Seán Ó Riada

Fuair Seán Ó Riada bás ar an 3ú Deireadh Fómhair 1971. Ní raibh sé ach 40 bliain d’aois.

“B’fhéidir gurbh é an cumadóir ceoil é is mó riamh a chuaigh i gcion ar ghnáthphobal na hEireann lena linn.” Scríobh Tomás Ó Canainn (as Doire) agus Gearóid Mac an Bhua a bheathaiséis: ‘ Seán Ó Riada, a shaol agus a shaothar’. Tá sí ar fáil i leabharlann in aice leatsa, más mian leat í a lorg. (Lucht na Gaeilge agus na leabharlanna- sin scéal eile.)

Rugadh Seán Ó Riada in Áth Dara, Contae Luimnigh. Bhí bua ceoil ag a thuismitheoirí. Fuair sé oideachas maith go háitiúil, le béim ar leith ar an cheol. D’fhreastail sé ar an Choláiste Ollscoile, Corcaigh ó 1948 go 1952. Fuair sé céim sa cheol le dara honóracha, rud a chuireann iontas ar dhaoine. Ach bhí sé ag léiriú suime i ngach sórt ceoil agus bhí an cúrsa ollscoile an-chúng. Ó 1953 go 1955 bhí sé ina Stiúrthóir Cúnta Ceoil i Radio (sic) Éireann. Chaith sé tamall sa Fhrainc, agus ansin ghlac sé post mar Stiúrthóir Ceoil in Amharclann na Mainistreach. Tháinig clú agus cáil air mar chumadóir. Chum sé an ceol do na scannáin ‘Mise Éire’ agus ‘Saoirse?’. I 1961 bhunaigh sé Ceoltóirí Chualann, banna de cheoltóirí traidisiúnta. Bhog sé lena theaghlach go Gaeltacht Chúil Aodha ó Bhaile Átha Cliath agus fuair sé post mar léachtóir i gColáiste na hOllscoile, Corcaigh. Bhunaigh sé cór eaglasta ansin, Cór Chúil Aodha. Scríobh sé ailt agus thug sé léachtaí. Craoltóir raidió an-chumasach a bhí ann fosta. Chum sé ceol do roinnt scannán eile. Scríobh sé an ceol do thrí Aifreann. Chóirigh sé píosaí do cheolfhoirne agus do ghrúpaí traidisiúnta. Bhí príomhpháirt aige in athbheochan cheol na hÉireann. D’fhoilsigh Gael Linn taifeadtaí ceoil nár eisíodh cheana ar na mallaibh: ‘Seán Ó Riada, Port na bPúcaí’. Tá Ó Riada ag seinm a chuid cóiriúchán féin d’fhoinn mhóra ar an phianó agus ar an chruitchorda. Cnuasach eisiach atá ann: ná caill é.

Sean O’Riada

Seán Ó Riada died on the 3rd of October 1971.He was only 40 years old. “Perhaps no other composer had a greater influence on the ordinary Irish people in our time.”

Tomás Ó Canainn (from Derry) and Gearóid Mac an Bhua wrote his biography: Seán Ó Riada, his life and work.’ You can get it from your local library, if you want to look for it. (Irish speakers and libraries – that’s another story.)

Seán Ó Riada was born in Áth Dara, County Limerick. His parents were talented musicians. He received a good education locally, with special emphasis on music. He attended University College, Cork from 1948 till 1952. He got a Second Class Honours degree in music, which may surprise some people. But he was interested in all kinds of music, and the university course was very restrictive. From 1953 till 1955 he was Assistant Director of Music with Radio (sic) Éireann. He spent some time in France, and then he took up the post of Musical Director of the Abbey Theatre. He became widely recognised as a composer. He composed the music for the films ‘Mise Éire’ and ‘Saoirse’. In 1961 he founded Ceoltóirí Chualann, a traditional band. He moved with his family from Dublin to the Cúil Aodha Gaeltacht and he was given the post of music lecturer in University College, Cork. He founded a church choir, Cór Chúil Aodha. He wrote articles and gave lectures. He was also a very talented radio broadcaster. He composed the music for a number of other films. He wrote the music for three Masses. He arranged pieces for orchestras and for traditional groups. He played a leading role in the revival of Irish traditional music. Gael Linn released some previously unpublished recordings recently: Seán Ó Riada, Port na bPúcaí. Ó Riada plays his own arrangements of great traditional tunes on the piano and harpsichord. Don’t miss this exclusive collection.