The Gaelic Hit Factory
Louis de Paor (“the foxy poet”)
Born in Cork in 1961, Louis de Paor has been involved with the contemporary renaissance of poetry in Irish since 1980 when he was first published in the poetry journal Innti which he subsequently edited for a time. A four-time winner of the Seán Ó Ríordáin/Oireachtas Award, the premier award for a new collection of poems in Irish, he lived in Australia from 1987 to 1996.
His first bilingual collection, Aimsir Bhreicneach/Freckled Weather was shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Award for Literary Translation. He was also granted a Writer’s Fellowship by the Australia Council in 1995. He is the recipient of the Lawrence O’Shaughnessy Award 2000, the first poet in Irish to achieve that distinction. His collection, Corcach agus Dánta Eile was published in a bilingual edition in Australia as Cork and Other Poems. Another collection, agus rud eile de, was published by Coiscéim in Autumn 2002 and awarded the Oireachtas prize for the best collection of poems in Irish in 2003.
Louis is Director for the Centre for Irish Studies at the National University of Ireland, Galway.
Is dóigh leis an mbeirt os mo chomhair
gur leosan amháin a labhrann
nuair a chanann a gholtraí grámhar
is fada le barra a méar
go mbeidh said sa bhaile is cead
seanma ar a chéile acu go maidin.
Is ait le haonaráin is iarleannáin
go mbeadh fonn briste a gcroíthe ar bharr
a theanga ag fear nár casadh orthu cheana.
Nuair a bhuaileann na sreanganna síoda
a cheangail dá chéile an chéad lá riamh iad,
druideann an lánúin phósta dá mbuíochas
i leith a chéile. Nuair a chuimlíonn uillinn
a léine sin le gualainn a mhná, baineann
fear óg ar thaobh eile an tseomra
a gheansaí samhraidh de is iarrann
ar fhear an tí an teas a ísliú in ainm
dílis Dé. Guíonn an cailín a bhfuil áilleacht
an bhróin ina gnúis go mbeidh sé gan chéile
go bhfaighidh sé í. Tá foireann na gclog
ag réabadh na hoíche lasmuigh, scuaine
scuadcharr, otharcharr is inneall dóiteán
ar a gcoimeád ón tine nach féidir a mhúchadh
i gcuislí dóite na bhfear míshocair laistigh
atá mall chun na sochraide arís.In aice an droichid,
tá nodaireacht an uaignis ar chuilithíní an aeir
os a chionn léite go cruinn ag an bhfear
atá díreach tar éis léimt. Tá barr an uisce
chomh mín le bráillín, a éadan gan roc amhail éide
banaltran is tonn álainn an cheoil ina bhéal
á bhodhradh ar bhuaireamh an tsaoil. Leanann
an ceoltóir ag seinm ar na sreanganna fola a shíneann
ón gcroí go dtí béal a ghiotáir. Tá a chaoineadh
chomh séimh le pluid na habhann á tarraingt os ár gcionn go léir.
These two here in front of me
think he’s singing to only them
when he plays a loving lament,
their fingers ache to be home
where they can play on each
other till morning. The lonely
and old flames are amazed
a man they’ve never met
has the broken tunes of their dreams
off by heart on the tip of his tongue.
When he touches the strings
that tied them together the first time
ever, the married couple in the corner
move closer in spite of themselves.
When the sleeve of the man’s shirt
brushes his wife’s shoulder, a young fella
at the other end of the room
takes off his summer jumper and asks the barman
to turn the heat down for God Almighty’s sake.
The girl made lovely by sorrow prays
he’ll never rest until he finds her.
Outside, a fleet of sirens storms the night,
squadcars, ambulances and fire-brigades
running from the fire that can’t be put out
in the smouldering hearts of the men inside
who are late again for the neverending funeral.
Beside the bridge, the morse code
of loneliness broadcast on flurries
of air is clear as day to the man
who has just jumped. The water is smooth
as a sheet and his face uncreased
as a nurse’s veil. He is deaf to the world
as the music fills his mouth, washing away
a world of worries. The singer
keeps on strumming the strings stretch
from the heart to the mouth of his guitar.
His cry is soft as the river, a blanket of water
drawn up over all our sleepy heads.
