Like all traditional music, Irish folk music has
changed slowly. Most folk songs are less than two
hundred years old. One measure of its age is the
language used. Modern Irish songs are written in
English and Irish. Most of the oldest songs and tunes
are rural in origin and come from the older Irish
language tradition. Modern songs and tunes often come
from cities and towns, Gaeltacht and English-speaking
Unaccompanied vocals are called sean nós ("in the old
style") and are considered the ultimate expression of
traditional singing. This is usually performed solo
(very occasionally as a duet). Sean-nós singing is
highly ornamented and the voice is placed towards the
top of the range. A true sean-nós singer will vary the
melody of every verse, but not to the point of
interfering with the words, which are considered to
have as much importance as the melody. To the
first-time listener, accustomed to pop and classical
singers, sean-nós often sounds more "Arabic" or
"Indian" than "Western".
The Legend of John O'Connor tells the story of an Irish
Sea Captain on voyage to America.
John O’Connor is a man of his word
Captain of the “Iolar na Mara”
Him and few young sailors
are proud Irish men.
They’ll leave the coast of motherlandAlthough
originally written for folk instrumentation and voice,
I created this arrangement for Celtic and/or Concert
(Pedal) Harp Duet.