Mairia Cahill was kind enough to forward the first half of this transcript of her interview with Maura last month.
Interview with Maura O'Connell -- Feile F.M 106.2 (West Belfast)
Interviewer Mairia Cahill
First Track -- Feet of a Dancer.
2nd track -- Trouble in the fields.
Mairia Ok you're very welcome to Feile FM 106.2, and Im delighted to say that we did get through to Maura, the equipment is working, Maura How are you?
Maura -- Im grand Mairia, how are you?
Mairia -- Im "happy Days!", you can hear me ok, yeah?
Maura -- I can hear you just fine. And its good to get through.
Mairia -- So, what are you up to at the minute?
Maura, At the minute now I'm sitting down having a cup of tea
Mairia -- Could you not send me over a cup from America? 2 sugars will be fine. Ha ha
Maura, we have a couple of questions that our listeners have rang in, and what we have done is we have let them know all about you for those who might not have heard your music -- but we'd like you to describe yourself in 3 or 4 sentences.
Maura -- OH MY GOD, well Im originally from county Clare, my mom was a singer, and I have always loved singing and I like songs from..everywhere! he he -- that was very quick and concise and not at all accurate, but its sort of like me he he.
Mairia-- Maura, you mentioned there that you like all different types of music, would it be fair to say, that we cant really put a label on you?
Maura-- Well I think at this stage of my life, I can to tell you the truth, I think I genuinely am a folk singer, I didn't really embrace that title for a long long time, I felt it was restrictive, and until I had a new understanding of folk music itself, I kind of had and it hit me and I kind of realised that I really was, because I always had this notion which was holding me back, which was that folk music was an ancient form, old and you know finger in the ear, and not that theres anything wrong with that, but you know, ?that it was old fashioned -- and every young person that comes along and wants to form their own identity, especially someone who doesn't write their own material like me you know, really don't want to be put into one place, otherwise you never move, but then I realised that really folk music really is if its doing its job -- is taking a picture almost of the music of its time
Mairia -- Yeah
Maura -- As well as connecting to the older forms of music, you know, and when you do that, then it frees you up to do anything you like! Ha ha
I really do think now that Im a folk singer.
Mairia -- Where do you think that your inspiration came from Maura -- what t to become a singer?
Maura -- Well it was just there, it was like living, breathing, my mother was a beautiful singer, so she loved light opera a lot and you know, the older parlour songs. She wasn't really interested in Frank Sinatra, I don't believe, well I don't know, she might have had Sinatra records -- liked to dance big bands, but we listened mostly to light opera, and then because I am from County Clare, there was a lot of traditional music (IRISH) around. And the radio when I was growing up was very diverse, there was only one radio station but, you know you could hear rock and roll, and there would be a blues programme on, or classical music, or you could hear the old songs, as an island I think we are inclined to listen to outside sources, but I think that that -- and then just listening to music in my teenage years turned off by pop, I really started listening to, think it started off with Emmylou Harris and that brand of country, from there to blues, and a lot of people around my age at the time were doing that and so, the thing for me really has always been the song. Cause I thin that if a song is worth anything, I mean if it really is as good as you think it is, it really doesn't matter when its written or for what its written, if it's a good enough song then it can transcend the time that its written in and become a hit for the singer, and then you can put it into your own style.
Mairia -- And you have a wonderful sense of being able to do that Maura, you really make the song your own. And, the audience seems to really connect with it and with you.
Maura -- Well that's very nice of you to say that, but I mean, that is really the point of what I do, otherwise there would be no point in my taking an already performed song and doing it like - what do you call that stuff that they do with the microphones in bars -- a karaoke singer! He he he
Mairia -- ha ha -- would there be a favourite album or a favourite song that you have done
Maura -- Oh Lord, you cant do that you see because theyre like your childen and no, I mean its always the next record that you are going to make really, because you know I don't listen to a lot of my records, except once in a while, and recently I went back because I had to relearn the words of a song! He he . And I just thought it was nice you know, to hear my voice at different times, and its different, they're all different. different pictures -- to my ears they sound different, to many peoples ears it's a similar style, so I like trying to do a little different every once in a while. So, I'm going back soon to work with Jerry Douglas, and he produced Stories, and Wandering Home and Blue is the Color Of Hope, and he's a great man, he was involved with the movie soundtrack of Oh Brother Where Art Thou, and he's played with Alison Krauss, and he's just the busiest man in the world so we're tryin to get together to start working on a record
Mairia -- That will be brilliant, Maura, you've also brought out a CD in the last year, Walls and Windows, how exciting a project was that for you?
Maura -- Well it had been a long time since I made a record, because I had a son in 96, Jesse, and I took time out from working, I mean I didn't give it up completely but I sort of considered myself to be somewhat semi-retired. He's great, and he does well at school, and hes doing really well and hes mobile, and hes just doing so well, so I did that record and it was kind of the first time in a long time that I'd really tried to focus ongetting the material and I really wanted to try a slightly more hard sound -- not hard, but a little more edgier sound. I went to work with Ray Kennedy, and I worked with Bap Kennedy
Mairia -- Bap is from Beechmount (just down from the radio station in West Belfast)
Maura, So they have kind of like a sound, you know so I went in ther and just had a blast you know. I had enough time really to concentrate and to find the material and be excited by it and it was just great and I really enjoyed it.
Mairia -- And it has been really, really well received here on Feile FM, we've had loads of requests asking for the song "Walls",
Maura Oh Really?, Well it's a very apt song given the situation, but that's the other thing about songs, they can apply to many many situations. I think Blessing to is a really good song. It really is an Irish American song.And it was written by a friend of mine from here who had visited Ireland with me many years ago, so there's lots of interconnections shall we say.
Mairia -- and its all about interpreting a song really isn't it
Maura -- oh it really is, and how you feel on a given day, and all that stuff, just finding powerful songs that you can climb into, and have them be a way for you to express feelings that you might not be able to articulate or even know you're articulating or even soothing when you're listening. I think that music has a really profound sense of healing and em? emotional support for most people
Mairia -- Maura, the other thing that I wanted to talk to you about was your website. What struck me about it is that its fairly, well I suppose it would be true to say, that's its fairly different from other artists websites in the sense that's its actually like going into you're own wee living room and having a cup of tea! You know, its fairly relaxed and very personal
Maura -- Well thank you very much, my husband actually is the man in charge, I wouldn't have a record of my own if it wasn't for him! He loves to do that kind of stuff, and he said to me you've got to go and get a website, and I go sure I will, I will, and you know, my management say that and then finally then we went and found a web designer place a few years ago, and then hes been taking over it gradually, and he knows all about that stuff. I can barely turn on the computer!!I'm better than I used to be. But, he really has worked to make it a very personal site, and he made me do those recipies, because I do cook a lot, and he has nearly forced me and tied me to the chair to write them in.
Mairia -- Just for the listeners out there, there was one and I don't eat fish, but there was one that I cam across that I loved -- "Salmon Chanted Evening".
2nd part will b finished soon.
Last edited by mac on 03 May 2003, 06:51, edited 2 times in total.