We have just caught a Tweet heard from folks attending the event:
Our Ellen sang today at O na G "Thig liom a rá gan drogall gur “nailed it” an abairt is fearr chun cur síos air." says Aralt MacGiolla Chainnigh.Written just before leaving for Ireland, with permission, we turn the story over to Ellen's own words:
I guess this is as good a time as any to tell my story, and what going to this Oirachtas means to me. 15 years ago, when I was young and stupid, I went to Ireland to do my higher degrees in Ethnomusicology (ed. a PhD). My chosen subject was sean-nos singing, and the Irish tradition in general. I spent a year and a half doing as much research as I could, attending Oireachtas, talking to people, doing interviews. But my Irish was far from fluent, and I realized that my Irish was never going to be good enough in the time I had available to me to be able to interview people in their native language. So out of respect for the people who speak this language every day, I abandoned the project and chose another topic. It has remained the great Unfinished Thing in my life, the one thing I failed at. Until now. Two years ago, Aralt Mac Giolla Chainnigh, Sheila Scott, Allyson Reid, Michelle Reid and all the others came along, and asked me to be involved in the Oireachtas Gaeilge Cheanada. I immediately said yes, and brought both myself as a solo singer, and my choir, to the Oireachtas down in Kingston. While I competed in the sean-nos category, I figured I'd seen and heard the real deal, I couldn't possibly measure up. And yet, this year, the judges picked me as the winner of the sean-nos category. And so I find myself going back to Ireland, back to an tOireachtas Mor, to see and hear and be immersed again in this style again. Except this time, I'm not a stupid 22 year old with big eyes and ears. This time, I'm going in as a singer. It's a huge deal for me, terrifying, daunting, and yet exciting, moving, and such a great honour. I hope I can do everybody proud, and can call this a Finished Thing.
Aralt's tweet roughly translates: "I can say without reserve that 'nailed it' is the best way to describe it".ReplyDelete