There are events that need to be seen to be believed. Folk holidays festival in Namest nad Oslavou, Czech Republic, has seen many of them over the years but nothing like this. Sean-nós singer Lorcán Mac Mathúna has never been to Czech Republic before and when he finally did come he brought a truly unique project with him. The project is called Visionaries 1916 And Their Words and consists of poems, songs and other texts written by people involved in 1916 Easter Rising, the most important event in Irish history as the Irish fought for their independence against the British.
Every year there is a different theme for the whole festival and this year's theme is "of dreams and dreamers". The performers are always chosen very carefully and we could say that in this case nothing is more suitable than Mac Mathúna's project about people who had the vision of an independent nation and in many cases sacrificed their lives for it. Mac Mathúna brought a team with him of musicians and singers and the combination of the music along with photographs illustrating either the theme of the piece or its mood created a powerful artform. You could feel the anticipation from the audience. It's worth to mention the efforts of the organizers who prepared a special brochure explaining the events of the Rising along with the texts used in the show and their translation into Czech. When Lorcán started to sing, the crowd watched in awe, complete silence, tears were shed on various occasions. This man has a voice that pulls every single string in your heart. Impressive performer who leaves his own heart and soul on stage. You could spend all day listening to these songs. Even the rain won't stop you.
Those who didn't have enough on Sunday had a chance to attend a workshop the following morning and get an insight into the world of sean-nós singing. It would have probably needed more than just two hours but the sense of creating something beautiful together was there anyway. Music connects, no matter the language, no matter the century. These songs get into your head and never completely go away. If there was anyone who still wanted more (just think about the amount of people buying the CDs on Sunday), the last opportunity arose on Monday night in the breathtaking setup of the castle library. Once you entered, you immediately became aware this is gonna be something else. Lorcán and his musicians took the audience on a journey through time, going back as far as 8th century, sang ancient songs in the Irish language, everyone was sitting there with an open heart. A truly unique night you don't want to end.