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New Album Brings Poetry Composed by 1916 Leaders to Life

A new album celebrating the artistic heritage of the signatories of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic has been released by the arts collective Guthanna Binne Síoraí / Everlasting Voices this week.

The album, entitled ‘Blood on the Rose / Fuil ar an Rós’, features the poems of 1916 and has contributions by four of the signatories of the Proclamation, in addition to their contemporaries, W.B. Yeats, Francis Ledwidge, Roger Casement and Eva Gore Booth.

Acclaimed Irish-language writer and poet Gabriel Rosenstock translated some of the poems into Irish, and recites poetry on the album himself.  Well-known actress Geraldine Plunkett (formerly of ‘Glenroe’ fame and currently starring in ‘Fair City’) also recites some of the poems, alongside actor and voice coach Cathal Quinn and musician and academic Síle Denvir.

Musical accompaniments are provided by some of Ireland’s best-known traditional musicians, including Enda Reilly, Sadhbh Ní Fhloinn, Oisín MacDiarmada and John Blake.  The album was produced by Tristan Rosenstock.

Commenting today (03.03.16) on the album’s launch, Cathal Quinn – who serves as Artistic Director for Guthanna Binne Síoraí / Everlasting Voices, said: “Of the seven signatories of the Proclamation, three were poets; Ceantt played the Uilleann pipes; Connolly published articles weekly and wrote songs; Plunkett and perhaps McDonagh could be considered mystics; many were Gaeilgeoirí and at least two spoke Esperanto.

“The signatories – and many of their close friends and contemporaries – were a very culturally rich set of people, with wide-ranging artistic interests and influences.

“On this album, we have attempted to capture the cultural heritage of the 1916 leaders and some of their peers.  We feature their poems in their original forms, as well as some translated into Irish, and with musical accompaniments evoking the era in which the works were composed.”

The tracks on the ‘Blood on the Rose / Fuil ar an Rós’ album include:

·       ‘I See His Blood Upon the Rose’ by Joseph Mary Plunkett (with Irish translation by Gabriel Rosenstock).
·        ‘Mise Éire / I am Ireland’ by Pádraig Pearse, recited by Geraldine Plunkett and Síle Denvir.
·       ‘The Watchword of Labour’ by James Connolly, sung by Enda Reilly with piano accompaniment by Sadhbh Ní Fhloinn.
·       ‘Within the Temple’ by Thomas MacDonagh, recited by Gabriel Rosenstock
·       ‘Lament for Thomas MacDonagh’ by Francis Ledwidge (with Irish translation by Gabriel Rosenstock), recited by Gabriel Rosenstock and Cathal Quinn.
·       ‘The Irish Language / An Teanga Ghaeilge’ by Roger Casement (translated into Irish by Gabriel Rosenstock).
·       ‘To Constance Markievicz on her Prison Birthday, February 1917’ by Eva Gore-Booth, recited by Geraldine Plunkett.
·       ‘Easter, 1916’ by W. B. Yeats, recited by Cathal Quinn with musical accompaniment by Enda Reilly on electric guitars.
·       ‘Heroic Death, 1916’ by Eva Gore-Booth, recited by Geraldine Plunkett.

“This year, much of the focus of the 1916 centenary activities is on the political context, legacy and achievements of those involved,” said Cathal Quinn.  “We were keen to do something to celebrate the artistic achievements of the signatories, and acknowledge their cultural contribution to Ireland.  It was with this in mind that we set about combining the poetry of Plunkett, Pearse, McDonagh, Connolly and some of their best-known peers with both traditional and classical music.”

The ‘Blood on the Rose / Fuil ar an Rós’ album was officially launched by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Críona Ní Dhálaigh, at an event in The Workman’s Club, Dublin, last night.  It is available to buy from Claddagh Records or through the website, and is priced at €15.

Live performances of tracks from the album will take place in Dublin for the 1916 Four Courts Relatives group, as well as in Cork at the Ó Bhéal poetry event on Easter Monday, and in Leipzig, Germany, later this month.

Permalink - Posted: March 3, 2016 at 3:07 pm