Faoiseamh 2

Another series of compositions commissioned by the Rolling Wave on RTÉ Radio and supported by ITMA.

The first series of Faoiseamh involved 10 composers and the tunes that they had composed during the 2020 lockdown. This second series features another 10 composers, who between them have submitted 17 tunes to the project.

The tunes, along with interviews with the composers, were broadcast on The Rolling Wave over two weeks in December 2021.
5 December 2021, Faoiseamh 2, Part 1
12 December 2021, Faoiseamh 2, Part 2

RTÉ Rolling Wave

The Rolling Wave is broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1 at 9pm every Sunday evening. It is presented and produced by Aoife Nic Cormaic.

Our thanks to RTÉ, the Rolling Wave and all the performers for permission to publish the recordings.

Connie O'Connell

Connie O'Connell

The two metre hornpipe [comp. Connie O'Connell] / Connie O'Connell, fiddle ; Jack Talty, piano

The two metre hornpipe [comp. Connie O'Connell]
I was trying to think what gave me the inspiration to write this hornpipe "The Two Metre Hornpipe". My mind goes back to when the Covid first started in Ireland and there were guidelines put in place about social distancing. Everywhere I went there were signs on the ground, on walls, doors, etc reading "Keep Two Metres Apart". So to mark this unusual period of our life I composed this tune in the key of G major.

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Joanie Madden

Joanie Madden

When the world stopped [comp. Joanie Madden], jig / Joanie Madden, whistle ; Gabriel Donohue, guitar

When the world stopped [comp. Joanie Madden], jig

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Damien McGeehan

Damien McGeehan

Tigry's march [comp. Damien McGeehan] ; The kicking rascal [comp. Damien McGeehan], march / Damien McGeehan, fiddle

The tunes were composed in the late summer of 2021. I found this period of the pandemic particularly stressful as I had adapted to being at home all the time and now there was work on the horizon which meant spending extended periods away from home again. Prior to the pandemic, I spent so much time away that I almost lost my sense of home & when the pandemic struck, I realized how the really important things in life could easily slip away from us and pass us by before we take the time to appreciate them. Around this time, most other people I knew were excited about 'returning to normal', or at least said they were. Instead of being excited, I found myself anxiously watching the news and constantly googling the situation regarding restrictions, travel bans etc. Leaving the little bubble I had grown accustomed to was completely stressing me out as I had found my new normal within the pandemic and I didn't want it to end just yet.

Marches by their nature have a sense of resilience, of getting ready for the battle ahead, I think that may be the reason behind these compositions and although they are dark sounding the titles are anything but!

Tigry's March [comp. Damien McGeehan]
There were 2 stray cats wandering around our house for a while. We would feed them whenever they appeared and to differentiate between the two my wife, Shauna, would refer to one as the 'tigry' one. When we were around home all the time during the first lockdown, Tigry eventually began to trust us and now we have a pet cat who sleeps in a basket by the fire. As such, she has done quite well out of the pandemic but her new owners wouldn't be the greatest with names! To this day she remains known as 'Tigry'.

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The Kicking Rascal [comp. Damien McGeehan], march
In February 2021, myself and Shauna got the fantastic news that we were going to become parents for the first time. We are looking forward to being joined by a little girl in the coming weeks. When Shauna listened to these tunes, the little girl gave her a few kicks. I hope it was to compliment the music and not her asking for it to be turned off! In any case, this tune is for our little lady who we are very excited to meet!

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Máire Breatnach

Spaisteoireacht [comp. Máire Breatnach], air / Máire Breatnach, fiddle

Spaisteoireacht [comp. Máire Breatnach], air
This is a meandering melody arising from walks during the time of Covid 19 lockdown.

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Úna Ní Fhlannagáin

Úna Ní Fhlannagáin

Breithlá Bill [comp. Úna Ní Fhlannagáin], waltz ; Válsa an Ghrianstad [comp. Úna Ní Fhlannagáin], waltz / Úna Ní Fhlannagáin, harp

Breithlá Bill [comp. Úna Ní Fhlannagáin], waltz
Bill had a big birthday and we couldn’t attend due to Covid restrictions. I wrote him this waltz to compensate.

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Válsa an Ghrianstad [comp. Úna Ní Fhlannagáin], waltz
In a year which has had much darkness, the solstice felt particularly meaningful for me. I watched a live broadcast of first light penetrating the megalithic tomb of Newgrange, and woke up the next morning with this tune in my head! It had to be called ‘Válsa an Ghrianstad’ – literally, ‘the waltz of the sun-stop’.

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I put these two tunes together; I hope that Bill will see many more solstices.


