Eoghan Ó Ceannabháin Announces Debut Solo Album ‘The Deepest Breath’
Eoghan Ó Ceannabháin is a Dublin-based singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. His musical roots are in sean-nós singing – the style of his father – and he grew up listening to the likes of Sorcha Ní Ghuairim, Seán ‘ac Dhonncha, Colm Ó Caoidheáin and other greats from the tradition. He is also influenced by folk singers from the English language tradition such as Liam Weldon, Luke Kelly, Anne Briggs, Margaret Barry and Thomas McCarthy.
Eoghan is a member of the Dublin-based band Skipper’s Alley, he has worked with Mary Ann Kennedy from Scotland, and Ruth Keggin from the Isle of Man on their Aon Teanga: Un Chengey album (2015). He has performed with folk/electronica band Jiggy, and has featured on both their albums, Translate (2017) and Hypernova (2020). He also collaborates with Clare fiddle and viola player Ultan O’Brien, their debut album Solas an Lae won best album at the RTÉ Folk Awards in 2021.
Over the past few years Eoghan has come into his own as a solo artist and songwriter. His songs – written in both English and Irish – build on his sean-nós singing foundations, but combine hard-hitting lyrics with other musical influences to create a rich, contemporary sound. Today, he announces his debut solo album, due for release 10th November 2022, and shares the title track ‘The Deepest Breath’.
Recorded, mixed, and produced by Alex Borwick at Hellfire Studios and at his own studio, the song features Eoghan on vocals, concertina & flute; Ian Kinsella on guitar & vocals; Kaitlin Cullen-Verhauz on cello & vocals; and Alex Borwick on harmonium & piano.
Speaking about the song, Eoghan says:
“I was trying to write this song for a while before I got to it. I wanted to write about art and freedom and dreams, the attack on all of these, and the need to fight for them. Ultimately what sparked it was reading about a woman called Annie who died in homeless accommodation in Churchtown, half a mile from where I grew up. She left behind her two children.
It made me think about how growing up you’d hear bullshit like “you can do anything you set your mind to”, or “follow your dreams” – hyper individualistic stuff that ignores the system and the social reality so many people are living in. Ultimately it promotes a vision of success that sees the individual climb the ladder, and to hell with everyone underneath.
For me the song is about rejecting that, but reclaiming dreams that are deep, collective, and genuinely meaningful.”
Eoghan’s forthcoming album is a collection of songs he’s written over the past few years, both in English and in Irish. ”Writing them has been quite a cathartic experience for me – many of them were songs that I probably wanted to write for a while before I got there. They brewed and stewed for quite a bit before they ultimately emerged. The writing process is often like this for me – something bubbles under the surface for a while, but ultimately when I sit down to write, most of it just comes out in a kind of a flow.”
“The Deepest Breath is not really a trad or a sean-nós album, but sean-nós singing is the foundation for my singing and I think it affects my writing too, in both languages. I learned my singing language as a child from my father first, then as a teenager and young adult listening to lots of different singers. Now in the last few years I feel as though I am able to build with it and develop my own melodies and songs.”
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Photo: Ríona Ní Ríagáin