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Seanchai: Great Storytellers of All Time

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  • Larry Collins (1954 - 2006)
  • Red Buttons (1919 - 2006)
    Red Buttons (born Aaron Chwatt; February 5, 1919 – July 13, 2006) was an American comedian and Academy Award winning actor.
    Sid James (1913 - 1976)
    Sid James was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1913. Both of his parents were in show business and much of his early life was spent on or backstage - he made his first appearance onstage aged 10....
  • Brendan Francis Behan (1923 - 1964)
    Source: Find A Grave memorial #2007. . He wrote in both Irish and English, was a poet, short story writer, novelist, and one of the most successful Irish dramatists of the 20th century. He was also a c...

Seanchaí (shan-a-key) were traditional Irish storytellers and the custodians of history for centuries in Ireland. They could recite ancient lore and tales of wisdom whenever it was needed and could be considered as something of the Google of ancient times.

The English translation and definition of seanchaí is, in fact, a custodian of tradition and while storytelling has largely been replaced in Ireland with TV and film as it has in the rest of the world, it's still a highly respected ability that will have crowds waiting on a storyteller's every world. Seanchas. on the other hand, means "ancient lore or traditional knowledge".

Ireland has one of the richest folklore traditions in the world. This is primarily due to the fact that the Celtic culture has been maintained for more than 2,000 years and the tradition of oral composition and performance has been strong throughout Irish history.

The Irish hold a great appreciation for the "spoken word" and the use of language and have created a unique and beautifully poetic oral literature.

In ancient Celtic society, bards held a position of esteem, second only to kings. Bards memorized vast amounts of poetry which they performed live, and their poems and songs were often the only historical record available. Some may consider them to be historians.

Bards evolved into storytellers called "seanchaí" who wandered from town to town. In this informal way, an ancient oral literary tradition continued into modern times.

The seanchaí is an important link in Celtic/Irish cultural heritage and continues to play a dominant role in the oral tradition, bringing old stories to life for modern-day listeners.

Ref: _____________________________________________________________________________________ Project created by P.L. Baldo-Diaz on May 17th, 2019 21:03 HRS ARR