"Gol, a collective cry" Improvisation Based on an Irish Hymn.
Updated: May 14
Today I was supposed to be in Ireland to begin research on a very special project based on Irish keening that I'm beginning with James Riordan of Bru Theatre. Of course, that trip was cancelled due to COVID-19.
A few days ago, I did a recording at home of an improvisation based on an Irish hymn to St. Brigid. Saint Brigid shares her feast day with that of the ancient Celtic Goddess Brigid, Goddess of fertility, poetry, healing and smith craft. read more
The Triple Goddess, "the one whom poets adore", is also considered the mother goddess and spring goddess. It is said that Brgid was the first one who ever keened in Ireland when her son was killed. She lamented in song so that the entire island of Ireland could hear her.
Bríg came and keened for her son. At first she shrieked, in the end she wept. Then for the first time weeping and lamentation were heard in Ireland. (Taken from the Leabhar Gabhála, or “Book of Invasions”)
Brigit was a “mother-goddess par excellence, a seasonal deity, and she presided over the important purification feast of Imbolc” (Green 1995, 436). The goddess was such an integral part of Celtic spirituality that she was given the status of Christian saint by the Roman Catholic Church, thereby appropriating many elements of her cult legend. Her festival has been Christianised as Candlemas and, in spite of her pagan background, she was one of the most popular of the Celtic saints. -Narelle McCoy
In Irish language, Gol, means a collective cry of lamentation and is a word associated with keening. Keening is the vocal crying for the dead and is considered the oldest surviving music in Ireland and was a fundamental part of the wake ritual. The caoineadh (keen) is practiced by women and is culturally reawakening after its outlaw by the Catholic Church in the 1950's. This song I've created is not a traditional keen, but rather an inspiration from this subject especially in relation to the Goddess Brigid. Simply my personal creation. In this song all the voices are mine. 6 voices on the drone in three octaves. My friend asked me what instrument is in the background, no instrument, just me and my tribute to Gol and to Brigid.
Recorded and sung by Julianna Bloodgood
Photo art by Julianna Bloodgood