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Singing Ideas: Performance, Politics and Oral Poetry

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Volume 12

Dance and Performance Studies

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Singing Ideas

Performance, Politics and Oral Poetry

Tríona Ní Shíocháin

214 pages, 11 figures, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-767-3 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (December 2017)

ISBN  978-1-80073-182-0 $34.95/£27.95 / Pb / Published (July 2021)

eISBN 978-1-78533-768-0 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“Structured into three eloquent chapters and a conclusion, the book features a detailed appendix section containing the Irish compositions, the English translations and the music transcriptions, as well as a list of sound recordings, bibliography and discography. As readers, we are left with a thirsty ear, craving to listen to Máire Bhuí Ní Laeire’s musical makings, perhaps hoping to gain an aural glimpse into those ‘liminal moments of sheer potentiality’ that have inspired generations of women, and men, before us.” • Scenario

Singing Ideas: Performance, Politics, and Oral Poetry, presents an innovative take on researching the ephemeral, non-textual archives of oral tradition…Ní Shíocháin’s weaving of frameworks from philosophy and literature in Singing Ideas will be useful to anyone studying performance of the subaltern, embodiment, and unjust political structures of power.” • Ethnomusicology Review

“This excellent book gives a concise, comprehensive overview of oral poetry in a crisply written style, confidently delivered and supported by rigorous scholarship.” • Lillis Ó Laoire, National University of Ireland, Galway


Considered by many to be the greatest Irish song poet of her generation, Máire Bhuí Ní Laeire (Yellow Mary O’Leary; 1774–1848) was an illiterate woman unconnected to elite literary and philosophical circles who powerfully engaged the politics of her own society through song.  As an oral arts practitioner, Máire Bhuí composed songs whose ecstatic, radical vision stirred her community to revolt and helped to shape nineteenth-century Irish anti-colonial thought. This provocative and richly theorized study explores the re-creative, liminal aspect of song, treating it as a performative social process that cuts to the very root of identity and thought formation, thus re-imagining the history of ideas in society.

Tríona Ní Shíocháin is a whistle-player, singer and interdisciplinary scholar specializing in performance theory, oral theory and Irish-language song and poetry. She is Professor of Modern Irish and Performing Arts at Maynooth University, and was previously Lecturer in Irish Traditional Music at University College, Cork. She is author of Bláth’s Craobh na nÚdar: Amhráin Mháire Bhuí (2012).

Subject: Performance StudiesHistory: 18th/19th CenturyAnthropology (General)Literary Studies
Area: Europe


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