Commissioned by Clare Arts Office and glór, Dial A Seanchaí is a unique audio experience celebrating Irish folklore, storytelling, and song.
The project is curated and produced by Clare artist John Lillis and is funded by Creative Ireland Clare and The Arts Council. Photography by Myriam Riand.
Dial A Seanchaí is a phone service that will allow members of the public to listen to curated Irish folklore stories and songs from six contemporary voices. The phone service will operate between the 1st of October and the 1st of November, and callers will be invited to choose from the list of short recordings by well-known Irish artists and performers. The recordings are a mix of story and song, with themes universal to mythology the world over – widows, witches, lost islands, sun gods, drunkards, and devils. Deep reverberations from our past, but still felt very much in the present.
The Seanchaí is the custodian of an oral tradition, preserving the past for future generations. Dial a Seanchaí 2021 is a contemporary re-imagining of the 1988 project introduced by the Clare Arts Officer at that time, Kay Sheehy. The original project was developed to share the storytelling tradition of the seanchaí, and featured recordings made by three renowned seanchaithe in Co. Clare: Junior Crehan of Mullagh; Francie Kennelly of Miltown Malbay, and Eddie Lenihan of Crusheen.
Dial a Seanchaí 2021 will feature new recordings from six acclaimed Irish artists who were invited to reinterpret existing Irish folklore tales for a contemporary audience. Featured artists are Lisa O’Neill; Aindrias De Staic; Ruth Smith; Ian Lynch; Ceara Conway and Kevin Barry.
Orla Flanagan, glór Director says ‘glór is thrilled to co-commission, with Clare Arts Office, John Lillis’ genius re-imagining of Dial a Seanchaí as one of our key commissions exploring identity and sense of place through storytelling, music and folk performance, as glór celebrates its 20th birthday this autumn.’
Helen Walsh, County Librarian and Creative Ireland Co-ordinator goes on to say ‘that this unique initiative is funded through the Creative Ireland fund allocated to Clare County Council. This curated project explores how traditional stories are used for inspiration for contemporary musicians. It is an update of an original initiative by the Clare Arts Office in 1988 and we look forward to seeing the public’s response to it.’
The Dial a Seanchaí service will be available to access from Friday 1st October to Monday 1st November. You may dial in as often as you like to hear all stories for the cost of a local call.