Musicians of Waterford: (Courtesty of the Knotted Chord Archive, 2002).
Nioclas Toibin(1928-1994) Sean-nos singer.
Born in the parish of Rinn O gCuanach(Ring) in County Waterford. His father and mother, Seamas Toibin and Maighread Ni Sheanachain, were both well known sean-nos singers who in turn has been taught by their own parents.
Nioclas’ other main infulence when learning his art was an old school teacher Pilip O Foghlu.
Ring has long been regarded as having it’s own distinctive sean nos singing style and Nioclas is it’s master. He continues to influence most Irish singers and musicians. Among those who credit him is whistle player Mary Bergin and singer with the group Danu, Ciaran O’Gealbhain.
He won the Corn Ui Riada(as it is now called), the principal national singing competition, at the Oireachtas for 3 years from 1961 to 1963.
Nioclas issued two EP’s with Gael Linn in 1963 and in 1977 released an LP also with Gael Linn.
He is considered to have a powerful voice, with a very wide range, total breathing control and faithfulness to the melody. While his repertoire is very much based in Na Deise it also included songs from many other parts of the country, totalling over 300 songs.
Many of his songs originate with great Irish poets such as Piaras Mac Gearailt, Tomas Mac Craith, Padraig Denn and Padraig O’Mileadha.
One of the songs Nioclas has been most associated with is "Na Connerys" which recalls the sufferings of three brothers transported from Waterford to New South Wales in the first half of the 19th century. Another is "Roisin Dubh" which also features on a collection of Nioclas’ radio recordings called "Rinn na Gael"(Clo Iar-Chonnachta).
Personally Nioclas is remembered as quiet spoken and modest, with a strong sense of the heritage he carried, and always generous with his singing and his repertoire. (NmacC)
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