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G-Seal Gan Ghruaim

Compact Disc: A Time Without Gloom


1. An Bánaí Drabhlásach
2. Cearc agus Coileach
3. An Bhanaltra
4. Tá mé ‘mo Shuí
5. Úna Uí Chonchubhair Bháin
6. Siobhán Ní Dhuibhir
7. Geaftaí Bhaile Buí
8. Éirí ‘s cuir ort do chuid Éadaigh
9. An Droighneán Donn
10. Jinny Dheas a Dheigh-Bhean
11. Ainnir Dheas na gCiabhfholt Donn
12. An Seanduine Dóite


 “Heart and soul, the two words that run through me as I listen? To Hugh MacRuairí singing a mixture of ancient songs and a few songs from Clan Mac Grianna from his home area, Rann na Feirste.
It puts a new seal on the music – and a chance for us to spend ‘Seal Gan Ghruaim’ listening to them. ”
 -Marrett Ní Mhaonaigh, Altan



Although I was born in Glasgow City in 1966, I was fortunate that my family made the decision to reach Rann na Feirste before I was six years old. It was then that the music began to impress me as I listened to my great-grandmother humming and wailing around the house. What impressed me most during those years was a great deal. In fact I’m almost certain that I and my contemporaries were the last generation to get a little taste of the old days. I got a chance to listen to the town’s well-known singers and storytellers and that’s probably why I fell in love with the rhythmic poetic style of Irish that was spoken at the time.


It was also in Rann na Feirste that I saw the emergence of a new era of music in the form of Clannad, although I did not know that at the time. I remember, back in the seventies, giving me half a gene to see in St. Brigid’s College. If they hadn’t played any musical notes that night I would have gotten my money’s worth because I saw the biggest fiddle I’ve ever seen (a bass order) and wondered what kind of man was playing in weeding this acre. But when Ciarán Ó Braonáin took the acre, he made two things clear to me and that is, that it is not played like a normal fiddle and the second thing is that the hair stands on the back of your neck when it is played. It was at that moment that I realized that there was something magically spiritually intriguing about music, that I had not landed until then. Some of George Doherty’s music was to play the same trick on me during those years as well and I was lucky enough to work with him many years later. Among the other tracks left to me musically I am indebted to Clan O’Donnell and Hughie Padaí Hiúdaí in particular.

Anyway, that was the beginning and not the end. In the meantime I hope you enjoy my little effort, ‘Seal without Gloom’.