Q&A Scene: Nuala Kennedy


Tell us about your new single/album/tour?
I’ll be on tour with my Scottish band mates Donald Hay on drums and Mike Bryan on guitar. We will be playing a mix of music from our newest release ‘Noble Stranger’ and from our forthcoming new record, which we hope to begin work on while in Australia. We will be performing at the Blue Mountains Festival, The National Folk Festival and Fairbridge Festival in Perth as well as some other smaller shows. All the details will soon be up on NualaKennedy.com. As a trio we have toured widely including a month in the USA last year, so we are really looking forward to bringing our music to Australia. It’s a high energy, set -spacious traditional ballads interspersed with rocking’ sets of tunes, I can’t wait to get out on the road with the guys again!

How would you describe your sound in food form and why?
Emm… let me see… probably like a delicious trifle-  it’s a classic dish, with three main constituent parts but on further exploration there are multiple layers and some tasty surprises.

Which song resonates most strongly and why?
At the moment I’m really enjoying singing ‘Fair Annie of the Loch Royanne’ which is an old version of Lord Gregory. It’s such a dramatic tale, full of adventure and mishap on the high seas. The travelling theme fascinates me, probably as I have spent so much of my life on the road.

Any on the road anecdotes?
It’s hard to think of one in particular.  I recently was stopped for jaywalking in Honolulu- it was dusk and so sunny that I didn’t see the light on the cross walk change, or notice that the car beeping at me was a police car. The policeman was very irate!!

Mike who plays guitar with the band, had quite another kind of experience involving shady characters, shopping and a gun in Memphis, Tennessee a couple years ago. He was safely delivered to our hotel by a kindly shop owner. You never know what’s around the corner in this line of work. As strangers to town, we always appreciate local assistance in times of trouble!

Where do you draw inspiration from?
Often I am inspired by social occasions, friends and musical comrades. I love playing music with people and making that kind of a connection. I get inspiration and hope from my musical contemporaries and I love to hear what folks are creating – being around creativity spawns more creativity. ?Then when I begin work on a song, I enjoy silence and being on my own -I need a good balance between company and seclusion.

What’s next for you?
After our tour in Australia, we are playing in our hometown of Edinburgh at the Pleasance Cabaret on 3rd May. Then I’ll be on tour in the States in June/July and across to Newfoundland in August.

What’s your scene?
I’m part of a global traditional music scene, which often intersects with the world music milieu. Although I live in Edinburgh, I travel a lot with the band and with various other projects, and along the way I often meet up with the same folks who are out there touring and performing live. It’s really quite a small circle and it’s always good to see familiar faces when you are far from home.

About Nuala Kennedy

Nuala Kennedy’s singing and flute playing springs from the traditional music of Ireland and Scotland, and from the fathomless realms of her own imagination. A consummate performer with a buoyant personality, her music has been described as unique, evocative, and soul-satisfying.

Amongst others she has performed and recorded with American hipster and indie-poet Will Oldham, an album which received 5 stars from MOJO magazine, and cutting-edge Canadian composer Oliver Schroer, with whom she recorded Enthralled a duo album of original compositions, nominated for a Canadian Folk Award in 2012.

Nuala is also part of the traditional Irish group OIRIALLA: performing the music and song of her native South-East Ulster, which features Irish music legends Gerry ‘fiddle’ O’Connor, accordionist Martin Quinn and the acclaimed Breton guitarist Gilles le Bigot.

Her latest release ‘Noble Stranger’ (Compass Records 2012) was recorded live in the Scottish borders with her touring band, mixed and mastered by Paul Savage of Chemikal Records in Glasgow. It has seen her grace the cover of Irish Music Magazine and Sing Out!, and has been receiving plaudits around the world for its fresh, dynamic sound:

“This is an outstanding CD from an exceptional talent”
Penguin Eggs 2012

“Cheeky, dynamically textured and full of ideas, this distinctive sound is new but already fully formed.”
**** Scotland on Sunday Pick of the Week 2012

About Mandy Hall 892 Articles
Mandy is a music photographer & writer. She runs Mandy Hall Media, which includes Photography, Social Media marketing, PR & Graphic Design for the music industry. She is also a web developer - she created and supports this website.

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