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ILBF documentary about Seán Ó Riada to air on TG4



Date Posted: December 17, 2021

Seán Ó Riada – the 20th century’s most influential Irish composer and cultural figure will be brought to television screens this St. Stephen’s Day (Sunday 26th December) on TG4 at 9:20pm in a new Irish Language Broadcast Fund documentary. Produced by Táin Media alongside Jim Sheridan for TG4 with support from University College Cork, this seminal feature length documentary, Seán Ó Riada – Mo Sheanathair, gives an intimate portrayal of Seán Ó Riada like never seen before.

Fifty years after his death in October 1971, his granddaughter; musician and broadcaster Doireann Ní Ghlacáin, resolves to find out more about this divisive and iconic figure. As she investigates her own heritage, by charting her grandfather’s life and times, we uncover the true Ó Riada in a moving tribute to this giant of Irish cultural life.

Featuring performances from some of Ireland’s leading musicians and singers such as international concert pianist Barry Douglas, Iarla Ó Lionáird, Nell Ní Chróinín, Steve Cooney, Cormac McCarthy, Cór Chúil Aodha and Doireann Ní Ghlacáin herself. Ní Ghlacáin delves into the archives and presents an intimate portrayal of Ó Riada supported by family, friends and expert analysis of his work through interviews with contemporaries such as Sean Keane (The Chieftains) & Seán Ó Sé. Ní Ghlacáin offers up a nuanced and personal account that unveils much of the story missing in the general narrative on Ó Riada’s life through moving interviews with her mother Sorcha Ní Riada, her aunt Rachel Ní Riada and her uncle Peadar Ó Riada.

This punchy and modern documentary is told from the perspective of a young woman, trying to gain an insight into her grandfather’s legacy as she embarks on her own career in music and in so doing it showcases the vibrant and evolving traditional music and folk scene in Ireland.

We trace Ó Riada’s steps from his college days in UCC to the jazz bars of Paris and back to the Gaeltacht of West Cork and Kerry. We explore his prolific compositional work, his broadcasting, influences and anecdotes and we gain an understanding into what really caused his early demise at just 40 years of age. The female voice is very much to the fore in this documentary and we bear witness to an alternative view of Ó Riada’s legacy, in particular from the perspective of his wife Ruth Ní Riada who also died tragically, just 6 years after Ó Riada.

Directed by Feilimí O’Connor & Produced by Dónal O’Connor this is the first feature length documentary by Táin Media. Co-written by Doireann Ní Ghlacáin & Feilimí O’Connor and in collaboration with executive producers Jim Sheridan & Neil Martin, this is a much-anticipated documentary debut for the fledgling production company.

Seán Ó Riada – Mo Sheanathair airs on St. Stephen’s Day (Sunday 26th December) at 9:20pm on TG4.


Beidh Seán Ó Riada – cumadóir agus pearsa cultúir is ceannasaí na hÉireann sa 20ú haois – ar bhur scáileáin ar Lá Fhéile Stiofáin (Dé Domhnaigh 26ú Nollaig) ar TG4 ag 9.20 i gclár faisnéise nua de chuid an Chiste Craoltóireachta Gaeilge. Táin Media a léirigh an clár seo i dteannta an Léiritheora Feidhmiúcháin a bhfuil ainmniúcháin Oscar faighte aige Jim Sheridan do TG4, le tacaíocht ó Ollscoil na hÉireann, Corcaigh. Clár faisnéise fada ceannródaíoch is é Seán Ó Riada – Mo Sheanathair ina dtugtar an-léargas ar Sheán Ó Riada, léargas nár tugadh riamh roimhe seo.

Leathchéad bliain i ndiaidh a bháis i nDeireadh Fómhair na bliana 1971, tá sé socraithe ag a ghariníon, an ceoltóir agus an craoltóir, Doireann Ní Ghlacáin, tuilleadh a fháil amach faoin bpearsa aitheanta seo a dheighleann daoine. De réir mar a bheidh sí ag fiosrú a cuid oidhreachta, trí shaol agus ré a seanathar a leagan amach, tabharfar saol Uí Riada chun fíre trí aitheantas tochtmhar a thabhairt d’fhathach seo shaol cultúir na hÉireann.

Beidh roinnt de cheoltóirí agus amhránaithe ceannródaíocha na hÉireann páirteach sa chlár chomh maith, leithéidí an phianódóra ceolchoirme idirnáisiúnta Barry Douglas, Iarla Ó Lionáird, Nell Ní Chróinín, Steve Cooney, Cormac McCarthy, Peadar Ó Riada, Cór Chúil Aodha, Seán Ó Sé agus Doireann Ní Ghlacáin í féin.

Déantar ábhar an chláir faisnéise nua-aimseartha agus fhuinniúil seo a insint trí shúile na mná óige, atá ag iarraidh léargas a fháil ar oidhreacht a seanathar agus í anois ag tabhairt faoina gairm bheatha féin sa cheol, é sin go léir agus ardán á thabhairt ag an am céanna do shaol bríomhar an cheoil thraidisiúnta agus an cheoil tíre atá ag teacht chun cinn in Éirinn.

Leanfar saol Uí Riada óna chuid laethanta in UCC go dtí tithe ósta snagcheoil Pháras agus ar ais arís go dtí ceantair Ghaeltachta Iarthar Chorcaí agus Chiarraí. Fiosrófar a shaothar ollmhór cumadóireachta, an chraoltóireacht a rinne sé, na daoine a d’imir tionchar air agus scéalta agus tuiscint á fáil againn ar an méid ba chionsiocair i ndáiríre lena bhás agus gan é ach 40 bliain d’aois. Tá glór na mban chun tosaigh go mór sa chlár faisnéise seo, agus tugtar léargas eile ar oidhreacht Uí Riada dúinn, go háirithe ó dhearcadh a mhná céile Ruth Uí Riada a bhásaigh go tragóideach freisin 6 bliana ghairide i ndiaidh Uí Riada.

Arna stiúradh ag Feilimí O’Connor agus arna léiriú ag Dónal O’Connor, is é seo an chéad chlár faisnéise fada de chuid Táin Media. Is iad Doireann Ní Ghlacáin agus Feilimí O’Connor a chomhscríobh an clár i gcomhar leis na léiritheoirí feidhmiúcháin Jim Sheridan agus Neil Martin, an chéad chlár faisnéise a bhfuiltear ag súil go mór leis ón gcomhlacht léiriúcháin seo nach bhfuil i bhfad ar bóthar.

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