Deirdre of the Sorrows

“Gaelic romance is summed up in the one word, ‘Deirdre.'” – Charles Squire

Track Samples:

At the Feast of Samhain:

Deirdre and Naoise Meet:

Price: $15.00 (includes shipping & handling). Set in a violent landscape of earthen fortresses and tribal conflicts, ‘Deirdre of the Sorrows’ is said to be based on true events that happened around 1000 BC. Famous in Ireland for being one of the ‘three sorrows’ of Irish storytelling, Deirdre was one of three tragic tales that a shenachie (Celtic storyteller) must be able to relate. Over time many versions of this haunting tale have made their way into Celtic storytelling and literature. Most of the adaptations avoided the searing imagery and cultivated a tamer version that prettified the ending. There was only one source that kept the edge of the original – a visceral tension that hovered between sweetness and cruelty. This was ‘The Tain’ or ‘Cattle Raid’- the oldest vernacular epic in Western literature. Diane’s version is based solidly on Thomas Kinsella’s translation of “The Tain.” The presence of the druid, the divine rights of the high king, the harshness of the life and the taboos hidden in the geis (a sworn promise given) are drawn from this version and from Diane’s extensive research into the life and world of the pre-Christian Celts.
Recommended for Adults; Grades 10 and above.

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“To see Diane Edgecomb perform Deirdre of the Sorrows, accompanied by Margot Chamberlain on the Celtic harp, is to watch poetry in motion. Hearing this haunting story on this exquisite recording conjures up images of both beauty and horror, leaving the listener breathless. Do not plan on listening to this recording and then going back to business as usual. It may take a while to recover composure….This story is timed perfectly to rise and fall with the crescendo of the harp. The characters are distinct and vivid. They will visit you in your dreams. Even though they break your heart, you will not be able to let go of them.” Linda Goodman ~CD Reviews

“Certainly mine is one of countless voices who will tell you how deeply moving, enlightening, and even inspiring is Diane Edgecomb’s version of this tale. It is not too much to say that I was shaken by the power of her ‘Deirdre,’ often referred to as ‘One of the Three Sorrows of Irish Storytelling.’ As a folklorist with a special interest in orality and storytelling traditions, and as a scholar of medieval Celtic literature, my appreciation of Diane’s work is deepened and enhanced by an awareness of the sound scholarship that underlies it…it is worth remembering that in early Irish society and even until fairly recently, the scéalaí (traditional storyteller) held a position of power, authority and respect for his or her ability to “synchronize all the stories.” In short, the scéalaí helped people see the world in its wholeness, richness, and beauty. Diane Edgecomb’s gifts fall very much into that line.” Kate Chadbourne, Professor of Irish language, folklore, and storytelling, Harvard University

“The music of Diane Edgecomb’s storytelling and the drama of Margot Chamberlain’s harp music engaged my attention from the opening of ‘Deirdre’ to its conclusion. This recording is not only moving and impressive, but also enduring. Bravo and Thank You to all the artists involved.” Cynthia Price-Glynn, Chair, Harp Dept. Boston Conservatory, Principal Harpist, Boston Ballet.