Ar scáth a chéile a Mhaireann na daoine


A new work by Dan Trueman and Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh for Contemporaneous

Aonar, the last track on Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh and Dan Trueman's duo album Laghdú (which received a rare 5-star review in The Irish Times), is a “stunning, barren, yet evocative land-scape” (Donnacha Dennehy), dwelling on the edge of a detailed silence, then erupting suddenly and forcefully into expressive sonic summits. Aonar, which means “alone” in Irish, will serve as a touchstone for a new substantial work for Ó Raghallaigh and Contemporaneous, composed by Trueman in collaboration with Ó Raghallaigh.

The work's title, Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine, translates roughly from the Gaelic as “it’s in the shelter of each other’s shadows that we live,” an equivalent of the English proverb, “no man is an island.” This work is imagined to explore the idea of “detailed silence” in depth, while also engaging the power and rhythms, if not explicitly the tunes, of traditional fiddle music. With Ó Raghallaigh as the lone soloist, the notion of being alone will be embedded within the fabric of the performance. Sometimes the fiddle will be shadowed by the whole of Contemporaneous; other times it will reach out and engage directly with individual members of the ensemble, utilizing the virtuosity of its members.

Ó Raghallaigh’s work stretches deep into traditional Irish music, both old (his recordings of traditional tunes have consistently been recognized as landmarks) and new (his band The Gloaming plays for audiences in the finest halls around the world), while he also ventures fearlessly into contemporary and improvisatory music. Trueman’s work ranges from traditional Norwegian fiddling through contemporary chamber and orchestral composition to cutting-edge electronic music. While they have collaborated before as a duo, composing for their custom-made Hardanger d’Amore fiddles, this new work presents an opportunity for them to stretch, exploring the range, power, colors, and size of Contemporaneous as a kind of multifaceted duo partner.

Expected to be 25-35 minutes, the piece will work as the second half of a program, perhaps paired with other repertoire from Contemporaneous (such as Sarah Goldfeather's new work Treading Water) and/or Ó Raghallaigh and Trueman performing music from Laghdú.

In short:

  • Music by Dan Trueman and Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh

  • Duration 25-35 minutes

  • Instrumentation: solo Hardanger d'Amore fiddle (Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh) and medium ensemble (flute, clarinet, trumpet, trombone, 2 percussionists, guitar, piano, and string quintet)

  • In-progress showing: April 17, 2019 at Princeton University (more information)

  • Co-commissioner and world premiere opportunities available for the 2019-2020 season

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine artists


Dan Trueman, composer

The dazzling results mixed George Crumb’s knack for unearthly timbres, Alvin Lucier’s infinitesimally fine gradations of tone and the fierce creative audacity of Jimi Hendrix.
— The New York Times

Trueman is a man out of time, one foot in tomorrow’s software, the other in yesterday’s folk music.
— Electronic Musician


Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh, co-composer, Hardanger d'Amore fiddle soloist

the most imaginative and fascinating musician in all of trad.
— Earle Hitchner, Irish Echo, USA

the missing link between Martin Hayes and Purple Haze.
— Nick Kelly, Irish Independent, Ireland

the most singular traditional Irish musician of [his] generation.
— State Magazine, Ireland


For booking inquiries, contact Contemporaneous Executive and Co-Artistic Director Dylan Mattingly at or (510) 333.2543.