This incredible performance by Noeleen Ní Cholla of the old Irish song "Bean an Fhir Rua" (The Red Haired Man's Wife) is a wonderful example of traditional Irish singing known as sean nós.
Ní Cholla, originally from the Gaeltacht area of Gaoth Dobhair, Donegal, was performing at Oireachtas na Gaeilge (National Irish Language Music Festival) and the piece was recorded by the Irish language TV station, TG4.
Sean nós (meaning "old style" in Irish) is a highly ornamented style of unaccompanied traditional Irish singing. It is a style of singing dating back hundreds of years which was handed down from generation to generation. It is an excellent example of "pure" traditional Irish music.
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Ní Cholla began singing sean nós at a very young age. She has traveled extensively, performing nationally and internationally since she was 16. She has won many accolades for her singing including the International Celtic Traditional Song Contest and awards at the International Eisteddfod, Wales.
She recently released an album called "An Mhaighdean Mhara," with traditional Irish Gaelic songs, Scottish Gaelic songs, English ballads and a newly composed song. She has also recently completed a singing tour of America and Canada.
This fall Ní Cholla will lead a week-long course immersing those taking part in the authentic singing tradition from North West Donegal, and taking you to the islands and landscapes from which these songs originate. The week of sean nós will take place at Teach na nAmhrán (The Song House) in Falcarragh, County Donegal, from Sept 30 to Oct 7.
For more information call Candy Verney on +353 85 889 3154, visit candyverney.co.uk or visit their Facebook page. Or you can reach out to Noeleen Ní Cholla on her Facebook page or via www.noeleennicholla.com.
Here are the lyrics to Bean an Fhir Rua:
Is a bhruinneall gan smál a bhfuil an dealramh deas in do ghrua,
Sé an buachaillín bán ab fhearr liom seal leat dá lua,
’S ní cheilfidh mé ar chách fios m’ábhair ’s go bhfuil mé faoi ghruaim
Ach d’ainneoin feara Fáil sí mo ghrá geal bean an fhir rua.
’S nuair a théimse thart síos, bím i bpríosún ceangailte crua,
Boltaí ar mo chaola is na mílte glas as sin suas,
Mar thabharfainnse an síobh mar a thabharfadh an eala thar cuan,
Nó go sínfinn mo thaobh seal síos le bean an fhir rua.
’S tabhair litir uaim scríofa síos go baile cois cuain,
Ag an gcailín beag caoin an bhfuil an chaor uirthi ag lasadh ina grua,
Mar scriosann sí an Traoi is tá na mílte fear léithi dhá lua,
Ach glac misneach, a Bhríd, ’s ní baol duit feasta an fear rua.
Is nár thé mé den saol seo choíche is nár chaillfidh mé an greann,
Nó go mbeidh mé is mo mhian seal sínte faoi bharra na gcrann,
Gan aon neach beo bheith inár ngaobhar ach an choill fraoigh ’gus duilliúr na gcraobh,
Agus an fear rua a bheith sínte i gCill Bhríde agus leac ar a cheann.
And here's the English translation via songsinirish.com:
Bhruinneall spotless as is the nice appearance of your cheeks,
He preferred the white boy I turn you both mention,
and I have all indicated conceals m'ábhair and I'm miserable
But despite her my grasses Available beloved wife of the red men.
And when I go around down, I'm in prison attached hard,
bolts on my slender thousands of green then up,
as thabharfainnse the síobh would give the swan over basin,
Or sínfinn my side turn down a woman the man's red.
And give my letters written down town harbor,
at the little girl cry of the berries she lit his cheeks,
as devastating the Trojan is thousands man of formally two mention,
But take courage, Bridget, and risk you no longer the red man.
It is not tea I of this world forever is not I shed the humor,
Or I have my desire spell stretched bar the trees,
No living thing being in the vicinity but the wood grouse and leaves of the branches,
and the man red stretched Kilbride and slab on his head.