Annmarie O'Riordan Irish Singer
From an interview on Irish Radio.
I'm Jerry Byrne, now since the advent of covid and all the rest, been speaking to many of the great and the good of irish entertainment and music. I got a lady online now who recorded a total of five albums, done numerous appearances and a lady who is involved in cultists actually does uh teaching for cultures cult or iron and has started music at a very young age and I'm delighted to say hello from near middle street in County Cork the one and only Annmarie Reardon Annmarie, how are you ? Hello Jerry thank you very much for having me on your show um I'm glad to be with you and when you gave the introduction of the great and the good I was saying oh you must have someone else from the other line but no I'm delighted when you introduce me then so thank you very much. So I hope all your your listeners are doing well in these very strange times in very strange times it did they are armory no question or doubt about that listen, tell me this how did you become involved in music in the first place.
Well actually I'm from a very musical family to be fair now. If you ask my parents do I get the music from my mother's side or my father's side they both say their own size because my grandfather's people were all inspiring about the cardinal and singing and my mother's people they were all into singing and dancing just dancing so I thought I got it for everyone. My youngest childhood memories were of singing songs here at the station mass so I think there was great excitement also station Matthews paint the entire house and be clearly up for it and all the neighbors would be around for a bit of a sing song and of course the last so I started singing then in.
I joined courses at the tender age of six. My mother had joint qualities with me just because I had such a love of van singing my first competition I was five and I won gold medals singing teddy blogging and I haven't stopped singing since so i went on to record an album then when i was 12 so to then it's all gross since then I recorded five albums and I'm currently finishing up recording my sixth album. Wow that is, that is some going that really is ongoing oh it's uh yeah sort of busy this is life definitely is that way in the intervening time.
I mean, as well as recording all these albums that you were you were studying and you've actually a qualified primary school teacher. I am indeed, I'm a primary school teacher. I studied in mary macula college and I there's actually a specialism in theology and religious education and I'm currently teaching full-time in a local school in County Cork and I am doing a master's as well in theology and Christian leadership as well in Mary I thought I like to keep myself busy, so doing the masters and teaching full-time and for sure, just go to busy jury well that's I mean it's busy and busy but that seems to be phenomenal stuff it really does and in the intervening time you've also got engaged, congratulations to you.
Oh it is indeed yes so, guitarist and singer but he's an engineer as well. So that's a good thing as well he's he knows a few bits as well so he's, yeah so we got engaged in September so you know call this wasn't that bad to me I suppose. In ways like that because I said we started building our house back in June, so and we're I'm building a house here on the the farm at home so it's exciting that way and yeah something like this gave me a bit of opportunity to record the album and that which i'm recording behind the scenes studios in Killarney.
So it's going well as well as could be expected, in the very strange year that we've had so far indeed so I mean it's a phenomenal achievement to you know have done all those things at the you know the same time. Recorded all those albums and you also do I mean teaching of singing for cultures also the you know, your own singing in various places you know you know plus all the education everything else I mean that is that has been really proactive I thought I'm used to being a busy household like my parents would have been you know they'd be working in farming and stuff at home and they're kind of, we like we like to keep busy and you know i like farming myself. I love being a primary school teacher but it's nice to have the do the math as well just to be learning more and I suppose every day we're learning and we can share more than with our pupils in school and with people we meet so it's um it's like it's nice to keep studying keep learning and keep sharing the knowledge.
Indeed, well done on it all. Now you see with the teaching of the singing for cultures I mean needless to say you're not able to do that uh face-to-face with the the whole covid situation. So well how are you getting around that ? Yes so it was very strange there coming on to September again when we normally start into our singing lessons and bush wouldn't I know the courses when they called adventures and fighting consumers other coldest branches have just decided not to wait until after Christmas they're hoping for the best and but the zoom yeah lessons they're they're very different but um i thought you still get to share your your love of singing and has young aspiring singers to learn new songs and to learn different techniques and breathing techniques and ornamentation, so it's just by a zoom, which is nothing is like being one to one in a classroom or a hall setting for Sam the zuma's next best thing so we'll just keep going and keep sharing sharing the love of Irish and music and um just sort of pass it on to where everyone has it so it's it's a it's a great great thing.
