A new song written by Seoirse Ó Dochartaigh, Kinnegoe Bay artist, musician and singer, and Buncrana writer Áine Durkin will reprsent Ireland in the Pan Celtic Song Congest in April.
Their song, “Le Do Thaobh”, was the only Donegal entry in the Pan Celtic National Song Contest, held in Carlow last week and hosted by television personality Daithí Ó Sé. They topped a group of 20 finalists who had been selected from a total of 55 entries.
The contest is sponsored by IMRO in association with Gael Linn.
Seoirse said the song came about last summer, when he was playing, singing and telling stories weekly at the Red Door restaurant in Fahan. One night he was approached by Áine, originally from Connemara, who lives in Buncrana.
“She said to me, ‘I’ve got a poem I’d like you to set to music,’” Seoirse recalled. “I arrange a lot of music, but I had never sat down much and composed a tune.”
“It was my first outing as a songwriter,” he said.
The song “Le Do Thaobh” is based on a poem Áine wrote about her sister Ciara, who died tragically in Afghanistan in 2007. Áine wrote the words shortly after Ciara’s first memorial,
“It is kind of a lament for her, in the style of the old Irish caoineadh,” Seoirse said. “Áine wrote this very touching poem about how much she missed her and I came up with a suitable melody, quite melancholic, but it’s got a nice lift to it, I think.”
It was Seoirse alone, playing his guitar and singing, in the national competition last Thursday, as Áine watched from the wings. “It was about getting good lyrics and a good tune and something that sounds Celtic, and I think we delivered on that,” he said.
Seoirse will perform “Le Do Thaobh”, representing Ireland, in the International Pan Celtic Song Contest in Carlow on April 4th, where the song will be up against entries from the other participating Celtic nations of Wales, Scotland, Brittany, Cornwall and The Isle of Man.
Seoirse is currently working on the release of his new CD, “Windmills of the Mind”. The songs range from Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan, to traditional songs from Donegal. The Henry Girls perform on all 18 tracks on the CD and Seoirse’s daughter, Neassa, also sings on two of the songs. The CD is due for release in the next few weeks.