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Bright Star of the WestJoe Heaney, Irish Song Man$
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Sean Williams and Lillis Ó Laoire

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195321180

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195321180.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 06 December 2021

Sean-nós Singing in Theory and Practice

Sean-nós Singing in Theory and Practice

(p.27) 1 Sean-nós Singing in Theory and Practice
Bright Star of the West

Sean Williams

Lillis Ó Laoire

Oxford University Press

Sean-nós Singing in Theory and Practice. This chapter explores what it meant to be a sean-nós singer in the 20th century. Based on a foundation of 19th century cultural nationalism, the Gaelic League established the Oireachtas, a competition intended to award the best of Ireland's traditional performance practices, including traditional singing. The musician and composer Seán Ó Riada later set up a series of rules about what he regarded to be proper performance practice, including performance in the Irish language, individual variation between verses, and other factors to which performers and scholars have reacted ever since. Joe Heaney was a product of this era, and his expert performances of his regional style of Connemara singing helped to set a standard that contemporary singers still refer to. The Irish language also appears as a part of the representation of national identity. The chapter closes with a discussion of Heaney's recordings.

Keywords:   sean-nós, Seán Ó Riada, variation, performance practice, cultural nationalism, regional style, Irish language, recordings, Oireachtas, Gaelic League

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