Help me find more like this Gaelic vocal from Calvary
February 27, 2015 3:49 PM   Subscribe

I watched the film Calvary recently (highly recommended, by the way) and I've fallen head over heels in love with the Gaelic vocal from the track from the (Patrick Cassidy) score "Say Your Prayers". Where can I find more stuff like this?

Unfortunately I can't find the exact song on its own on Youtube.

The vocal in question starts around here (45:45 for mobile users) on this youtube of the whole soundtrack.

Spotify link here.

Google Play link here.

The rest of the track, with its melancholy strings, is very nice, but it's that particular vocal which has really set my heart on fire for some reason. I can't stop listening to just that 20 seconds of the song, then skipping back and listening to the the 20 seconds again. That feels a bit...mad? And also like it will probably wear out its welcome soon, so help me find more things like this!

Gaelic isn't essential at all (although it does add a certain beauty to my musically and linguistically uneducated ears), it's more just the general minor key (I think? I'm not a musical man) tone, the melody and the beautiful clear voice, with the fairly simple but powerful backing.

Bonus question - does anyone who either speaks gaelic or has better Google fu than me know what an English translation of that particular vocal would be?
posted by Dext to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Have you listened to much in the plainchant tradition? To me it sounds like that's what the song is harkening back to. Here's a recording of a mass composed by Leonin that has both straight plainchant and more polyphonic elements. Try around 6:00.

Another striking recording by the same group, the Ensemble Organum.

You might like, too, renaissance sacred music. Victoria's Requiem, perhaps. (If you do, the Tallis Scholars have a lot of great recordings of the like. Here's another, of a mass by William Byrd.)
posted by bertran at 4:15 PM on February 27, 2015 [2 favorites]

The singer in question is Iarla O'Lionaird, and he does a lot of this.

Another source for "Irish Gaelic lyrics over an orchestral background" would be (and don't laugh, now!) the soundtrack to the Riverdance show - have a listen to Shivna in particular.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:23 PM on February 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

Oh, also, if you've somehow never heard the music of Enya, she has songs in Irish Gaelic somewhat in the same vein, to my ears. Like Na Laetha Geal M'óige.
posted by bertran at 4:28 PM on February 27, 2015

Check out Donnacha Dennehy's Grá agus Bás (also sung by Iarla O'Lionaird), it's stunning.
posted by prolific at 4:31 PM on February 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

There is a lot of pretty minor key celtic music, but you may also want to try this beautiful song from Hamlet Gonashvilli (from Georgia.) The Norwegian group Bukkene Bruse also has some nice stuff, this link - with the singing beginning at 6:50 is very like the Iarla O’Leonard track you lile (and longer than 20 seconds!) For me, both qualify as songs I've listened to obsessively.
posted by knolan at 5:48 PM on February 27, 2015

I'm a poor student of the Munster dialect but I simply could not make out the words or find the lyrics online. I thought it might have been the beatitudes of Matthew 5 given another track's name, but that does not appear to be the case.

In your search online for similar songs, it might help if you search for "Irish" rather than "Gaelic" because the name of the Irish language is Irish. Gaelic (Goidelic) is a language family consisting of Scottish Gaelic, Irish, and Manx. (Scottish Gaelic is so named so as not to confuse with the Germanic language, Scots)

The folks at /r/gaeilge/ are pretty friendly and translation requests are generally well received, so you might try posting your question there. Go n-éirí an t-ádh leat!
posted by Tanizaki at 8:26 PM on February 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

It seems to start In ainm an Athar... and I can hear an In ainm an Spiorad Naomh.... a bit later on. ( In the name of the Father.. and In the name of the Holy Spirit..). Sso it's a litany of prayers but I find it hard to catch the words and my Irish is very rusty, so I can't identify it further at the moment.
posted by Azara at 2:42 AM on February 28, 2015

(BTW, the full soundtrack in the first link has already been gangked by YouTube, much to my disappointment.)
posted by wenestvedt at 8:20 AM on March 2, 2015

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