Back Home With Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh

Following the release of Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh‘s second commercial solo recording, Ar Uair Bhig an Lae: Small Hours, SOTI caught up with Muireann via Skype at her home in West Kerry.

What is the first song you learned?

I’ve been singing since I was a child. I suppose one of the first songs I probably learned is the same song that my little girl has now learned this year. She’s only 1 1/2 [years old]. It’s Éiníní, which is a lullaby. My mom used to sing it for me, and now I sing it for Sadhbh, and she started singing along. I was just thinking the other day that probably that was my first song, too, as it was probably the first song I heard.  It’s just a song about little birds going to sleep.

What’s the most recent song that you have learned?

Probably one of the songs off my new album, in the sense that I would have been very familiar with them all, bar one or two, but that there were quite a few that I didn’t perform regularly, so I needed to sit down and really learn them for the album and for my concerts since I released it.

What’s your method for learning new songs?

Oh, very old fashioned, just repeat, repeat, repeat. Just rote learning. I like to read the words and see them, and I can kind of later on see them in my head. What is really important is just to try and remember the story. I think that really, really helps with the lyrics. If you can keep focused on the story and what’s happening as well, you can generally get by okay, too, because you’ll be concentrating on it in a different way, rather than as a performance.

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Tar Barrel in Dale

A great song for the New Year from a Allendale’s Rachel Unthank and the Winterset on Radio 2’s “Radcliffe and Maconie Show” on Dec 22, 2012. Thanks to the Dundalk Singing Circle for passing this along!

Tar Barrel in Dale

Tar barrel in dale
Fire in snow
Toast the New Year
Bid farewell to the old
The old year out
The New Year in
Please wont you let
The lucky bird in
With bottle in hand
And a piece of black coal
A stranger’s a friend
When first-footing you go

Tar barrel in dale
Fire in snow
Toast the New Year
Bid farewell to the old
At midnight’s approach
The band you can hear
The fiery procession
Of guisers draws near
With friends and good company
With voices so clear
Singing in harmony
Bringing in the New Year

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Siúil a Rún

An all-time classic in the world of Celtic music represented here by the well-known version from Clannad.

I wish I was on yonder hill
‘Tis there I’d sit and cry my fill,
And every tear would turn a mill,
Is go dte tu mo mhuirnin slan

[chorus]
Siuil, siuil, siul a run,
Siuil go sochair agus siuil go ciuin
Siuil go doras agus ealaigh lion
Is go dte tu mo mhuirnin slan

I’ll sell my rod, I’ll sell my reel,
I’ll sell my only spinning wheel,
To buy my love a sword of steel
Is go dte tu mo mhuirnin slan.
[chorus]

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