German seanchaí shares Irish stories

The German man known as Harald Mór in his adopted home village of Ranafast has just returned from Singapore, where he entertained audiences with Irish fairy tales and legends.

The German man known as Harald Mór in his adopted home village of Ranafast has just returned from Singapore, where he entertained audiences with Irish fairy tales and legends.

Over the years Harald Juengst has brought his Irish storytelling to all five continents, with performances in Namibia, India, Australia, the United States and Canada, as well as a number of countries in continental Europe.

Singapore was the 20th country in which Harald has performed, and he will be in Luxembourg, Austria and Spain later this year.

“Country number 21 will be Spain, in November, ” Harald said.

He is back for some weeks now in Ranafast, which has been his home from home since the late 1970s. Harald said he always finds a receptive audience for the Irish tales. There is something universal about them, he said.

“Of course, fairy tales are telling lessons, giving out certain ethos and rules, and there are twists and turns, but especially in Irish fairy tales there is humour and wit that comes across, very, very well with the audience, ” he said.

Harald was invited to perform at the Kinokuniya bookshop in Singapore, where he performed the stories of Finn McCool, the Children of Lír, Oisin and Tír na nÓg, stories he performs in his CD audiobook, “Irish Fairy Tales”. In his performances, Harald adopts different voices for different characters to bring the stories to life.

“That’s fun for me too, how people react to that, ” he said. “It’s a little theatre act, a one-man show that I do. I’m one person and can play, maybe, six different characters.

“There is also a lot of fun and wit in the Irish fairy tales, ” Harald said. He said his hosts in Singapore told him the fairy tales of that country are, “a little bit more romantic or melancholic”.

He has just released a CD audiobook with Chinese stories in German, and while he enjoyed that project his main audience remains the people who love the Irish tales. His earlier double CD audiobook, “My Green Heartbeat”, is a collection of stories he picked up in Donegal. Harald is also a broadcaster in his native Germany and regularly features Irish traditional and folk music in his radio programmes.

Until the end of August, Harald is in west Donegal, where he has indulged in another passion, his love of Irish traditional music. He has been playing the bodhrán with his friends from the band Fioruisce every Thursday in Leo’s Tavern in Meenaleck/Crolly and every Saturday in Caisleann Oir, or Jack’s, in Annagry. But he is already planning performances and further travels for 2016.

The Singapore performance, he said, “was an opener for an Asian tour for next year”.