Irish song gets unique twist as Róisín records for Gaza


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Irish song gets unique twist as Róisín records for Gaza Irish song gets unique twist as Róisín records for Gaza

Oranmore singer Róisín El Cherif has released a new single, with all proceeds going to Médecins Sans Frontières’ Gaza Emergency Regional Fund.

The Irish-Palestinian woman has recorded a unique version of the traditional love song, Siúil a Rúin, which she performs in a mixture of Irish, English and Arabic to raise money for the group, Doctors without Borders.

Siúil a Rúin, with its haunting air, is one of the best-known ballads in the Irish tradition and has previously been performed by the likes of Clannad, Mary Black and Joe Éinniú. This recording is a new direction for Róisín as she celebrates her Palestinian and Irish roots.

Siúil a Rúin is a macaronic song –with verses in Irish and English – and Róisín has now added Arabic verses, which she has written and has woven through the existing structure. She describes the new verses as her way of continuing the challenge that macaronic verses traditionally posed to colonial power, while also shining a light on the strong connections between Irish and Palestinian cultures.

“What links these cultures for me is grief and perseverance,” she says. “I find great solace in the traditional music of both lands and it felt easy for me to blend and combine them.”

In recent times, Róisín has been performing to celebrate and to raise funds for Palestinians –she featured in the Irish Arts for Palestine gig at Dublin’s Olympia Theatre and the Gig for Gaza at 3Arena, alongside Lankum, Damien Dempsey, The Mary Wallopers and Lisa O’Neill.

She recorded Siúil a Rúin in collaboration with fellow Galway musicians Fergal Scahill and Ruth Smith, with whom she has been touring and performing since last November.

It was recorded with composer and producer Brian Crosby at his Treehouse Studios in Wicklow and she performed it on RTÉ’s Tommy Tiernan Show on Saturday night.

Hothouse Flowers’ co-founder and RTÉ music presenter Fiachna Ó Braonáin is among those who have praised “this beautiful version of Siúil a Rúin”, describing it as “transporting music that speaks to our humanity”.

To download the song and donate go to

Pictured: Oranmore singer Róisín El Cherif


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