I know we in Ireland, we're very lucky with a beautiful language and great music and great culture so it's nice to be teaching young children things for their appreciation as well in time to come indeed I would imagine that you know from the first album that you actually released, you've had you know a huge recognition by a huge amount of people far and wide off your music and you've also sold a huge amount of albums as well. Yeah I suppose I've been very lucky really in ways, and that's my I thought every song I think I'll have to learn about the history of it because singing is just telling a story through song. And I love learning all about the songs that I sing before I ever sing them
And I think people appreciate when you when you put your heart and soul into songs and tell the story best you can and I have travelled across this all around Europe to America and Canada and it's a great opportunity to meet people and to hear how they, I suppose hear the song and interpret the song.
And what the songs mean to them, so for example I remember I was over and touring America one time and this gentleman came up to me and he says that I sing a great Kerry song figures from Clifford's song Boys of Barr na Stráide and I said I can indeed and he just walked away he didn't say no more and after half an hour of the concerts I started swinging by the ball and shot her and I saw this big strong man and the tears rolling down his face wow and after the concert he came up to me and I said to myself the boys about a show that means something to you. And he said henry he said it certainly does. He says I left Ireland over 40 years ago and he says my mother used to be outside me feeding the hymns and doing the few jobs and she would be singing The Boys of Barr na Stráide and shortly after I came over here to New York he said my mother passed away and I hadn't any means to go home and I haven't been back in Ireland since.
So he says, it's a song that is truly motive for me and he thanked me for singing. So it's really chariot songs and experiences that like that that make us all the worthwhile and that's what was really special so that's why i love meeting people and just sharing my love of song and it's it's great to have the opportunity that people support me so I can keep sharing my singing and the stories that go along with songs.
Indeed, well done, and you know that that is absolutely fantastic and you know it's great stories like that that you know I hear so many times from so many artists you know about the the sheer power of music and the sheer power of songs and it's a real shame I think that you know one of the things which all singers and performers and entertainers say to me is that the one thing that they miss with the current situation with covid is actually meeting people.
Yeah it is, it's very it's very very strange like I just concert settings I'll be doing it I'd be singing a concert and actually talking to people and during the the break the concert and after and hearing their stories and it's just it's the social aspect because you get to to meet people and you know everyone. It's kind of things are gone so cool no and it's not the same over the phone you never you know it's just not the same feel or even on video just having conversation there's nothing like it like meeting someone face to face and just sharing the stories and the songs so it is something that we really miss and hopefully we'll be back again soon hopefully all this will pass some time. It has to journey, so and hopefully we'll be back to the concerts and the dance.
Indeed, so well the thing about it is Annmarie, if you look back and if you go into history every single pandemic has come and gone so and this one's looking good to be gone because we're getting vaccines and all the rest of it so I think we'll have a brighter year in 2021 indeed please God we will let you and we'll sing a few songs to celebrate us you bet you bet and you know you are the in in some ways you're in the coldface of the situation with covid because from teaching in school that must be a pretty stressful situation well to be honest, it was very like we we all wanted to get better. All teachers wanted to get back but we were kind of worried how would this work and both we all been together and all in our school now we had to go through meetings over the summer and we went into this all by a zoom and we went into our own classrooms and lots of ways that we could make the room safer so i know we all moved furniture we got rid of rid as much as much as we could inside in the classroom that there'd be more room for the children to be separating the tables and there was car strike screens put up and on tables as well to divide the children and their pods and it's um just trying our best with sanitizing and making sure that the children they can work in their pod but not to mix them with other tables and which is particularly hard and yards when children are so young and they're playing and it's it's it is hard for children.
It's hard for everyone but at the same time it's great to be back in its routine and there's children learning and the teaching learning going on and assume this normality for children and so that's that's kind of makes it worthwhile that they're they are learning and as I know at different times but we're keeping trying our best anyway and keeping the best side out and it seems to be okay, so far anyway, for the most part I know there's some schools that are are badly affected but you know these things happen so we just have to have to move on and hopefully it'll all pass and we'll be all back to normal again.
Indeed, that's all that's all we can hope for listen Annmarie it's been fascinating speaking to you well done on all your achievements so far good luck and doing the masters and once again to yourself and your family and your fiancé, let's all have a great Christmas or as good as it can be in the times we've got and also listen here's your brighter new year and I'm looking forward to receiving your new album. I would like to add my cards and I'll be sending it onto you straight away and thank you very much for the opportunity of the interviews and um I'm delighted to be on your show and I'd like to wish all your listeners a very merry Christmas and a happy and healthy new year.
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