Thursday, September 06, 2007

now playing: eist

éist means listen, in Irish. as in English, that one word may come across as direction, a request for attention, a command, and an invitation. All of those would apply to the fourteen tracks on this disc. Irish is a sometimes problematic language. People sometimes think it’s dead, which it’s not; think it’s the same thing as Gaelic, which it’s not, that’s the language of Scotland, related but not the same; think everybody in Ireland speaks it all the time, which they don’t. All that stuff out of the way then, what’s here is fourteen tracks by artists who may be better known for singing in English, among them the musicians of Altan, from Donegal, Mary Black, from Dublin, Seamus Begley from Kerry, Maura O’Connell from Clare, Paul Brady from Tyrone, John Spillane from Cork, Van Morrison from Belfast, and a handful of others, singing in Irish. Some grew up speaking the language and some came to understand it more later, but the language is all around you in Ireland, whether you’re born in a Gaeltacht area or not. The subtitle of this recording is songs in their native language, and that is what comes across, in variety of tunes from the light to the serious, from the ballad to the dance. Language is a window to thought, culture, and custom, to the way people think. This is a good one.
éist. éist go curumach. Listen. Listen with care, and you’ll be rewarded.

Bob Dylan in Scots Gaelic?

video of Cathie Ryan singing in Irish

video of Julie Fowlis singing in Scots Gaelic

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posted by Kerry Dexter at


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