Irish singer-songwriter and leading advocate for gender balance in the Irish folk and traditional music scene, Karan Casey will launch her new album Nine Apples of Gold on 24th February, 2023, and today shares a new track from the album.
Speaking of the song, Karan says “This is a calling to female friendship. In singing the song with the fabulous Niamh Dunne I’m reminded of the profound beauty found in female friendship and camaraderie, and how much I rely on her, sometimes listening to her singing away beside me I try not to cry. And in writing the song with Sean Óg Graham we talked a lot about the sisterhood, about the need for a feminist song speaking to the bond that can be built through collaborating and working together, all genders, campaigning for women’s rights everywhere in the world. He has been just brilliant in helping me realise this long-time dream of mine, to write a singalong that is uplifting and joyful.
I also as ever was instructed by old Irish stories and I had been reading The Book of the Cailleach by Gearóid Ó Crualaoich (a brilliant book) which is all about an Chailleach, the wise-woman healer or hag or witch or whatever you’d like to call the amazing women of the past and present who have stood their ground. In one Cailleach story she whips up the wind, brings in the wintertime and was known to have moved rocks to create mountains, moved mountains to create valleys and lakes. She is the creator of Winter who blitzes the land with ice and snow. She basically did everything. Sound familiar!”
Karan has teamed up with Seán Óg Graham, her long-time collaborator and friend, to create a dynamic and enchanting album of songs that speaks to healing, camaraderie in times of strife, finding enrichment and new life in campaigning for women, and of course death. This is an ode to the natural world featuring the songbirds of Portglenone, the moon, conversations from the grave, returning to the wild, listening for the cuckoo as she sleeps.
The empowerment of women is front and centre of Karan’s concerns as she gives voice to the notion that songs can sing what we cannot say. Her defiance, her vulnerabilities and her feminist heart bellow through these songs.
Adding their unique vocals to the album are Niamh Dunne on a duet song Sister I am Here for You; Pauline Scanlon on a searing feminist overlook of Ireland in a song entitled I Live in a Country; and Ríoghnach Connolly on Daughter Dear, a tender hearted song between a mother and daughter. Also joined by Conor McCreanor, John McCullough, Hannah Hiemstra and Kate Ellis among others, this is Karan’s 12th album and displays her fine poetic voice where she has taken traditional symbolism and shaken it by the neck to create an ode to mother nature and a poignant cry for change.
A Waterford native, Casey was among the vanguard of the Irish music revival’s “third wave” of the late 1980s/early 1990s, a founding member of the seminal Irish American band Solas before launching her solo career in 1999, and going on to record 11 albums. Though steeped early on in Irish traditional and folk music, Casey has long followed an eclectic path, whether studying classical music (she is a talented pianist), fronting jazz bands or working with Frank Harte, a much-revered folk/traditional singer from Dublin. The list of artists she’s performed with is similarly diverse: James Taylor, Maura O’Connell, Karen Matheson, the Boston Pops Orchestra, Tim O’Brien, The Chieftains, The Dubliners, and Béla Fleck, among others.
NINE APPLES OF GOLD, THE NEW ALBUM FROM KARAN CASEY, WILL BE OUT 24th FEBRUARY 2023 via CROW VALLEY MUSIC.
On her March/April ’23 Irish tour, Casey will be accompanied by the dynamic duo Niamh Dunne and Sean Óg Graham both members of popular Irish band Beoga: Niamh Dunne (fiddle, vocals), who comes from a rich family heritage of Irish traditional music; and Seán Óg Graham (guitar), a talented arranger, composer and producer who is in great demand as an accompanist.
2023 Irish Tourdates
Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray, Co. Wicklow
Duncairn Arts Centre, Belfast
Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal
Riverbank Arts Centre, Newbridge, Co. Kildare
Glór, Ennis, Co. Clare
National Opera House, Wexford
Garter Lane Arts Centre, Waterford
Hawkswell Theatre, Sligo
Watergate Theatre, Kilkenny
Solstice Arts Centre, Navan, Co. Meath
Triskel Christchurch, Cork
Town Hall Theatre, Galway