Tag Archives: irish artist

Roisin El Cherif – Half A Life

Part Irish, part Palestinian, the Galway girl Roisin El Cherif has turned in stunning live performances across the country, solidifying claims that she is one of the most promising singer-songwriters to watch in the live circuit, among her fellow luminaries. Her warm voice and carefully calibrated songwriting captures the imagination and captivates the listener.  

During the making of her new EP, to be released in the Summer of 2018, Roisin was approached by a very impressed Ken Callait, producer of one of the most significant albums ever released, Fleetwood Mac: Rumours to attend ArtistMax – an LA based three day mentoring and songwriting workshop where she upgraded her songwriting style.  

Says Roisin of the new single ‘Half a life’:  “Half a life came from feeling very low about loving but not living. Sometimes you can give so much into a place, a person, a job, a feeling or whatever floats your boat; to realise you are only living half of what you could be. Then doubts of who you are and what you want take over. It’s something I’m learning. What you want and what is meant for you, don’t always align”.



https://i1.wp.com/www.purtykitchen.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Mary-Coughlan-c-Michael-Kelly.jpgMARY COUGHLAN kicks off her Nationwide Tour on Friday, 8th September 2017 in Macroom and performs throughout Ireland finishing in Tralee on Friday, 3rd November 2017.  List of tour dates below.  Tickets are on sale now. 

For Mary there will always be two falls. The first happened in Mesopotamia about 5000 years ago, we are told. The second happened in a sea-front house in Bray, near Dublin, around 1994. In the first, Eve was expelled from Eden for her sins and women have borne the brunt of it ever since. In the second, a heavily pregnant and very drunk Mary Coughlan fell onto her kitchen floor in a stupor, a piece of bread and butter plastered to her unconscious face. That was how her husband and three children found her when they returned from shopping. The next night Mary was taken to hospital where she miscarried. And she has borne the brunt of it ever since.

But this is not why Mary Coughlan is the greatest female vocalist these islands have ever produced. It’s not even why she stands alongside, or even between, the bruised, battered but unbeaten giants of jazz chanson on both sides of the Atlantic, Billie Holiday and Edith Piaf. Mary Coughlan is the only singer these shores have produced to rival the greatest of European cabaret and American jazz club blues because of one thing: her voice. She is unique in blending the whisky-blurred, smoke-seared, husky notes and laconic wit of Billie Holiday and Peggy Lee and the line of deep, down and dirty blues singers back to Memphis Minnie and Bessie Smith with the sardonic, bitter-sweet defiance and despair of the Piaf chanteuse, born out of war, in the shadow of Brecht, at war with the world, men and finally herself. And Mary Coughlan enfolds it all in a delicious and unapologetic Irish drawl, sceptical, rueful, mournful and melting, ardent for love, all in one voice which wraps itself around Cole Porter and Jerome Kern, Elvis Presley and Joy Division, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards and sails down that long river of blues that links the Mississippi to the Liffey in her magnificent Irish brogue.

And the most remarkable thing of all is her quarrel with Ireland. She evidently detests the stage Irishry which persists to this day in Riverdance, U2 and The Corrs. But in her curt consonants, luxuriant plosives and Dub dipthongs she is nakedly Irish, Galway born, the daughter of a Donegal soldier and a Connemara woman. Yeats wrote, “Out of our quarrel with others, we make rhetoric. Out of our quarrel with ourselves, we make poetry.” Out of her quarrels Mary Coughlan has made some of the best music in these islands for twenty-five years. And it’s time she was applauded for that.

In 1994 she went into rehab in Dublin and with her family’s support defeated her alcoholism and hasn’t taken a drink since. It’s understandable why Mary should feel so powerful an identification with Holiday. But that’s not what makes her the giant she is, someone who fills the sky alongside Holiday, Piaf, Lee, Fitzgerald, London, Vaughan, Washington. Music history is littered with performers and artists dead or defeated by drink or drugs. That is not what makes a singer great. Nor even the conquering of addiction, though that’s no mean feat, God knows.

In 2001 Mary consciously identified herself with her musical inspiration in her liner notes to ‘Mary Coughlan Sings Billie Holiday’, a live recording of her homage show to Holiday staged in Dublin and London, ‘Lady Sings the Blues’. The resemblance was more than musical. Holiday was dead at 44, the age Mary did the show. Mary had been sober for more than six years after a murderous decade of drinking in her 30s, consuming bottles of vodka or tequila a day, which dragged her in and out of hospital more than 30 times, led to the death of her unborn child and almost killed her one night in intensive care where she needed tubes through her neck artery to feed her heart the drugs needed to get her through the night. A doctor was by her side throughout.

Mary is our greatest female singer because over twenty-five years and ten albums she’s made the most grown-up, uncompromising, wholly personal and utterly universal music on either side of the Atlantic about what goes on between men and women. She has taken the classic standards of jazz balladry and the recent gems of rock and Irish song-writing, shaken them and offered them up anew, like jewels dripping from the deep, strewn on black velvet. She sings in the voice of the wrong and wronged woman and she makes us think what it is men make of women and what women have to do to make do. She has just one other forebear in the pretty pallid parade of British female pop artists, just one other woman whose bruised, haunted voice could find and enjoy the inconsolable longing and loss in a three minute pop song: Dusty Springfield. Or Mary Isabel Catherine Bernadette O’Brien, to give her her real name. Born to an Irish Catholic family. Small world.

MARY COUGHLAN kicks off her Nationwide Tour on Friday, 8th September 2017 in Macroom and performs throughout Ireland finishing in Tralee on Friday, 3rd November 2017.  List of tour dates below.  Tickets are on sale now. 


Mary Coughlan and Her Musicians: NATIONWIDE TOUR: 

Fri 8th Sept | Riverside Park Hotel, Macroom

www.riversidepark.ie | (026) 20090

Sat 9th Sept | Mill Theatre, Dundrum

www.milltheatre.ie | (01) 296 9340

Thurs 14th Sept | Draiocht, Blanchardstown

www.draiocht.ie | (01) 885 2622

Fri 15th Sept | Pavilion Theatre, Dun Laoghaire

www.paviliontheatre.ie | (01) 231 2929

Sat 16th Sept | Visual Arts Centre, Carlow

www.visualcarlow.ie | (059) 917 2400

Fri 22nd Sept | Town Hall, Galway

www.tht.ie | (091) 569 777

Sat 23rd Sept | An Grianan, Letterkenny

www.angrianan.com | (074) 912 0777

Sun 24th Sept | Civic Theatre, Tallaght

www.civictheatre.ie | (01) 462 7477

Fri 29th Sept | Backstage Theatre, Longford

www.backstage.ie | (043) 334 7888

Fri 6th Oct | Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray

www.mermaidartscentre.ie | (01) 272 4030

Sat 7th Oct | Iontas, Castleblayney

www.iontascastleblayney.ie | (042) 975 3400

Sun 8th Oct | Birr Theatre & Arts Centre

www.birrtheatre.com | (057) 912 2911

Sat 14th Oct | Town Hall, Westport

www.westporttheatre.com | (098) 28459

Fri 20th Oct | St Michaels Theatre, New Ross

www.stmichaelsnewross.com | (051) 421 255

Sat 21st Oct | Venue Theatre, Ratoath

www.venuetheatre.ie | (01) 689 5600

Thurs 26th Oct | Dunamaise Arts Centre, Portlaoise

www.dunamaise.ie | (057) 866 3355

Fri 27th Oct | Roscommon Arts Centre

www.roscommonartscentre.ie | 090 662 5824

Fri 3rd Nov | Siamsa Tire, Tralee

www.siamsatire.com | (066) 712 3055