Saileog Ní Cheannabháin is a musician, singer and composer. A native Irish speaker (Connemara dialect, Iorras Aithneach), who grew up in Dublin, her sean-nós singing style is mainly influenced by singers from Iorras Aithneach in the Connemara Gaeltacht, where she spent a lot of time over the years. Her father Peadar is a sean nós singer from Connemara, her mother Úna Lawlor is a classical violinist and her siblings Eoghan and Muireann are also singers and musicians.
She plays Irish traditional music on fiddle, piano and viola, having taken fiddle lessons from various teachers at Craobh Naithí CCÉ and at the Willie Clancy Summer School and Joe Mooney Summer School at a young age. She also studied classical piano for twelve years at DIT, mainly with Shirin Tobin, and subsequently continued lessons at University College Cork, with Andrew Zolinsky and Tra Nguyen. Her traditional piano playing is self taught. She has been playing viola since 2010.
Saileog had the opportunity to study many genres of music and experience and explore various approaches to music during her time at UCC. Having graduated with a BMus (2009), UCC awarded her the Seán Ó Riada Prize, for a study of the Songs and Singers of Iorras Aithneach. She has performed at various festivals and venues in Ireland and abroad, and has also featured on music programmes for TG4, Raidió na Gaeltachta, Lyric Fm, RTÉ Radio 1 and BBC Alba.
In 2012, Saileog released her first album, I bhfíor-dheiriú oidhche, which consists of sean nós songs which she learned from Seamus Ennis' collection, from various singers in Iorras Aithneach, Connemara. The songs were collected in the early 1940s.
She has recorded a track with Ensemble Ériu on their debut album (2011), and also features on the Tunes in the Church album (2013).
In 2014, she did research work for the project Amhráin Ó Iorrus, a compilation recording of songs from Erris, North Mayo, which were collected at the beginning of the last century.
Saileog's second album is Roithleán (released October 2016), an album of Irish traditional music and sean nós songs, produced by Jack Talty, and released on the Raelach Records label. The recording also includes some of her own tune compositions. It features solo piano, fiddle, viola, and sean nós singing, as well as tracks with guest musicians. Roithleán was awarded Albam Thraidisiúnta na Bliana - Traditional Album of the Year by Nós Iris (Nós Magazine) in 2017.
One of Saileog’s recent projects includes arrangements of sean nós songs from Connemara and An Rinn, as part of a trio with Ailbhe Nic Dhonncha from An Rinn, Waterford, and uilleann piper Pádraic Keane from Oranmore, Co. Galway. They have also performed on occasion with Doireann Ní Ghlacáin and Eoghan Ó Ceannabháin.
In the summer of 2018, she composed, arranged and performed original music, in collaboration with Maitiú Ó Casaide, for the play Baoite, written and directed by Darach Mac Con Iomaire. Some of the music was composed between both musicians, and other parts in collaboration with sound designer Steve Lynch. Baoite was commissioned by the Abbey Theatre, and performed for ten days in An Taibhdhearc, as part of the Galway International Arts Festival 2018. In 2019, the play was commissioned by the Abbey Theatre and performed again for several nights in the Peacock Theatre, Dublin, in May 2019.
In February 2020, Saileog took part in Úna Monaghan's Aonaracht project at the National Concert Hall in Dublin, performing a piece for piano and electronics.
Saileog also teaches classical and traditional piano, traditional Irish fiddle and sean nós singing. She has been teaching privately and also giving occasional workshops since 2009.
She is currently working on some new solo compositions, which she hopes to release in due course.
More info at https://saileog.blogspot.com
Albums available here: https://saileog.bandcamp.com/
SoundCloud page: https://soundcloud.com/saileog-n-cheannabh-in