Eithne ní Uallacháin – “Táim Cortha ó Bheith im’Aonar i Mo Luí” (I am Weary From Lying Alone).

   Hey people! 🙂 

   Keeping my promise from yesterday, here’s the second song from Eithne ní Uallacháin’s  album Bilingua, my most exciting music discovery of the year so far. Like yesterday’s song, it’s in what’s called macaronic form – two languages mixed together – but it’s a traditional tune. As far as I know, the English version  came first and the Irish translation was written later. But regardless of which came first, they are of course poetic rather than literal translations of each other, so there are differences between them, though I don’t speak Irish (yet), so I can’t write a direct translation of the Irish lyrics and haven’t found such a direct translation anywhere. Google Translate claims that the Irish title means something like “I am Tired/Sick of Being Alone in My Bed”, but I’ve stuck with the poetic translation of that line in the post title in case Google was wrong. 

   I first heard a version of this song by The Unthanks, and I liked it, because I like The Unthanks in general, but it didn’t make a lasting impression on me or anything. But when I heard Eithne’s version for the first time last week, it really affected my brain (well, just like the whole album, but I think this is one of its highlights for me), and I immediately thought that this song is just meant to be sung exactly the way she does, and with an Irish accent, or better yet, in Irish! As you can hear for yourselves, it is very minimalistic in form – just Eithne’s fragile, yet as always, almost eerily expressive vocals with very spare and gentle instrumentation. – It is so beautiful in that bittersweet way that makes you feel like you want it to never end, while at the same time twisting your soul and making it fall apart into aching but ecstatic pieces. And since it’s really two songs in one, it’s over six minutes of this gentle, blissful torture. 

Eithne ní Uallacháin – “Bilingua”.

   Hiya people! 🙂 

   The song I have for you today is from an album that, although  recorded over 20 years ago, and released almost a decade ago, is very new to me, and even though it’s only  the beginning of February, I feel very confident in saying that this is probably going to be one of my most exciting musical discoveries of the year. And not just the album, but also the artist behind it – Eithne ní Uallacháin. – Maybe there’s even some minor faza going on at this point, because I only came across Bilingua (that’s the name of the whole album) last Friday, and have now listened through the entire thing five times, not counting the number of times I’ve listened to  individual tracks and other recordings by Eithne ní Uallacháin. It’s strange that, although I’ve been exploring Celtic music for years, it’s taken me so long to come across Eithne and her music, even though she is a very important figure on the folk music scene of Ireland. But apparently there is a right time for everything, so perhaps this was just the right time for me to discover her and appreciate her music as   it deserves to be appreciated, perhaps if I’d come across it earlier, it wouldn’t have made as  strong an impression on me as it did. 

   Eithne ní Uallacháin was born in Ballina in 1957. She grew up in an Irish-speaking and musical family as her father was a collector of songs from the Oriel area in Ulster and encouraged both Eithne and her sister to sing. She married fiddle player Gerry O’Connor, who was also her long-time musical partner, and together they formed a duo called Lá Lugh. Eithne was not only a very competent and expressive singer of traditional Irish songs, but she also wrote her own songs, and was not afraid to experiment with music, mixing old melodies with her own words or vice versa, and she sang in  English and Irish. She also played the flute. In 1998 she began recording material for a solo album. At the same time, she was struggling with severe depression, which, if I understand correctly, was a result of, or in any case accompanied by, a debilitating physical illness. A year later Eithne very sadly took her own life. All the recordings of her vocals had been completed by that time. From then on, it was Eithne’s son, Dónal O’Connor, who worked on Bilingua , together with her producer Shaun “Mudd” Wallace. However, there were some contractual problems along the way, which is why it was only released in 2014, after fifteen years. It ended up receiving lots of positive attention from various media, both English and Irish. 

   The whole record is an absolute treat. It’s full of emotions and features influences from various other countries’ traditional music, such as Breton (thanks to guitarist Gilles le Bigot who  also worked with Eithne on her earlier albums) Scandinavian or African. As I’ve  said before, Eithne is an extremely expressive singer, which is something I always appreciate  in folk music. There’s a fair bit of language play here, as Eithne smoothly switches between Irish and English, and sometimes into Latin. I like every single song on this record, which is why I had a bit of a hard time picking something, and why in the end I decided that tomorrow I am going to share one more song from this album, just so I don’t have to limit myself to one. 😀 For the first one, I chose the opening, tribal-sounding track, from which the whole album took its name. To me, it almost sounds like a tribute to language in general, which really appeals to the voracious linguaphile in me. I love all this energy flowing through it that sounds almost euphoric.