This song brings to life a text of the same name by W.B. Yeats. ‘The Hosting of the Sidhe' (pronounced ‘shee’) was discovered by Dominic among the poet’s collection The Wind Among the Reeds from 1899. This arrangement evolved during one of our stays in deepest Cornwall.
The Sidhe is the Irish term for a paranormal community of ghost like spirits, comparable to the fairies, some say to be the ancestors and remnants of the old Gods of Ireland. They live in mounds and coexist with humans across a parallel dimension. Their world is described in the Book of Invasions, and this poem is about Caoilte, nephew of Finn Mac Cumhail, witnessing the procession of the Aos Sí (the modern form of Sidhe) to the land of Tír na nÓg - the land of eternal youth.
The Host is the descriptor of these spirits traveling from Knocknarea, which you can still go and see today. It’s a large hill in the west of Sligo, with stunning views on a clear day, it’s no wonder this area sparked intrigue and myth. Dominic would like to dedicate The Hosting of the Sidhe to his grandfather Colin McCrosson; a fascinating and esoteric mind, a truly romantic heart and an all-round character.
The Host is riding from Knocknarea, over the grave of Clooth-na-bare,
Caoilte tossing his burning hair, and Niamh calling away, come away:
Empty your heard of its mortal dream, winds awaken leaves whirl around,
Our cheeks are pale our hair unbound, our breasts are heaving our eyes are agleam.
Are arms are waving our lips are apart, and if any gaze on our rushing band;
We come between him and deed of his hand, we come between him and the hope of his heart.
The host is riding ‘twixt night and day, and where is there hope or deed as fair,
Caoilte tossing his burning hair and Naimh calling away, come away.
Folk trio TEYR evolved out of London’s thriving session scene, combining bothy ballads, focsle shanties, folk tunes and Irish poetry. Their unique blend of voices and instruments draws links between the many sounds of the Celtic and British isles.