Wednesday, 20 May 2015

A different voice

one word challengeHave you noticed how the fashion for different voices changes down the years?

Here in Ireland we went from classical to very localised accents in folk and traditional music.   My young singers want to all sound like Rhianna or Florence while my older singers try to shake off their pseudo classical training which was the order of the day in schools right up to the turn of this century.  

As this post is linking up with #1wordbloglinkup and the word this week is voice, I thought I'd let you hear a very different voice from here.  

Sean nós (pronounced shan'osse) is the term given to very traditional singers  - those who were lucky enough to escape formal tuition and grow up with traditional music around them - it is a much earthier style of singing.  Sean nós means literally old bones, but it's taken as meaning old style - very traditional, highly ornamented, and always unaccompanied.   

I love this guy's voice - his name is Iarla O'Lionaird.  He is speaking in Kerry Irish at the start of the video - I don't really understand much of it, but I love the sound and you might like his voice - it sounds almost oriental in style.   And if you have the patience to get to the end of it, there's another singer singing a contemporary parody song, but in that old style - the song is  called The Bodhran Song (the bodhran is the Irish hand drum) from about 2.30 in the video recorded at the Puck Fair which honours the goat as king - don't ask!!




When I'm working with young singers I try to encourage them to find their own voice.    We have always been highly influenced by American music here.  As a result all the young singers sing with a twang and try to be as big and brassy as their current idol.  It takes a lot of patience on their part to lose that twang - unless of course they intend to sing Country'n'Irish - and that's a story for another day.    

What's your favourite kind of music?  Do you have any unusual styles in your area?  I'd love to hear. 

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This post is part of the One Word Blog Linkup hosted weekly each Wednesday by:
 Lisa – The Golden Spoons
Marcia – Blogitudes


15 comments:

  1. This is a really fascinating perspective on voice Fil. That video is amazing. What a treasure to have those languages!

    And I have to say, I totally want to go to a celebration for goat king. Won't find anything like that here in Chicago, although we have a few politicians who I think can be likened to asses. :-)

    I read an interesting article this week about a study that indicates our discovery of music stops at around age 33 - it's harder then to embrace newer things as our "preferences" are set.

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    1. It's lovely to her Irish spoken by a native speaker - sadly it's not widely used - there are only three parts of the country where it is still the first language.
      That's an interesting study about music preferences - I suppose there could be some truth in it especially as we get older and can't relate to the younger generation's music like our parents couldn't relate to ours.

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  2. I absolutely love this and seriously think this could apply to writing, as well, because as writers we most certainly like singers need to find our own voices when putting ourselves out there for the masses.

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    1. For songwriters too Janine ... and it is a hard thing to find or at least to trust. Our physical voices are as unique as our fingerprints - perhaps our literal voice is too, and we have to learn to accept it and go with it.

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  3. As usual, I learn so much from your posts! I loved to know about Sean nos and I did hear till theparody (Col O'Donnell) and all is so nice! I didn't know the bodhran name, just the instrument - I love watching traditional Irish bands, singers and dance! I lived parts of the year in Dublin and I was mesmerized with everything! Eager to go back and to listen to the fanntastic music again. In a funny way, I found during my music studies now, a group in the south of Brazil calles IrishFellas! https://www.youtube.com/user/IrishFellas
    I also didn't know aoout Kerry Irish, only Kerry Godl - now it makes sense to me! Well, I like celtic music, Turkish too, flamenco songs and Indian music. I am ecletic, I suppose. I know what you mean by the twang... it's kind of "imposed" :)
    DenisesPlanet.com

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    1. There is so much fabulous music from around the world available to us now - I love flamenco and African music particularly from Senegal and that part of the world. And South American - oh that is so fabulous - full of sunshine and energy. It's very funny to find an Irish group in Brazil, but our music has travelled very far - we are blessed by it without a doubt.

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  4. So cool! I've not heard anyone speech in Irish Gaelic before!
    When I was in Indonesia, three of my University classes were to learn to sing in Balinese style and Javanese style- I enjoyed the Javanese style but I found the Balinese style too nasal and catty- not my aesthetic! I did, however, get an A for my Javanese singing exam- highest in my cohort!xx

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    1. That must have been so interesting Kezzie - lucky you getting to study in Indonesia - was that a part of your degree or the whole degree? Do you still keep going with the Javanese singing - I'm afraid I don't know much about Asian singing - it all sounded very nasal to me, but then women singing sean-nos style sounds a lot like that too.

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  5. How interesting! Being from the American South, I have always listened to country music, but it has changed enormously, too. The Country music of today, sounds much like the "pop" music of 20 years ago. Interesting how things change over time!

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    1. Country music is huge here - and it really has changed. I never liked old timey country when I was younger but I adored Emmylou and Linda Ronstadt and Dolly of course. Now I enjoy the older styles, the Carter Family and some of the great songwriters - John Prine and so on.
      We see a lot of newer Americana artists coming through our way now as well as the bigger stars. Garth Brooks sold 5 concerts of 80,000 people a night for shows last year - that's over 10% of the population of Ireland!!! Unfortunately the shows had to be cancelled due to a huge bureaucratic mess up.

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  6. I loved the first guy - the goat not so much! No wonder you had a turkey for Eurovision! Interesting that American twang affects your young singers - we hear it a lot in young Aussie singers too. Nice to have found your blog!

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    1. Oh the embarrassment - the bloody turkey!!!!! After winning the contest 7 times, they do that to us ... Terrible ... and then those stupid twins weren't any better. Ah well Ireland probably couldn't afford to win it again anyway. :) :)

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  7. Music certainly does change over time. I was a teenager in the 70s and loved Pop music. Now (as Lisa mentioned) today's Country is very much like the old Pop music - a little more twang than the old Pop had, but still I'm glad to have it to listen to today. Your post today is very enlightening about other types of music. I enjoyed it and thank you for linking up and sharing it with #1Word. :) And I have to ask.... a goat as king?

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    1. Yes, the goat :) That's a festival called the Puck Fair and to be truthful I actually don't know much about it - it's down in Kerry. I must check it out :) Hysterical ... Any excuse for a drinking session in the old days.
      I'm like you Marcia - a teenager in the 70s too and I was an avid Pop Music fan - wouldn't have missed Top of the Pops for anything. And yes there is some fabulous country music around, but the pop scene is great at the minute too, particularly with British bands and songwriters. Do you get to see a show presented by Jools Holland where he introduces lots of new acts alongside well seasoned performers - all a bit off main stream ... great programme.
      Thank you for doing this link up ... it's great fun. And so interesting to read everyone else's stories too.

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  8. after i read this post.. and i totally love the video.. i got to agree with you that the student's need to find their own "voice" and not following their idol to be original.. never heard about "Kerry Irish".. is this another language? I love Iarla O'Lionaird's singing.. very peaceful.. thank you for teaching me something new today.

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