Here is the first reply to my inquiry about "seanmas" to the Arizona Irish Music Society. It looks, as other posters to this thread have suggested, that "seanma" is what the original poster was looking for.
To: "Bryce Babcock"
Sent: Wednesday, October 20, 2004 4:54 AM
Subject: Gaelic word for seanmas
>I am on an email list "Scotslore" and asked your question concerning
> the word seanmas... Here's the reply:
> I asked a lingust on the Whiteoak list (www.technovate.org/whiteoak) to help
> with this and here is what he said (Alexei Kondratiev)
> < > "seanmas". Does anyone know if that is an Irish word and,
> if so, what is the meaning? A musical group wanted to use
> it as their name with the understanding that it meant
> "minstrel" or "musician" or something along those lines, but
> wanted to be sure it was a real word and that they
> were using it correctly. What is/are the Irish word(s) for
> minstrel and musician?
> I don't know of any word _seanmas_, but I suspect it's a garbling >of _seanma_, the genitive of the verbal noun _seinm_ "to play >music", which in some dialects stands as a word in itself and can >also mean "tune". There's also an adjective _seanmnach_ which >means "tuneful".
> The usual word for "minstrel" in Irish is _oirfideach_. >"Minstrelsy" (ie, the craft that they practice) is >_oirfideadh_.
The AIMS newsletter is due out today, so I may get a reply there. If so, I'll post it here. Though I think it would be safe to use "Seanma" as a name for the group in question.