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1:10 PM, 12 Oct 2018 - , 1.10pm, St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral

Concert - Cantoral


Irish World Academy Female Vocal Ensemble presents:


A voyage of discovery through medieval chant, polyphony, poetry and prose inspired by the travels of Brendan the Navigator.


St. Brendan of Clonfert, also known as Brendan the Navigator, was born in Kerry towards the end of the 6th century. He is best remembered for his legendary sea voyages and his search for the ‘Isle of the Blessed’. His ‘navigatio’ story forms part of the ‘immram’ tradition of Old Irish literature, recounting the exploits of heroes embarking on sea adventures in search of the Otherworld. Brendan’s voyage, like many immrams, brings the travellers through countless trials and encounters along the way to their destination. Commencing on the shores of Kerry, Brendan and his followers set out into the ocean guided by the angels. They encounter islands, which offer mysterious hospitality and islands full of threat. They reside on an island inhabited by sheep during Holy Week. Floods threaten and they are guided to an island with fresh water. They find an island with three choirs of anchorites who give them fruit to eat. Sea monsters approach their boat but God moves the ocean to protect them. Birds of Paradise prophesise that they will have to continue their journey for seven years before they are holy enough to reach the Isle of the Blessed. They find an island, then realise it is actually a whale. After many further exploits recounted in manuscripts throughout Europe, they finally reach the Isle of the Blessed.

This programme was inspired by medieval chants and polyphony resonant with this story, as well as scriptural texts, medieval and contemporary Irish poetry.

CANTORAL is an all-female vocal ensemble from the University of Limerick, Ireland. Founded by Catherine Sergent and Helen Phelan, the ensemble specializes in Western plainchant and early polyphony, with a particular interest in medieval Irish repertoire. Formed in 2008 at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, University of Limerick, in consist of graduates, doctoral students and members of faculty from Ireland, England, France, Poland, Holland, the United States, Japan and Mexico. 

Free. Organised by FUAIM

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