Saileog Ní Cheannabháin is a native Irish speaker. Her sean-nós singing style is mainly influenced by singers from Iorras Aithneach in the Connemara Gaeltacht. Having graduated with a BMus (2009), University College Cork awarded her the Seán Ó Riada Prize, for a study of the Songs and Singers of Iorras Aithneach. She also plays traditional music on fiddle and piano, and classical music on piano. She has sung and played at various festivals, including Féile Joe Éiniú, Scoil Geimhreadh Merriman, Cooley-Collins Festival and Scoil Samhradh Willie Clancy.
For lovers of sean nós, Saileog Ní Cheannabháin’s debut is an Aladdin’s cave of treasures. Tackling a dozen songs that Seamus Ennis collected in Iorras Aithneach in Connemara between 1942 and 1945, Ní Cheannabháin brings a freshness and vitality to what for many non-West-of-Ireland listeners will be uncharted territory. Singing in an accessible, confident, yet subtly decorated vocal style, Ní Cheannabháin confidently puts her own stamp on each song while remaining true to the detailed notations that Ennis left (the collection is now housed in UCD).
Ní Cheannabháin’s readings of better-known songs such as Sadhbh Ní Bhruinnghiolla have an inventiveness that sees an alternative melody intertwined with a well-known, playful lyric, while her brave decision to marry two fleeting tales, Racha do Dheaide go Sydney and Goideadh do Ghé, is typical. A muscular, confident debut.
The Irish Times