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Bright Star of the West – Joe Heaney, Irish Song Man | Oxford Scholarship Online
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Bright Star of the West: Joe Heaney, Irish Song Man

Sean Williams and Lillis Ó Laoire


This book explores the life and performance practices of the Irish sean-nós singer Joe Heaney (1919–1984). Born in Connemara, Ireland, as an autonomous state was about to be created, Heaney grew up speaking the Irish language on a windswept coastal landscape, where he absorbed a rich oral heritage in Irish and in his second language, English. Circumstances took him abroad, and eventually to the United States; he performed and sang his way through life, seeking to accomplish his quest of recognition for an art that was understood as such by only a few. His ability to enthrall and mesmerize his ... More

Keywords: sean-nós, Joe Heaney, masculinity, language, religion, history, performance, Ireland, songs, identity, authenticity

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2011 Print ISBN-13: 9780195321180
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195321180.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Sean Williams, author
Evergreen State College

Lillis Ó Laoire, author
Loyola Marymount University