Gradam Award Winner 2016 - Our Dear Dark Mountain with the Sky Over It

Congrats to all the musicians behind Our Dear Dark Mountain with the Sky Over It, and their Gradam Award for collaboration, over the weekend. The album has been added to our Download Centre where up to 80 broadcasters can now access a free download.

The album is the final output of a project that started as a PhD dissertation by project co-ordinator, creator and Téada Member Seán McElwain. Its goal has been to highlight the rich heritage and music of the Sliabh Beagh region of North Monaghan/ East Fernamagh. To achieve this he has used a number of sources for the material including the music manuscript of Sliabh Beagh collector James Whiteside (1844-1916), from Knockatallon, Co. Monaghan. He states that Whiteside was a correspondent of both P.W. Joyce (1827-1914) and Capt. Francis O’Neill (1848-1936), two of the major collectors of Irish traditional music. He was, in the Chicago collector’s estimation a genius, in equal parts scholar, poet, musician and composer.

Earlier we wrote that “musically the album is a revelation".” You can read that post here. A large team of musicians made it possible including Dónal Mc Cague (fiddle), Darren Breslin (accordion), Conor Mc Cague (banjo), Michael Rooney (concertina), Brian McGrath (piano/banjo), Laura Beagon (fiddle), Michael Mc Cague (guitar/bouzouki), Monica Beagon-Treanor (vocals) and Caitríona Sherlock (vocals).  Séan himself provided bouzouki, guitar and banjo.

When we launched the album in 2014 we included an exclusive track, and "the set below begins with two tunes retrieved from the music manuscript of Bernard Bogue - The Humours of Aughnashalvey and The Emyvale Reel. The third tune is a reel entitled Séamus Mór McKenna and comes from the manuscript of Knockatallon schoolmaster and collector James Whiteside."

We spoke to Séan about his views on this major project now that it is complete.  “I suppose the over-riding feeling now that both the PhD and the recording are finished, would be one of quiet contentment” he said. “After about 6 years of research and study, it is rewarding, as you can imagine, seeing my academic work come to life in musical form".

"It is also really gratifying to hear music from the region, which had been lost for a number of generations, brought back to life in the hands of some of the region’s current musicians. While undoubtedly there is a certain sense of personal pride in having brought the projects to a successful conclusion, I think the greater sense of satisfaction comes from knowing that the musical contributions of previous generations of musicians from the region will be finally acknowledged.”


To Download the Album click on the download logo below



Also visit

For broadcasters that are part of our Download Centre the album is available as a free download.

Musicians :

Séan McElwain ( bouzouki/guitar/banjo)

Dónal Mc Cague (fiddle)

Darren Breslin (accordion)

Conor Mc Cague (banjo)

Michael Rooney (concertina)

Brian McGrath (piano/banjo)

Laura Beagon (fiddle)

Michael Mc Cague (guitar/bouzouki)

Monica Beagon-Treanor (vocals)

Caitríona Sherlock (vocals).

Music :

Arranged : Séan McElwain & Dónal Mc Cague

Recorded & Engineered : Paul Gurney at Real World Studios Longford

Additional Recordings : John Blake at The Lions Den, Dublin and Tommy Flack at Attic Studios Co. Monaghan

Cover Photograph : Irene Suchocki

Artwork :

Sleeve Notes : Séan McElwain

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