Róisín Reimagined is an exciting collaboration between singer Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh, musician and producer Dónal O’Connor, The Irish Chamber Orchestra, and 6 Irish composer/arrangers; Cormac McCarthy, Paul Campbell, Linda Buckley, Sam Perkin, Niamh Varian-Barry, and Michael Keeney – who all come from very different musical worlds.

The material is drawn from the Sean Nós (Old Style) tradition, with emphasis on those songs that may be deemed examples of the native Irish Classical style. These works typically date from the 16th-19th century, and bear the hallmarks of high art and learning in Gaelic culture.

Éist le Muireann ag caint le Tristan Rosenstock faoin dtogra anseo

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There has been a noted waning of popularity for these songs, due to the decline in the language, the difficulty in execution, and their perceived inaccessibility for those outside the tradition. They are melodically complex, usually unaccompanied, highly ornamented, featuring deft use of language, imagery and metaphor. The emotional impact of songs featured in this project such as An Chúlfhionn or Róisín Dubh was shown in recent media performances Muireann gave of them during Lockdown, which showcased them to a wider audience. People commented on their sense of connectivity to the songs and experiencing an enhanced awareness of this culture. Some audiences will encounter these songs for the first time, and the songs will reconnect with others through a different avenue.

The cross-genre approach saw Muireann working together with six arrangers, conductor and musicians, and includes significant experimentation. The Irish Chamber Orchestra has a proven track record of successful collaboration in strengthening and exploring the creative interplay between traditional and classical music genres. It is appropriate that these songs be performed with orchestral arrangement in a contemporary idiom, given that the context in which many of them were composed was that of the Classical music and literature of medieval and post-medieval Ireland. In many instances, they bear witness to the artistic culture of Gaelic Ireland, which was under siege and endangered; the high art of their era.

It is hoped that, by presenting these works in this way, we will stimulate performer and audience interest in the Classical Sean Nós repertoire, while at the same time re-contextualising them as a vital and living expression of contemporary Ireland. It is a wonderful opportunity to involve exciting and innovative Irish composers/arrangers, both established and emerging artists, in a project that has afforded them the opportunity to engage with Sean Nós in a way that allows for rich cross-fertilisation.

"My great friend and producer Dónal O’Connor and I spent a lot of Lockdown researching songs and on zoom meetings with the composers, the ICO, and the wonderful Olga Barry from the Kilkenny Arts Festival, who is putting this mammoth event in place. We are currently in rehearsals, and I can honestly say I have never been prouder or more excited by a musical project. Deirtear gurb é anáil na beatha an t-athrú. This was something that kept me going during the dark winter of 2020. As a singer, this feels like a seminal moment for me, and I can’t wait to share the fruits of our labour with you.

Due to the current constraints, our audience in Kilkenny will be limited, and we really don’t want this music to be a one-off, after all the effort has been put into it. To that end, we have decided to record it and release it as an album.

This Kickstarter is your chance to pre-order this recording, and to enable us to fulfil this slightly crazy ambition of ours. Below are more details on Róisín Reimagined, and a list of rewards available if you choose to donate. PRE ORDER THE ALBUM on VINLY, CD or Digital" - Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh.

As part of the project the 12 songs are now available to pre-order as a vinyl, CD or Digital Download via KickStarter

The project has been brought to life with support of the Kilkenny Arts Festival, The Irish Chamber Orchestra agus Foras na Gaeilge.