This EP is the result of a long and painful process...
By this I don't mean learning Gaelic of course, as this was, is, and will always be one of the great and untarnished joys of my life. I am talking about the painful process of abdominal hernia, which I received while defending my wife and dog from a pit bull,which I lifted and threw bodily about ten feet away from us (to no harm whatsoever to the dog...).
During the first two weeks of bedridden boredom I wrote the first draft of Cù Uladh, which I sent to my friend and mentor Padraig MacAoidh for proofreading (ceud taing airson do chuideachadh a charaid!). The other tracks and translations slowly emerged over the next six months, and the recording process was interspersed with hernia surgery, family tragedy, and general life stresses, all of which inspired the title of the project. ''Cungaidhean Leighis'' roughly translates to English as ''medication'', but is perhaps better rendered by the Latin equivalent ''materia medica'', as in the ''materials of healing''. I firmly believe that the Gaelic language is imbued with healing - just as the act of learning a new language has benefits to cognitive function, the learning of one's ancestors' language has been show to have real health benefits in other endangered language communities.
I had the idea of writing Gaelic rap tracks about specific characters and events in history and mythology as a way to express the richness of seanchas, a source of lore to rival any tradition on earth, a wellspring of hope and inspiration to the children of the Gael and to all of the human family equally. The Gaelic language has always been a vehicle for transmitting deep cultural knowledge, hard won through generations of bitter experience, so why not use Hip Hop as a medium to bring this wisdom into the present? I have practiced the art of MCing for some time now, and the challenge of writing in Gaelic has preoccupied me for the last 5 years. It has been pleasantly met with the realization that Gaelic is ideally suited to the Bardic art, of course, and that complex rhyme schemes and brilliant runs of alliteration are actually easier than in English. To that end, the English translations came much later, and while faithful to the cadence and content of the original Gaelic, are also poetic works in their own right...with a few easter eggs that only the Gaels will get! I figured it would be easier for people to hear the same track in both tongues rather than read a dry translation. Sin mar a tha e.
I will say right now that I am not and will never be a native speaker, that I am only a diligent learner. There are mistakes galore in my words and my blas. I admit that I have warped Gaelic to my own ends, and my only excuse is that I am constantly learning and open to feedback. That being said, please hear this work as art first and foremost. Do not send me a detailed list of my errors and expect me to re-record. As a student of all Celtic languages I am the master of none.
I draw great inspiration from the life and work of the Irish poet Seán O'Riordáin - also an adult learner, whose bold experiments in Modern Irish were censured by many, but which earned him the moniker of ''the Gaelic James Joyce'', Joyce himself being another great hero of mine. And by the way, have you heard what rap actually sounds like now? English is mangled and twisted a million different ways every day. As distant as any form of Common Gaelic may be to the many and diverse communities of native speakers, I hold to the essential unity of all the Gaelic languages, and the deeper unity of all Celtic tongues. In future I hope to re-record some of these tracks in Irish and Welsh too, but all in good time. Hopefully my work is at least as interesting as the spirals on a Pictish stone, the gravelly obscurity of a distant and lost cousin, whose dialect is only as unintelligible as the journey of many thousands of miles would make it...
Tha mi 'n dòchas gun còrdaidh e ruibh,
Mar sin leibh an-dràsda,
released June 12, 2017
CORVID AKA Dàibhidh MacGhilleChaluim - faclan, guth, giotar/
words, voice, guitar
DJ K-REC AKA Kent Stephany - beats, scratches, production/
gach rud eile
all rights reserved