publicity material, ‘examines aspects of the enduring belief and fascination which the Irish imagination has with supernatural beings, encounters and occurrences as represented in song and music.’

Including commentary, snippets and biographical notes (some about the collectors themselves and their work), recorded sound and photographs, and lyrics and manuscript transcriptions, the material is drawn partly from commercial recordings but mostly from the National Folklore Collection/Cnuasach Bhéaloideas Éireann in University College Dublin as edited by Ríonach uí Ógáin and Tom Sherlock.

Published by Comhairle Bhéaloideas Éireann and distributed by Four Courts Press, a variety of themes are addressed: the connection between the supernatural and excellence in the performance of music and song, the dangers inherent in engaging with the fairies, the fear of abduction or loss, benign supernatural encounters, the existence of otherworldly creatures such as the banshee or the leprechaun, and perceptions of landscape.

The inclusion of contemporary performers alongside older archival material is testament to the fact that the National Folklore Collection continues to grow and remains the most important repository of Irish vernacular culture.

The book is illustrated with numerous black and white photographs, many of them taken by the original collectors. The output reflects the circumstances, hopes, anxieties, fears, beliefs, modes of entertainment, the blending of Christian and non-Christian ideas and sometimes the sense of mischief of Irish people, both urban and rural.

Professor Ríonach uí Ógáin is Director of the National Folklore Collection/Cnuasach Bhéaloideas Éireann, University College Dublin. She has published numerous articles on traditional song and music and has lectured widely on the subject. Tom Sherlock is a music business manager and consultant with wide experience in the promotion of traditional music. He has worked as a production manager with Claddagh Records, as an artist manager and agent, a promoter and producer, a festival programmer and as a writer and commentator on Irish music and culture.

The tracklisting is as follows:

Disc 1

1. Down by the Green Roadside-um
sung by Mickey Connors

2. Jig Learned off the Fairies
played on the fiddle by Mickey Doherty

3. Bá Phrochlaise [The Bruckless Drowning]
lilted by Cití Seáin Ní Chuinneagáin

4. The Heart’s Delight
sung by Austin Flanagan

5. The Coleman Brothers’ Strange Experience
told by P.J. Duffy

6. The Boys of the Lough and The Merry Blacksmith
played on the fiddle by Michael Coleman

7. Cruel Willie
sung by Stephen Murphy

8. Petticoat Loose
told by Seán Ó Catháin

9. Petticoat Loose
played on the fiddle by Darren MagAoidh

10. Amhráin na Siógaí [The Song of the Fairies]
sung by Róisín Elsafty

11. The Moving Clouds
played on the fiddle by Néillidh Boyle

12. Amhrán an Frag [The Song of the Frog]
sung by Peadar Ó Ceannabháin

13. The Banshee
told by Mag Doyle

14. The Banshee Reel
played on the tin whistle by Micho Russell

15. Seachrán Sí [Set Astray by the Fairies]
sung by Saileog Ní Cheannabháin

16. Willie Leonard
sung by John Stokes

17. Port na bPucaí [The Tune of the Fairies]
lilted by Muiris Ó Dálaigh

18. Réidhchnoc Mná Duibhe [The Smooth Hill of the Dark Woman]
sung by Pádraig Ó Cearnaigh

19. Pilib Séimh Ó Fathaigh
sung by Ciarán Ó Gealbháin

20. Tiúin an Phíobaire Sí [The Tune of the Fairy Piper]
lilted by Máire Ní Bheirn

21. Taibhse Chonaill [Conall’s Ghost]
played on the fiddle by Rónán Galvin

Disc 2

1. The Gold Ring
played on the uilleann pipes by Cormac Cannon

2. The Fiddler and the Fairy
told by Mickey Doherty

3. An Mhaighdean Mhara [The Mermaid]
sung by Nóra Dunlop

4. Willie O!
sung by Bernie Lawrence

5. The Lone Bush
played on the flute by Tara Diamond

6. An Aill Eidhneach [The Ivy-Covered Rock]
sung by Ciarán Ó Con Cheanainn

7. Tam Lin
sung by Áine Furey

8. Cailín Deas Crúite na mBó [The Pretty Girl Milking the Cows]
sung by Patrick de Búrca

9. A Fairy Dance
played on the fiddle by Máire O’Keeffe

10. Port na Sióg [The Time of the Fairies]
lilted by Peait Sheáin Ó Conaola

11. The Fairy Fort
told by Paddy Hedderman

12. Iomáin Áth na gCasán [The Annagassan Hurling Match]
sung by Máire Ní Choilm

13. The Lutharadán’s Jig
played on the fiddle by Junior Crehan

14. Ceann Boirne [Black Head]
lilted by Micho Russell

15. Amhrán na Phúca [The Song of the Pooka]
sung by Sarah Ghriallais

16. The Banshee
told by Edward Kendellan

17. The Lilting Banshee and An Rógaire Dubh [The Black Rogue]
whistled by Robert Harvey

18. An Cailín Deas Rua [The Nice Red-Haired Girl]
sung by Nell Ní Chróinín

19. Paddy Bán Quigley and The Boys of Malin
told and played on the fiddle by John Doherty

Published on 12 December 2012

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