blog / Music

Mícheál Ó Domhnaill 1952-2006

The late Mícheál Ó Domhnaill for me, will always be associated with Nightnoise.  Although he was credited to bands he formed in the 70’s up to the 90’s, my discovery came when I heard Nightnoise on a compilation album in the late 90s. Nightnoise has this distinctive acoustic-chamber-jazzy and traditional kind of feel. He played the guitar/piano and backed by his sister Tríona Ní Domhnaill — vocals, flute, and clavinet. Other band members were Johnny Cunningham — violin (joined 1990),Brian Dunning — flute ,John Fitzpatrick — violin (joined 1997) , Billy Oskay — violin and of course he himself ,Mícheál Ó Domhnaill — guitar and piano.

I didn’t know he died due to a fall on his home on July 7 2006 and it was a shocked because I was listening to Nightnoise on a 3 am. There is this sad thing about being written in history- with a date attached to it. He was only 53 and he could have done more. The would have been wonderful music, not with his band but maybe as solo projects or collaborations with other musicians.
When I hear Snow on a High Ground, the band’s music on a compilation that got me to them, there is that bitter-sweet sense of presence. That song has been with me since the 90s and the crisp and powerful piano sound coupled with Triona’s backing vocals is surely an evocative piece of Celtic music.

Luka Bloom mentioned on his tour that there is a similarity between Jamaicans and Irish . I wouldn’t be surprise. I hear the same passion, the same longing for the God when I listen to Reggae and then Celtic music. We could not also deny that Irish music is a family affair. Most of the band members are related by blood and as they say, being Irish and playing music is synonymous.

I know I will never anticipate a new recording from the late great , Mícheál Ó Domhnaill but I will treasure his recorded works and will be haunting for most of his stuff in Skara Brae,The Bothy Band and Relativity .


Someone asked me how is it that I love Irish music coming from the Philippines. I told him it is simple. It’s like liking Jamaican music even you are not from Jamaica(even going as far as knowing Jamaican phrases). It is the same thing with Irish music because after all, the music itself is universal. There’s this one interview with Moya Brennan and she was asked about the popularity of Irish music . And she answered about the Christian missionaries sent out who actually spread not only the gospel but the culture as well.  And therefore you could say that the Irish conquered the world! Wise words from a great woman there. After all, they didn’t call her Enya’s older sister(literally) for nothing.

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