The fiddle playing of Saileog Ní Cheannabháin

The talent of some people!

The most exciting new music I’ve heard this week is from Saileog Ní Cheannabháin. Ní Cheannabháin is best known to date as a singer (most recently supporting the Begley and Cooney concert in St Nicholas’ Church, Galway, but it’s fiddle and viola playing that she’s impressed a lot of people with this week. In 2012 on Raelach Records she released her debut album, I bhfíor-dheiriú oidhche, which consisted of twelve songs that Séamus Ennis collected in Iorras Aithneach, Conamara, between the years 1942–1945. While Ní Cheannabháin is not from Iorras Aithneach, her father, sean nós singer Peadar Ó Ceannabháin (who released the solo record Mo Chuid den tSaol in 1997) is, and as Ní Cheannabháin explained at the time to the Journal of Music, ‘We always spent holidays with relatives in Aill na Brún in the Iorras Aithneach region’. A native Irish speaker, her sean-nós singing style is mainly influenced by singers from Iorras Aithneach. Her singing also features on compilations such as the Cormac Begley produced Tunes in the Church and the publication The Otherworld: Music and Song From Irish Tradition, edited by Ríonach uí Ógáin and Tom Sherlock.

As I say, she also plays the fiddle (as well as piano and viola), and here is a recording of her playing the reels ‘Glen of Aherlow’ and ‘Tomeen O’Dees’ made by Jack Talty of Raelach Records some months ago. She’s been getting many comments of praise for it online, and rightly so. Hopefully she’ll be back in the studio again soon recording some fiddle music.

Having graduated with a BMus (2009), University College Cork awarded her the Seán Ó Riada Prize. She has performed at various festivals and venues in Ireland and abroad, including Féile Joe Éiniú, Scoil Geimhreadh Merriman, Cooley-Collins Festival and Scoil Samhradh Willie Clancy.

She is available for teaching in Dublin and via Skype >


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