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Heresy Records Announces Release of “The Red Book Of Ossory” By Anakronos

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Heresy Records Announces Release of “The Red Book Of Ossory” By Anakronos

The Red Book of Ossory is an important 14th century Irish manuscript and a true tale of political intrigue, sex, sorcery, murder and music. The collection of texts includes 60 poems by Richard de Ledrede, Bishop of Ossory. The lyrics of the songs on this album are by the 14th century Bishop of Ossory, Richard de Ledrede.

The bishop instructed that these lyrics be sung by the priests, clerks and choristers of the St Canice's Cathedral "on the important holidays and at celebrations in order that their throats and mouths, consecrated to God, may not be polluted by songs which are lewd, secular, and associated with revelry, and, since they are trained singers, let them provide themselves with suitable tunes according to what these sets of words require". Accordingly, Anakronos founder Caitríona O'Leary has set de Ledrede's esoteric and imagistic poetry to music from a multitude of medieval sources including Chansonnier du Roi, Llibre Vermell de Montserrat, Codices Chantilly, Modena, Squarcialupi and others.

Upon his arrival from the papal court at Avignon to Kilkenny in 1317 Ledrede immediately set about challenging the secular authorities and making a name for himself as a zealous moralizer and "scourge of heresy". In 1324 he arraigned Dame Alice Kyteler, a wealthy businesswoman and serial espouser (she married four times) on the charge of being a witch. He alleged that she denied Christ, enchanted the citizens of Kilkenny with magic potions made from the entrails of cocks which had been sacrificed to demons, dead men's nails, hair and brains of boys who had been buried unbaptised, all cooked up in the skull of a decapitated thief, that she had a demon lover named Artisson with whom she had sex in public, and that she murdered her first three husbands and was poisoning her fourth. Dame Alice, however, had powerful allies who protected her and facilitated her flight to England where she vanished from history.

Though Dame Alice escaped with her life, her servant Petronilla de Meath was not so fortunate. She was captured, flogged through six parishes and a confession of sorcery was extracted. She was burned alive at the stake for the heresy of witchcraft, the first person in history to be thus charged and immolated.

The Red Book of Ossory is available on, in records shops internationally and online at Amazon, Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, Presto Music and streaming and digital service providers.

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