Top Irish sean-nós singer lights up Mayo shop with impromptu performance
Sibéal Ní Chasaide, one of Ireland's foremost sean-nós singers and recording artists, is releasing her new four-track EP, entitled Clapsholas, on August 5.
The Castlebar-based medical student delighted customers in Collins' Music Shop, Castle Street, with an impromptu performance of 'Over the Rainbow,' one of the songs from her forthcoming EP.
She was accompanied by staff members, violinist Niamh O'Donnell and guitarist Sean Murphy.
Her previous EP, recorded at the famous Abbey Road in Liverpool, won wide acclaim three years ago.
She also launched her debut album in 2019 entitled Sibéal.
Sibéal first shot to fame in March 2016 when, as a 17-year-old Leaving Cert. student, she sang Pádraig Pearse's poem, Mise Éire, live at the 1916 Centenary concert at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre broadcast by RTÉ.
"My new EP takes sean-nós singing into a new space for me. But I am still working with an orchestra and with classical arrangements.
"The pieces are drawn from different strands of music and I hope people enjoy them.
"The title Clapsholas relates to the twilight, the time of the day when you don't know whether or not your eyes are playing tricks on you.
"It encompasses all things mysterious and magical. I can't wait for everybody to hear it," she stated.
It can be downloaded from the usual streaming platforms, including Spotify, YouTube Music, Tidal, Apple Music, Amazon and Deezer.
A native of Ráth Chairn in Co. Meath, she told The Connaught Telegraph she is really enjoying combining her singing career with her studies in Castlebar.
"My medical studies at Mayo University Hospital are taking up a lot of time so I have dedicate myself to those during the academic year.
"But once I get into my summer holidays I try to get all my recordings done, perform as many gigs as possible and do all the production I need to do.
"So I am at a point now where I am letting the music happen and see where it take me, so to speak.
"I love Castlebar and there is so much music in the community.
"I enjoy dropping into Collins' Music Shop and I am learning a great deal at Mayo University Hospital.
"It's a great town to a part of," she added.
You can enjoy a preview of her one of her four recordings on her new EP, released on Besant Hall Records, of 'Twilight Lavender' here.
The names of the other tracks on Clapsholas are 'Over the Rainbow', 'Seoithín Seo' and 'An Chulfhionn'.
The recording of the E.P. was a form of escapism for Sibéal, which she described when discussing the song choices.
“I suppose that recording this E.P. was a method of escapism for me myself. It is a beautiful thing to become lost in music and to forget the real world for a few moments.”
The preview single, ‘Twilight Lavender’, was written by Sibéal, and draws on both her traditional roots as well as her love for contemporary music.
She explained: “Twilight Lavender is a song I wrote a few years ago. It has a sense of dreaming and escapism about it that I love.
"I suppose I was in a situation that I needed to escape from. I didn’t feel that this song fits into any specific genre, and I wanted it to feel like a stream of consciousness rather than planned out with a rigid structure.
"I think that the looseness of the form feeds into the idea of escapism and magic. Twilight itself is the most magical part of the day when your eyes can play tricks on you.
"Lavender is a magical flower that I read once can make your wishes come true when used correctly.
"There are a lot of stories about magic, spirits, and fairies in our tradition in Ireland and I suppose that some of this has been passed down to me even if it’s a subconscious thought rather than a conscious belief in them.”
Magic and traditional stories were a strong influence across the whole EP, weaving themselves through the song choices.
“I wanted the entire EP to have the same echo of mystery, escapism and the supernatural.
"'Seoithín Seó is a lullaby that a mother sings to her baby. She is singing by her child’s side and won’t let the fairies take her baby away.
"The idea behind this version of the lullaby is to engage the listener into a trance. That they find peace within the song by falling into a trance.”
Of course, Sibéal’s traditional Irish heritage has also played into the choice of 'An Chúlfhionnm', a love song.
"It was my grandfather’s favourite song and I grew up listening to my father and my uncles play it.”
Continuing the theme of magic, and other worlds, the EP also includes a hypnotic new version of ‘Over The Rainbow’, which Sibéal describes as “a song that is all about escaping a world that you feel isn’t for you or perhaps has failed you.
"It’s a wonderful thing to be able to use your imagination to dream and to escape the real world into a beautiful new one.
"This is why ‘Rainbow’ suited this E.P. so perfectly.”