|My CD “McOne” • “Rossnowlagh” • “Tanushree’s Lullaby” • “Ruby”|
“I don’t think I’ve reached the pinnacle of what I’m going to be doing; I just think that I’m firing on all pistons in terms of my health and my emotional balance and my ability to play and sing well. And I know what I’m doing more – I think that’s something that comes from being in your 50s as well as from experience. I think it takes this long to get comfortable.”
Singer/Activist Bonnie Raitt
There has always been music in my family: my father played trumpet and could master just about any other instrument you put into his hands, my mother sang in her local church choir as a girl, entertained us kids with very dramatic versions of pre WWI Music Hall songs and rediscovered her love of that genre in her 70s. At that time she joined a troupe of senior citizen ladies who, calling themselves “The Cregagh Follies”, used to get dressed up in their best early 1900s finery and go off to entertain their less fortunate peers in nursing homes all around Ulster.
At one point, my mother and her singing “sisters” were honoured by the Lord Mayor of Belfast – we were all very proud of her.
I always loved to sing and my younger brother Don and I became sort of neighbourhood celebrities when a neighbour heard us singing Harry Belafonte songs in two-part harmony when we were 5 and 4 years old. The only other singing I did then was in our church choir but Don and my sister Maureen continued the family musical tradition in the 60s and 70s.
I loved the Everly Brothers and then the Beatles as well as singers like Ella Fitzgerald and Peggy Lee. But I never thought of performing – that happened much later, after I had hung up my travellin’ shoes and settled in Munich.
My newly found Munich friends had taken me for a weekend in the mountains and our rambunctious party went on into the wee hours. The next morning we sat outside in the sun, nursing our hangovers and vaguely trying to decide whether we were up to donning our hiking boots and tackling that mountain over there. Our dilemma was resolved when our friend Edi Schorer brought out his guitar and started playing quietly – I soon realised that he was playing a lot of songs I knew, so I sat myself down beside him and started to sing along.
And that, as the saying goes, was that. Edi and I recruited another couple of eager musicians and founded the group “Backyard Band”. Over the course of the next few years, I sang with lots of different groups, with styles ranging from Folk to Funk to Rock.
Edi and I have remained friends over the years and have played music together in various combinations in the interim. I still guest occasionally with his Irish band “Ceolan” and when we decided to do the CD, Edi turned up to play on a couple of tracks.