“Her voice is a superb mix of china cup fragility and steely strength” (The Irish Times, 2010.)
It’s 2022, more than a decade later, and this contradiction is still true of Pauline Scanlon’s voice. In fact, the pairing of opposites seems a true fit for this West Kerry native. Her voice comes from an ancient place but is always fresh. She is uniquely Irish yet universally understood, apparently traditional yet subversive at every turn. Perhaps now, it is the steely strength that comes to the fore in both her activism and her determination to constantly evolve as an artist.
As a founding member of FairPlé, the role of women in the arts is central to her creative path and something she is very vocal about and dedicated to. Her new album, The Unquiet, to be released in April 2022, is a piece of art possessed of an old soul, but thoroughly modern and of its time. Today, Pauline shares the first single from the album.
‘The Bird in the Bush’ is a traditional song of female sensuality. Folk and traditional songs of female sexuality frequently have grave consequences for the women contained within them.
Pauline says, “I wanted to sing with freedom and agency and ‘The Bird In The Bush’ embodies that energy so succinctly.”
The official video, created by videographer Laura Sheeran, features a sensual, emotive performance by dancer Siobhán Manson.
“Collaborating on the video for ‘The Bird In The Bush’ with these two extraordinary artists was a real joy,” Pauline says, “Siobhán, Laura and I toured around Galway on the hottest day of last summer to create this video. Their work perfectly encapsulates the immediate messages of the song, as well as the more subtle and nuanced ideas that inform the work. I am full of admiration for both artists and hugely grateful for their collaboration”.
I wanted to platform female sexuality through the lens of traditional song, not a projected ideal, but a true representation that is owned and inherent. ‘The Bird In The Bush’ is a playfully strident Traditional song that expresses Female sexuality, untouched by judgement or shame. It is light, sensual and unapologetic, with agency and ownership.”
Stream ‘The Bird in the Bush’ out now Friday 11th February
Pauline Scanlon’s forthcoming album ‘The Unquiet’ is due for release April 8th 2022.
Pre-order on Bandcamp
Photo: Fionn Hennessy