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Ceann Dubh Dilis is one of the oldest love songs in the Gaelic song tradition. It has a plaintive quality that is increase by its nebulous nature. In fact the very general and indefinite background makes it a song that expresses at once individual pain and the universal spirit of human love. It was first published as a instrumental piece with a set of harper variations in 1724 by the Neal brothers of Christchurch Yard along with numerous other harper-airs, and it is that version which is performed here. A variant of it was also collected by Edward Bunting at the Belfast harp festival in 1792 from Denis Hempson who was by then in his nineties. This Air and Variations more than any of the other Irish melodies on the cd, has a marked Elizabethan character.
From the Cd Flow my tears:musical journeys with the flight of the earls. Performed by the Irish Traditional Music Ensemble and the Early Music Ensemble of the DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama and recorded in Saint Teresa's Church, Clarendon Street, Dublin, November 2006.