Dàibhidh Stiùbhard -
A SINGER FROM A PLACE WITH NO NAME
Dàibhidh Stiùbhard sings from that deep place within which the most meaningful and meant words are found. His young life has been an exploration and excavation of song, and culture and language; digging into the soil and the soul of his native land to find his roots and his place.
"I close my eyes and it's just me, the words, the tune, the ornamentation and the air around me," he says. " You get deeper and deeper into the words."
This is the joining of the dots - the mystery and the meaning; making sense and song out of the threads and the fragments and the patterns of life.
His debut album An Sionnach Dubh - the black fox - brings songs together from the Ulster, Irish language and Scots Gaidhlig traditions. He also brings his own writing and learning and interpretations to this compilation.
"More and more I feel that traditional singing is one of life's greatest untapped and purist pleasures," he says.
In 2018, Dàibhidh Stiùbhard was senior traditional singing champion at both the Tyrone and Ulster fleadhs. That same year, he recorded with Scottish folk band Malinky as a guest on their 20th anniversary cd and, months later in 2019, was on stage with them at the Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow. These have been the stepping stones to his first album.
Stiùbhard comes from a Church of Ireland family and background. His home-place Tullywiggan is a dot on the Tyrone landscape. Don't look for a road sign. There isn't one. He is a singer from a place with no name. The Ulster University photography graduate speaks of traditional music creeping into his childhood; his first words of Irish spoken in that Tullywiggan home. Since then, his discovery has been a language and a culture for all.
This is the context in which he speaks and sings of acht na gaeilge anois; not by way of some political statement or demand, but in recognition and acknowledgement of something that can be owned and cherished by all. Converting the different cultures and traditions and languages into song is, he says, "something wonderfully intimate".
In January 2020, he returns to Glasgow and the Celtic Connections Festival on a first stage to announce his debut album.