DLÚ, a quintet of young Scottish Gaels have just released their remarkable debut album as they champion the Gaelic language and culture, celebrating all those who celebrate and tackle its many centuries of neglect.
Having no grasp of the language myself, I learn that the band’s name DLÚ is pronounced Dloo, as in blue, and that the album’s title Moch rhymes with ‘loch’.
The four founding members of DLÚ first met at Sgoil Ghᾲidhlig Ghlaschu – Glasgow and Scotland’s first all-Gaelic school. Aidan Spiers, Zach Roman, Moilidh NicGriogair and Andrew Grossart were joined by Jack Dorrian on bass, completing the five piece line up. Another guest vocalist was factored in – another alumnus from the school, Joseph McCluskey.
It’s no surprise to note that the camaraderie of the school and college friends is reflected in the fact that DLÚ draws on the Gaelic word for ‘closeness’ – dlùth. The word dlùth also means the warp of woven cloth.
It’s this warp and weft of many woven threads, patterns and textures that blend to make the final cloth – the outworking of the overall fabric and herein lies the clue, to DLÚ.
It’s a metaphor of course.
Described deliciously as Urban ‘weigie’ Gaels, the close knit crew grew up in and around Glasgow – a fine city with a Gaelic story running through its wider narrative. Now, new generations of Glasgow Gaels – confident young people – keen to continue the heritage of their ancestors – through music, culture, and art – carving out their own identity as ‘Gàidheil Ghlaschu’ – Glasgow’s Gaels.
Moch is much, much more than its traditional musical core – although this is very much at roots. Mixed in to the warp and weave of progressive folk, is a fastidious intermingling of funk, rock and pure pop, of classical training and the echoes of ancient, rousing rhythms and beats.
This inter-connectedness of past and present bears fruit – in twelve intricate, delicate tunes of authentic pedigree – yet totally immersed in a new understanding and interpretation of the textures of a musical language steeped in traditional form.
For us, Gaelic is part of our identity and heritage. It’s about who we are and where we come from, and we would hate to see it lost, because when you lose a language you lose everything that goes with it: knowledge and culture and history. To lose the music would be catastrophic.
This tribe that met at school and formed a band – much in the same way as Radiohead, U2 or Green Day – were different. Growing up as a Gaelic speaker in a city where it seemed a foreign voice could feel lonely, hence that close bond that formed.
Opening with the title track ‘Moch’ (the dawning, the start of things), and with something to say in ‘Am Politician’, it’s an exciting, engaging and enigmatic listen something totally different and bursting with life and energy – it’s a feisty rising against ignorance, apathy and neglect of culture, language and identity.
The band hold true to an old Gaelic proverb:
Thig crioch air saoghal ach mairidh gaol is ceol
which I’m told translates as ‘the world may end but love and music will endure’. Spot on.