Music and Celebrancy with Daithí Ó Nuanáin

“S Acher In Gáith In Nocht
Fu Fúasna Fairggae Findfholt
Ní Ágor Réimm Mora Minn
Hi I Ho Ro Ho Hira
S Acher In Gáith In Nocht
Fu Fúasna Fairggae Findfholt
Ní Ágor Réimm Mora Minn
Dond Láechraid Lainn Úa Lothlind’

“Bitter Is The Wind Tonight
It Tosses The Ocean’s White Hair
I Fear Not The Crossing Of A Calm Sea
Hi I Ho Ro Ho Hira
Bitter Is The Wind Tonight
It Tosses The Ocean’s White Hair
I Fear Not The Crossing Of A Calm Sea
By The Fierce Warriors From Norway”

Lyrics from M’ANAM’s song Bitter Wind based on an Old Irish text

Daithí was born and raised in Dublin. He has a deep love for music, the Irish language as well as performance and ritual. He’s been a member of ANÚNA as well as M’ANAM and is a cherished celebrant in his community.

What is your background?

I am a Dublin-based singer and multi-instrumentalist with degrees in Music and Nua-Ghaeilge (Modern Irish). My other lines of work have varied from sound and lighting to Celebrancy and film extra.

What are your passions in life?

My music, my language, my family and my link to the past via nature and ritual. Additionally, I’ve given 20 years of my life to Scouting. I’m also a devout nerd when it comes to Tolkien and Star Wars.

All photos by Daithí

What is your favorite aspect of singing and performing?

Engaging an audience in a story that they’ve never heard before or they’re hearing in a new way. It is crucial to connect with the listeners as they become an essential part of the performance. Singing abroad in Irish is also indescribably special.

What led you into celebrancy?

COVID left me with little to no work and I needed something to ease my struggle. An online course in Celebrancy through the IIOC became an outlet for me. I thought to myself, “I have years of experience organising music for weddings and funerals – why not take that one step further and train to lead an entire ceremony?!”.

Do you have any personal rituals for preparing to sing, perform or to guide a ceremony?

You should allow yourself a moment of calm and stillness before you lead or perform anything. I need to know that I feel grounded physically and mentally if I’m going to address a crowd in any form and have them believe in what I’m doing.

Growing up, what shaped your love for folklore or old stories?

I was (and still am) a sucker for all mythologies as a child. I could tell you about any god – abilities, associates and stories. Finding links between those faiths always fascinated me – it’s hard to look at Odin, Osiris, Zeus and the Dagda without seeing the similarities between them.

What is your favorite mythological tale or character and why?

It would be unfair to name any single one, as all great tales are retold in new forms throughout the ages. Every pantheon needs its demi-god heroes like Heracles or Cú Chulainn. Maybe the ‘doomed lovers’ theme catches me more than others, such as ‘Tóraíocht Dhiarmada agus Ghráinne’.

Which concepts or lessons do you find most inspiring that are found in myths or the druid tradition?

There will never be a more present and infinite power in this existence than nature itself. That is why, above all others aspects of life, it is to be respected and nurtured. This is my belief – if gods truly exist, then they all exist at once as products of nature’s influence on humankind.

What is your favorite ancient site(s)?

The Hill of Tara was frequently mentioned in my storybooks as a child. It was always either a symbol of our strength and rich heritage or a playground for mischief at the hands of the spirits and fairies from across the veil.

Is there any personal experience that was particularly spiritual or life shaping?

The most endearing memories of being moved have all been from live music. I saw Anúna and Clannad perform together in 2011, re-kindling my love for Irish music and leading to me joining Anúna in 2016 and creating new music altogether with M’ANAM. The most spiritually fulfilling and moving moments more recently have been at Midgardsblot festival in Norway – set next to Iron Age burial mounds, engaging in ritual and offerings with like-minded people of all backgrounds, and losing myself completely in the music of both Wardruna and Heilung (if you’ve seen either group live, you’ll understand fully).

Is there any person that has exceptionally shaped you for the better and why?

I would not be at this point in my life without the ongoing love and support I receive from my parents. We laugh, cry, argue and perform together – it’s unique. My brother always did his part for me as well – when my folks gave me Bach and Bernstein, he gave me Nirvana and Nine Inch Nails.

What is one thing you think people would find surprising about you?

I’ve never won a talent show as a singer or soloist (not even placed). The one win I ever had was as the guitarist in a 3-piece band at the Gaeltacht, where we wrote new situational Irish lyrics to ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ and ‘Killing In The Name’.

Leave a Reply

error: Content is protected !!
%d bloggers like this: