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Darach Ó Catháin

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Biography

Darach Ó Catháin is one of the acknowledged masters of the Connemara style of sean-nós singing. Sean nós (which means ‘old style’) is a highly-ornamented style of solo, unaccompanied singing in the Irish tradition.

In 1975 he released an album titled “Traditional Irish Unaccompanied Singing”(Shanachie) which by wide consent is among the best sean-nós recordings ever made. His rendition of “Sail Òg Rua” particularly stands out. Darach also wrote songs from the age of twelve.

He has been an inspiration to many musicians as well as singers, including piper Neilidh Mulligan who has recorded an air from Darach’s collection.

Darach was also a partner-in-song and close friend of Seán Ó Riada.

He remains a giant of sean-nós singing and is famously quoted “When you’ve music in you, you’re hearing music always.”

A festival of sean-nós singing celebrating the life of Darach Ó Catháin is held each October in Rath Cairn. Guest sean-nós singers visit Ráth Cairn for this festival and participate in seisiúin where many of Darach’s songs can be heard.

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