Fintan Vallely

Fintan Vallely

The Cocoonery [comp. Fintan Vallely], jig ; The Chateau [comp. Fintan Vallely], jig / Fintan Valley, flute ; Caoimhín Vallely, piano

The Cocoonery [comp. Fintan Vallely], jig

This reel started life as an exploration favoured E-minor riffs and sounds in Irish music, with a notion of syncopation and finger ‘drumming’, as in highland and uilleann piping techniques. This creeps in to vary note repetitions (bars 14 - 16) in places where the more typical Irish thing to do is to play rolls (as in bars 10-13). It ended up as a three-parter because the melody seemed to need to go further before arriving comfortably back to the beginning. It is named for the ill-considered, ageist, PR-hype buzzword that emerged in the early Covid-response months of 2020. A cocoon is a place of transformation, inside which small creatures metamorphose, typically a caterpillar becoming a butterfly. Locked-in, we all did somewhat metamorphose nightly, yes, aided by various substances. And the tune did emerge from transformation - a burbling crawl on part one, taking off to risking adventure, and flying as far as it dares before turning for home …

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The Château [comp. Fintan Vallely], jig

This tune has been adapted from another tune of mine, the reel Maisie Friels, in the way in which many Irish melodies are used to create different song, jig, reel, hornpipe and march tempos, which, with necessary timing and melody adjustments make for a new tune. Some jigs fit a reel mould well, but most don’t, and quite a lot of re-arrangement can be required, as in the case of this one. The original tune was heralded at the Forkhill Singers’ weekend in 1995, played for one of its organisers Gerry O’Hanlon, the last part eliciting an explosive, critical utterance from Ciaran Carson … It was then worked on in 2016 in the tranquility of a 12th-century crypt church under Chateau L’Anglais in Puisseguin, St. Emilion, France in the company of a reclining giant steel and copper skeletal sculpture created by artist Patricia Molins. The jig version here is the result of worrying it again during the 2021 lockdown months, aided by five dozen Puisseguin St. Emilion reds couriered over by wine-maker Gérard Dupuy, owner of the said chateau …

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Caitlín Nic Gabhann

Cailtín Nic Gabhann

An tUasal Ó Floinn [comp. Caitlín Nic Gabhann], jig ; Port Odhráin [comp. Caitlín Nic Gabhann], jig / Caitlín Nic Gabhann, concertina

I wrote these two jigs for my new nephew Ódhrán Ó Floinn. He's half Cork so I thought a few slide-type jigs would suit. I was trying to come up with a tune for Faoiseamh for a few weeks, and nothing was coming, and then on the day he was born in July, I wrote the first part of this first jig. He's the inspiration.

An tUasal Ó Floinn [comp. Caitlín Nic Gabhann], jig

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Port Odhráin [comp. Caitlín Nic Gabhann], jig

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Bríd Harper

Bríd Harper

Faoiseamh [comp. Bríd Harper], reel ; In ómós do na héisteoirí dílis [comp. Bríd Harper], barndance / Bríd Harper, fiddle

Faoiseamh [comp. Bríd Harper], reel

A reel written during the summer while I was on a break away from everything and everyone! I was in Gleann Cholm Cille in SW Donegal and spent an evening down by the Murlin river listening to the water, birdsong and the breeze. This is the story the river told on that particular day bringing "Faoiseamh".

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In ómós do na héisteoirí dílis [comp. Bríd Harper], barndance

A good many loyal followers/listeners passed away during the pandemic, go ndeana Dia trócaire orthu. I wrote this tune to remember them and in gratitude for their support. I choose a barndance as it's a common type of tune in the Donegal music repertoire and are predominantly happy, upbeat tunes.

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Dave Munnelly

Dave Munnelly

Day to day [comp. David Munnelly], air / David Munnelly, accordion ; Shane McGowan, guitar

Day to day [comp. David Munnelly], air

The tune is called “day to day” and the idea of it came about after a brief chat with Aoife Nic Cormaic about being a musician during these pandemic times and how we, as self-employed full-time musicians, live. The phrase was mentioned at some stage in our chat and for some reason stayed with me.

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Carl Hession

Carl Hession

The Bridge Mills [comp. Carl Hession], reel ; Nun's Island [comp. Carl Hession], reel ; University Road [comp. Carl Hession], reel / Tara Breen, fiddle ; Carl Hession, piano

The Bridge Mills, Nun’s Island, and University Road are well-known to Galwegians, and collectively comprise a small contiguous area in the west of the city - an area which I’ve criss-crossed for almost my entire life - from my primary school days onward, and right throughout my 35 year teaching career in the neighbouring Sea Road.

The span of the route, from the Mills to the very end of University Road, represents no more than a leisurely 10 minute stroll, and the area has retained much of its old-world charm during my lifetime.

Notable landmarks on the route include the majestic Galway Cathedral and the Eglington canal which connects Lough Corrib and Galway Bay.

The Bridge Mills [comp. Carl Hession], reel

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Nun's Island [comp. Carl Hession], reel

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University Road [comp. Carl Hession], reel

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Faoiseamh is the Irish word for relief or respite.

The final project was called 'Faoiseamh' because it describes the solace which music has given to so many people over the past few months

Aoife Nic Cormaic, 2020

Presented by Treasa Harkin, December 2021, with thanks to Aoife Nic Cormaic, RTÉ the Rolling Wave, Michelle Mulcahy, Aoife Ní Bhriain and all the composers.