Amhrán an Fhir Bháin is a new Irish Language Broadcast Fund documentary celebrating the life and works of Seán Bán Mac Grianna from Rannafast in the Donegal Gaeltacht. It airs on Monday, 28th October, at 10pm on BBC Two Northern Ireland.
Seán Bán (1905-1979) was born into a family of poets and storytellers in an area of Donegal with an astonishing Irish literary heritage. The brother of renowned Donegal writers Séamus Ó Grianna and Seosamh Mac Grianna, he was himself a magnificent writer, poet, storyteller and musician.
In the 30 minute film Séan Bán is remembered through the significant body of beautiful songs that he penned, songs such as ‘Mheall Sí Lena Glórthaí Mé’ and ‘Cumha an Fhile’, songs that have provided hits for Altan, Clannad, and many others since.
Seán Bán spent his life in Rannafast where he taught at the popular Irish language college, Coláiste Bhríde. He is fondly remembered by many who passed through its doors as a wonderful teacher and seanchaí.
An expert on genealogy, he has been described as one of the last Gaelic bards and is also remembered fondly by the Irish language community in Belfast. During the Irish language revival in Belfast in the 1960’s, members of Cumann Chluain Ard recorded Seán Bán telling stories and singing songs. The recordings were used at the time as a teaching resource and they were subsequently published in a book.
Amhrán an Fhir Bháin is a celebration of his life and works and features performances from T with The Maggies, Doimnic Mac Giolla Bhríde and Aodh Mac Ruairí among others.
Producer Gráinne Holland says “I have long held an interest in Seán Bán Mac Grianna’s work and it was a great honour for me to be able to tell his story in this way. His songs and poems are as fresh today as ever and remain popular with a younger generation.”