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Ceol Chogadh na Saoirse airs this weekend on TG4



Date Posted: November 13, 2019

With 18 new recordings of songs associated with the Irish War of Independence and Civil War from some of Ireland’s finest musical talent, Ceol Chogadh na Saoirse explores the complex relationship the Irish people have with these songs and how it changed over the last 100 years.

In a pioneering four-part Irish Language Broadcast Fund series, produced by Imagine Media for TG4, Ceol Chogadh na Saoirse examines the works of notable song writers, such as Peadar Kearney and Brian O’Higgins before progressing through the ballad boom of the 60s, the more recent struggles in the north of the country and into the modern day.

The first episode in the series shows how the songs which were instrumental in igniting the War of Independence and keeping up morale during some of the darkest days were subsequently shunned by the newly established Free State Government after the Civil War. New performances of old songs are dotted throughout the series and in this episode, “The Foggy Dew” and “Whack Fol the Diddle” are among the performances by Casey’s Crew and The Rapparees.

As the series progresses, the story turns to perhaps Ireland’s greatest writer of rebel songs, Brian O’ Higgins. In the second episode, changes in the political environment and in musical tastes during the 30s and 40s are explored – as well as a little known piece of legislation called the Dance Hall Act – which meant that by the beginning of the 1950s, the vast majority of all the songs written during the War of Independence were lost. This episode moves into a new era musically with various performances including the Brian O’Higgins song, “The Song of the Dawn” by Eddi Reader and the well known song, “Kevin Barry” performed by Seán Keane.

The 1960s saw a small number of War of Independence songs once again come to prominence as part of the ballad boom. By examining the historical facts behind songs such as “Valley of Knockanure and “Lonely Woods of Upton, the third episode in the Ceol Chogadh na Saoirse series illustrates how instrumental these songs have been in shaping a popular narrative of the Tan War. Pauline Scanlan, Barry Kerr and Ger Wolfe are among the artists appearing in this episode.

By exploring the story of Belfast band, The Wolfhound, the final programme in the Ceol Chogadh na Saoirse series shows how during the recent struggles, many songs associated with the Irish Civil War experienced a revival, particularly among the nationalist communities in the north, at the same time as all rebel songs were being banned from the airwaves in the south of Ireland. With performances from artists such as Brian Kennedy and Goat’s Don’t Shave, the magic of these songs is recaptured in a new and exciting way.

Ceol Chogadh na Saoirse, an Imagine Media Production for TG4 with support from Northern Ireland Screen’s Irish Language Broadcast Fund will air from Sunday 17th November at 9:30pm for four-weeks.


Agus 18 mbuntaifead nua ann d’amhráin a bhaineann le Cogadh Saoirse agus le Cogadh Cathartha na hÉireann, ó chuid den tálann is fearr atá ag teacht chun cinn in Éirinn, fiosraíonn Ceol Chogadh na Saoirse an caidreamh casta atá ag muintir na hÉireann leis na hamhráin sin agus an dóigh ar athraigh sé le 100 bliain anuas.

I sraith teilifíse cheannródaíoch ceithre chuid, léirithe ag Imagine Media do TG4, le maoiniú ó Chiste Craoltóireachta Gaeilge Scáileán Thuaisceart Éireann, fiosraíonn Ceol Chogadh na Saoirse saothair cumadóirí suntasacha amhrán amhail Peadar Kearney agus Brian O’Higgins agus leanann ar aghaidh trí bhorradh na mbailéad sna 60í le muid a thabhairt suas go dtí an lá inniu.

Taispeánann an chéad eagrán sa tsraith an dóigh ar thug Rialtas nuabhunaithe an tSaorstáit cúl leis na hamhráin i ndiaidh an Chogaidh Chathartha, amhráin a bhí lárnach i ngríosú Chogadh na Saoirse agus i misneach a thabhairt le linn cuid de na laethanta is dorcha. Tá an tsraith breac le léirithe nua de sheanamhráin agus san eagrán seo, seinntear “The Foggy Dew” agus “Whack Fol the Diddle” agus tuilleadh, seinnte ag Casey’s Crew agus The Rapparees.

De réir mar a théann an tsraith ar aghaidh, tiontaíonn an scéal ar an chumadóir is fearr d’amhráin reibiliúnacha a bhí ag Éirinn riamh b’fhéidir, mar atá Brian O’Higgins. Sa dara heagrán, léirítear an dóigh ar fhág athruithe i saol na polaitíochta agus i suimeanna ceoil le linn na 30í agus na 40í – taobh le blúire reachtaíochta ar bheagán iomrá a bhfuil An tAcht um Hallaí Rince air – gur cailleadh formhór mór na n-amhrán a scríobhadh le linn Chogadh na Saoirse faoi thús na 1950í. Bogann an t-eagrán seo isteach i ré úr cheoil agus léirithe éagsúla ann ar a n-áirítear amhrán se chuid Brian O’Higgins, “The Song of the Dawn” le Eddi Reader agus an t-amhrán iomráiteach “Kevin Barry” seinnte ag Seán Keane.

Chualathas líon beag d’amhráin a bhaineann le Cogadh na Saoirse ag teacht chun cinn in athuair mar chuid de bhorradh na mbailéad. Ach na fíricí stairiúla taobh thiar d’amhráin amhail “Valley of Knockanure” agus “Lonely Woods of Upton”, léiríonn an tríú heagrán seo den tsraith “Ceol Chogadh na Saoirse” a lárnaí agus a bhí na hamhráin sin i dtaca le hinsint choitianta bhréagach a chruthú maidir le Cogadh na nDúchrónach. Ba hiad Pauline Scanlan, Barry Kerr agus Ger Wolfe cuid de na ceoltóir a bheas le cloisteáil san eagrán seo de Ceol Chogadh na Saoirse.

Scéal an amhráin reibiliúnaigh Éireannaigh le 100 bliain anuas. Ach an scéal a bhaineann le buíon cheoil as Béal Feirste a fhiosrú, mar atá The Wolfhound, léiríonn an clár deireanach sa tsraith Ceol Chogadh na Saoirse an dóigh ar tháinig athbheochan faoi chuid mhór amhrán a bhaineann le Cogadh Cathartha na hÉireann le linn na dTrioblóidí le gairid, go háirithe i measc pobal náisiúnach ó thuaidh. Agus léirithe ann ó cheoltóirí amhail Brian Kennedy agus Goat’s Don’t Shave, tá draíocht na n-amhrán seo le mothú arís ar dhóigh úr iontach.

Is léiriúchán teilifíse de chuid Imagine Media é Ceol Cogadh na Saoirse a rinneadh do TG4, le maoiniú ó Chiste Craoltóireachta Gaeilge Scáileán Thuaisceart Éireann agus agus beidh sé ar siúl ar feadh ceithre seachtain ón Domhnach 17ú Samhain ag 9.30i.n.

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