The band behind the Republic of Ireland’s Euro 2016 anthem hope it shows the Irish language is “cool and modern” when fans roar it from French football terraces this summer.
Seo Linn – whose Irish translation of Avicii’s Wake Me Up went viral, amassing millions of views on YouTube – will stir passion with The Irish Roar which looks back at the Irish team over the past 26 years and pays tribute to one of Ireland’s best-loved sports anchors, Bill O’Herlihy, who died last year.
The anthem features the traditional song Oro Se do Bheatha ‘Bhaile – one of the most popular tunes in the Irish language and a popular song at the time of the Easter Rising in 1916.
Stiofan O Fearail, the band’s lead singer from County Roscommon, said they felt it was appropriate to include the famous chorus due to the European Championships taking place in the rebellion’s centenary year.
The six-piece band, who met at the Gaeltacht – or Irish language summer school – in Connemara, are renowned for their translations of pop songs, and translated Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud which the star went on to record.
Asked about their inclusion of Irish in the song, O Fearail, 26, told the Press Association: “With a project like this we have to remember that we’re serving the whole population of Ireland.”
He added: “We wanted the song to be as open as possible to everyone and we know that everyone, well, a lot of people in Ireland, will know Oro Se do Bheatha ‘Bhaile.”
He said they wanted to ignite the idea that the Irish language is “cool and modern”, and is something that could be “chanted in the terraces at a football match”.
Asked about the prospect of taking an Irish song to an international stage, he said: “It’s weird to look at Ireland playing in the Euros against Sweden, or Belgium or Italy, and if the fans were singing Oro Se do Bheatha ‘Bhaile that would be just amazing. It really would.”
O Fearail said if the band has any part to play in a resurgence of the Irish language it would be a “massive honour”, adding: “But at the end of the day, the end goal is the most important. We just want the Irish language to appear to be available, to be something that people can enjoy.”
Thinking about the possibility of fans singing their song and its Irish chorus in the Stade de France, he said: “Absolutely. It would be a great icing to the cake. The most important thing with the song is it’s an anthem for the fans to get behind the team.
“If it meant people would be singing Irish in the terraces that would be a wonderful icing on the cake, but the real thing here is that we’re getting behind the Irish team for the Euros.”
A 30-second video clip of the song has been posted online and it will be performed for the first time on Friday at the Aviva Stadium when the Republic take on the Netherlands in a friendly .
Seo Linn – which roughly translates as “Off we go” – were asked to create the official anthem after the chief executive at the Football Association of Ireland (FAI), John Delaney, saw them perform at a cultural celebration marking the centenary of the Easter Rising.
The concert, which was broadcast on RTE, was hailed as a huge success, with some even referring to it as the new Riverdance.
The FAI did not hold a competition for the official football anthem but received around 50 pieces of music from people – some said to be “big names”.
But it is Seo Linn who were chosen to provide the music for fans expected to throng the streets of Paris, Bordeaux and Lille as Martin O’Neill’s men bid for glory next month.