Saileog is a musician, sean nós singer and composer, who has played traditional and classical music on piano from a very young age, and also plays traditional music on fiddle and viola. 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 has a BMus degree from UCC, where she studied many different kinds of music. 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 released two albums to date – I bhfíor-dheiriú oidhche and Roithleán. I bhfíor-dheiriú oidhche,is an album of sean nós songs which Saileog learned from Seamus Ennis’ collection, (housed in the National Folklore Collection, UCD) from various singers in Iorras Aithneach, Connemara. The songs were collected in the early 1940s, and are a combination of songs that are no longer sung and unusual versions of more well known songs, chosen from the collection.
Roithleán is a mostly solo album of traditional music, sean nós songs, and also features some tunes composed by Saileog, with guest musicians on some of the tracks, including Muireann Ní Cheannabháin, Eoghan Ó Ceannabháin, Jack Talty, Marie McHugh, Tim McHugh and Eoin Ó Beaglaoich. Roithleán was awarded Albam Thraidisiúnta na Bliana (Traditional Album of the Year) by Nós magazine in 2018.
In 2014, she did research work for the project Amhráin Ó Iorrus, a compilation recording of songs from Erris, North Mayo, which were collected from Mayo singers in Chicago at the beginning of the last century. The project was initiated by Séamas Ó Mongáin and Síle Uí Mhongáin.
Saileog also features as a guest on Ensemble Ériu’s debut album (2011), on the Tunes in the Church compilation album (2013), on Treasa Ní Mhiolláin’s Lán Mara album (2019) and on the Rogha Raelach Volume 1 compilation (November 2020).
In 2018 Saileog and Maitiú Ó Casaide composed and arranged music for Darach Mac Con Iomaire’s play, Baoite. 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.
One of Saileog’s ongoing projects is arranging sean nós songs from Connemara and Rinn Ó gCuanach, along with singer Ailbhe Nic Dhonncha and uilleann piper Pádraic Keane.
Last year, Saileog was invited to be NUI Galway’s 2021 sean nós singer in residence.
She is also currently working on some new solo compositions, which she hopes to release in 2022.
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