Iarla O’Lionaird and Anáil Dé
February 24, 2011

Gavin’s note

On March 5th we will finally put together the whole of the Anáil Dé project, which Iarla O’Lionaird and I have worked on for over three years. Anáil Dé, which translates as “The Breath of God”, is based on settings of Old Irish spiritual texts dating from the 8th to the 16th century. It is a collaboration between me and the great Irish singer Iarla O’Lionáird, the finest Irish singer of his generation who, while working within the tradition of sean-nós, has also produced acclaimed work that fuses this tradition with contemporary music. Anáil Dé sets a number of texts in an early form of Gaelic, chiefly from a collection of poetry called Lón Anama (“food for the soul”). The five-part accompanying ensemble are all members of my ensemble: electric guitarist James Woodrow; violas Nick Barr and Morgan Goff; cellist Nick Cooper; and myself on double bass. 

Iarla will also sing a number of traditional sean-nós songs. Included as part of Anáil Dé is a 16th century lament, Tuirimh Mhic Fhinin Dhuibh, which I arranged and which is the first piece we did together – for Real World in 2005.

Apart from being a great singer, Iarla is also a good friend….

There is a video from a rehearsal of one of the songs in Limerick (2009)



Gavin Bryars