Ag Greadadh Bas sa Reilig – Clapping in the Cemetary
Louis De Paor’s book of poems was launched by Peadar O Riada in the Corner House Pub, Coburg Street, Cork, on Thursday, 20 October at 7:00 pm. And John was the special mystery guest.
For further information :
Ag Greadadh Bas sa Reilig – Clapping in the Cemetery
Louis de Paor
Paperback – €14 euro.
Published 2005; Reprinted 2006
The Gaelic Hit Factory – John Spillane and Louis De Paor
Well, the album is out! All of the songs come from an attempt to find the limits of what’s possible for contemporary songs in the Irish language and then to tear down the boundaries and show that there are no limits.We hope you like it.
John and Louis, October 2006
This album has been along time coming! But we finally got it together to record a collection of songs and poems as Gaeilge. I brought John Reynolds back in on production, and what a job he did!
Myself and Louis sat next to each other at school and have been friends since we were about 14 – we wrote our first epic poem at the back of Physics class in 5th Year. Louis followed the path of poetry and I music. We come together every now and again and write songs together in the Irish Language – Gaeilge.
The Gaelic Hit Factory
- Buille mo Chroí – The Beat of my Heart
- Ag an gCóisir – At the party
- Iníon Deichtine – The Wounded Hero
- Inghean – Daughter
- Báisteach – Rain
- Bata is Bóthar – The Stick and The Road
- Rugadh orm i gCorcaigh – Rebeltown
- Éist do Bhéal – Shut Your Mouth
- Suansiúl – Sleepwalk
- Sorcha Rua – Red-haired Sorcha
- Luíonn mo Ghrá – My Love Lies
- Finscéal – Fairytale
- Lupadáin Lapadáin – The Tale of the Mermaid’s Daughter
This album is the fruit of many years labour. We hope you enjoy it!
Release date Friday 13th Oct ’06 (lucky for some!) on the EMI label.
John, October 2006
To create a pure work of art, an artist must dare to remove all boundaries and break the rules of limitation. And so it goes when two lifelong friends – a master of music and melody (that’s John Spillane, legendary Irish singer, songwriter, recording artist, performer) and a master of poetic verse (that’s Louis de Paor, Director of Irish studies, National University of Ireland, Galway and one of Ireland’s premier poets) – combine their creative talents and write songs in Gaeilge (the Irish language). Add to the mix a master producer, writer, musician (that’s John Reynolds, credited for his work with Sinéad O’Connor, Damien Dempsey, “U2″, Natacha Atlas, to name a few). The end result is The Gaelic Hit Factory.
This album is a true labor of love that has evolved over many years into a pure work of art. With its blend of the spoken word (sometimes in Gaelic, or in a banter from Gaelic to English and back again) and diverse melodies (some soothing, uplifting or enjoyably rowdy), from beginning to end, the listener is transported on a magical sea as if set adrift in a rowboat without the oars. It all flows and happily off ya’ go!
Two of the many treasures to be found:
“The Wounded Hero” (“Iníon Deichtine”) is the single, sung in English to a totally dynamic groove, with the spoken word in the bridge that is tantamount to rap (in Gaelic, of course) – an absolute must-get-up-and-dance-to-it song for no other reason than to come to understand that “this is what it’s like to be alive.”
“Inghean” (“Daughter”) is an emotional ballad of the heart, spoken and sung entirely in Gaelic. To do this in any other way would be blasphemous. Louis recites his prose with reverence and a gentle passion; John’s whisper-like vocals emit a myriad of timeless, international flavors – reminiscent of the bard singing a sweet tale, the echo in the ancient mosques, the drone in the cantor’s temple prayer. The music is breathtaking and adorned just-so with Natacha Atlas’ stunning mantras and Pauline Scanlon’s lovely harmonies. All of this is composed in a father’s homage to his girl-child.
The Gaelic Hit Factory is filled to the brim with magnificent music and vocal performances, faultless production, mixes, sequencing, embellishments; (lyrics are provided in both Gaelic and English; read the liner note credits); it is abundant with hidden treasures waiting to be found in every song and each new listen. It’s a gift that weaves its magic over and over and leaves the listener wanting more – like the child at the very end who simply says, “Tell me that story again.” If perfection is at all possible in this universe, then this work comes pretty damned close.