Gaelturas - a new enterprise

Gaelturas - a new enterprise
During the course of Irish culture, people have carried traditions through to new generations, one of those doing that now is Doimnic Mac Giolla Bhríde.

During the course of Irish culture, people have carried traditions through to new generations, one of those doing that now is Doimnic Mac Giolla Bhríde.

In 2013, Doimnic and his colleague Cormac Ó Cuinn established “Gaelturas” a new Irish language adult education course with special emphasis given to the elements of language, song, dance and storytelling.

The entire course promises to be fun and upbeat with many traveling from near and far to be a part of it.

In 2013, Doimnic taught sean-nós to five people from Japan.

“We will be running another course this Easter. During the first course forty people attended,” he said.

During their short time in Gaoth Dobhair those who attend the course are afforded the opportunity of learning the intrinsic parts of the rich fabric of culture which are inherent to the area.

A native of Gaoth Dobhair, Doimnic has been immersed in all that has and is associated with the Irish language and culture.

His mother Nellie Eoghain Nic Giolla Bhríde, brought Doimnic, alongside local children to competitions throughout the country, affording them the opportunity of appreciating the value of tradition.

She taught Irish singing classes in Scoil Bun an Inbhear, An Crannóg and Teach Mhuiris. Many took much away from these classes and continue to compete and appreciate the gifts that they learnt.

In recent years, Doimnic, his brother Eoghan and his mother published “Ici Picí” a beautifully illustrated book featuring twenty four exciting new songs in Irish for children of all ages. Nellie was the author of the book while Doimnic composed the music.

Now in his 30’s, Doimnic continues in the rich tradition of song and music often casting the national spotlight on his native Gaoth Dobhair.

The singer, who won the esteemed Corn Uí Riada in 2009, recently enjoyed a stay in New York where he taught a course in New York University. He returns to New York in March.

“There are many people in New York who appreciated the Irish culture and enjoy learning about it. The Irish tradition is becoming increasingly strong there,” he said.

At the moment, Doimnic is teaching the art of sean-nós singing to those who are in attendance at the final Frankie Kennedy Winter School.

The event attracts people from across the globe and people who attend are given the opportunity of being taught by the best musicians and singers in the country.

Doimnic has become renowned for his characteristic singing voice, his acute attention to the true tradition within his songs and his ability to add arrangements to traditional song whilst retaining the true nature of the song.

This year, he and Prionsias Mac a’ Bhaird won a huge accolade at Oireachtas na Gaeilge.

An established writer, Prionsias wrote a new sean-nós song whilst Doimnic composed the music.

Oireachtas na Gaeilge has proven an invaluable stage for singers. The importance of the event is one which Doimnic underlines.

“Oireachtas na Gaeilge is the reason that I began to learn songs,” the young man who has never missed an Oireachtas since his childhood said.

Over the years, Doimnic has amassed huge recognition for his selection of rare songs during competitions. He has since become a sought after adjudicator at such events.

He has sourced songs for the event from those who are and were steeped in the tradition, Annie Eoin Eamoinn, Nellie Ní Dhomhnaill, Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh and well known singer and lecturer, Lilis Ó’Laoire.

During his academic days, Doimnic studied music at Chatham Row in the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT).

His main focus, during the course was traditional Irish music. He progressed to a Masters at the University of Limerick.

His academic research and his appreciation of tradition has brought a new and inspiring new energy to sean-nós and traditional music. His technical ability combined with his ability to complement sean-nós singing to stunning musical arrangement is one that is certain to be a lasting legacy.

Many people who have been inspired by the Carraic Mac Eamharcaigh man have been members of his choirs. He first established “Cór Thaobh a Leithid” and following its success established choirs in Belfast and Castlewellan. Cór Thaobh a Leithid has had many successes, in 2008 they performed in a special concert of newly composed pieces by Dónal Lunny. In 2009 the choir performed a set of songs newly arranged for choir and string quintet by Doimnic as part of the Errigal Art’s Festival. A CD of their songs has amassed huge appreciation.

Doimnic’s first solo album was released in 2004, “Saol na Suáilce,” which echoes of an old ancestry of Donegal sean-nós song. He has since released “Smúidghealach.” This rich compilation of music and song is one that immerses the ancient past with the present. A rich tapestry of song and music that is wholly representative of the very cultural fabric of his native home.

“Guallibh a’ chéile” compiled by Doimnic and Griogair Labhruidh is a beautiful body of work which epitomises the strong link enjoyed by west Ulster and Scotland.

Doimnic is presently organising a sean-nós festival in Belfast for February 8 in conjunction with Cumann Cultúrtha Mhic Reachtain. There will be workshops with Lilis Ó Laoire, Nollaig Ní Laoire and Nell Ní Chronín followed by a concert. A dedication to hard work whilst adhering to the style and nature of his culture has led Doimnic to creating a huge range of vastly different works over the last number of years. His appetite for creation promises to put Doimnic on par with those who carried a culture and a talent to a new level in years gone by.