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Early monastic chant is known for its meditative qualities, and mixing that with early Gaelic songs, or with songs that speak of ancient beliefs held by the Celts, begins to give us a window into the world of the ancient Irish. I believe there was a mutual influence happening between the compositions of the monks and the songs of the common people. Add into the mix the rich mythological tradition that is still prevalent in Ireland and Scotland and you begin to see that “sacred” music is not confined to a set of religious dogma but rather represents a way to order and make sense of the human condition by drawing on more than one belief system. When I was researching for this album I was struck over and over again by the musical synthesis that existed between these songs of our ancestors – that modal quality which marks much ‘Celtic’ music is also fundamental to Latin Chant.
Who can verify which came first!
How these songs were actually sung gives rise to debate but there is scholarly evidence of large group singing in Ancient Ireland during periods of mourning, so why not at other times? I imagine that the full range of the human voice and the celebration of voices in harmony were used to express the joy and wonder of nature, of heaven, and of the Celtic otherworld.
This album is based on my interpretation of these ancient songs – songs that pull heaven and earth together. I hope you enjoy it!