I am a member of a ‘singing’ family and I was always very shy when asked to sing, so much so that for most of my life I didn’t really sing. About five years ago my son Davog, who lives in Lyon in the south of France, said to me, “Ma would you ever learn a couple of new songs and come over and join me in a song circle”? OK sez I, why not!
So began a whole new adventure for me. Fast forward a couple of years and I am in conversation with my brother Barry and am telling him that I fancied being a ‘funky’ granny and that I was going to learn the ukulele. No comment from him!
But … next time he came to my house he was carrying a guitar. He handed it to me saying ... ”I’m not giving you this, I’m loaning it to you for 50 years, on condition that you play it every day.” Oh but this was some challenge and one that I grasped with both hands, and it has honestly changed my life. I have in the past three years with great help from my song pal, Doutsen Roelofs, learned to play guitar and I have learned a bunch of songs. The secret to learning the guitar is to pick it up every single day and play. I do at least one, if not two, hours a day on it. I am very lucky at this stage of my life to have the time to do this.
Barry has been a great mentor. and his advice has really helped me to find my voice. I will never forget the day he told me, ”Remember, sis, that you are the messenger, that you need to remove yourself personally from the song” … Instantly I could feel a huge shift and I could almost feel my nerves flowing out of me and off with them! I do get a tiny bit nervous still but nothing like before. In a way – I got over myself!
My parents were the first influence in my life when it came to singing. My father, Andy Moore, had a deep baritone voice and even though he died very young I remember him singing with us on drives to visit Granny Moore. My darling mother, Nancy, had a most beautiful soprano voice. She was the keeper of the music and songs in our home.
Joni Mitchell is top of my list of singers – her voice, her songs, so so beautiful and indeed so difficult to sing. Van Morrison was a huge part of the soundtrack of my life as I reared my family. I love kd lang, Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton, Dixie Chicks. I love the authentic and raspy voice of the late Margaret Barry. Nora Cleary from Miltown Malbay was a mighty singer of ballads. I live in West Clare, where there is a thriving singing and traditional music community. Claire, Noirin, Shona, Clara, Laura, Sarah, Elaine, Eileen og, Steve and Jessie, Tim, Tracy, Arthur, Bob, Deirdre, Maura, Andee, Eoin and Brid are my songpals and we spend many an evening singing our hearts out and the craic is mighty! Blessed we all are.
My two singing brothers Christy Moore and Barry Moore aka Luka Bloom -- two very different singers, both writers of terrific songs and both a huge influence on me. I am so grateful for all their generous sharing of their experience. My ‘other’ brother, Andy, is a mighty fine singer, too, as are my two sisters Terry and Eilish. When we gather, we have dinner and then spend the rest of our time together singing. There is nothing like hearing siblings singing together – there is a resonance, a magic, a tone that is supreme. And the next generation are singing, too, and this makes my heart soar.
Can I just say to you reading this, if you have always had a yen to sing a song, play an instrument, a guitar, piano, violin, trumpet, whatever, can I urge you to PLEASE go and do it. Music has such a magical quality, it allows you to get totally away from this noisy world and calms you down. If one person takes me up on this challenge I will be overjoyed.
This new life of mine has brought so much peace, joy and downright happiness like I have never felt before. I feel totally privileged to have found my voice and cannot believe as I write these words that this is what I now do.
So here you have it – in my 68th year – my debut album. I am a singer of songs.
"Be Still Now" is the song I always start with because it is like a meditation and it calms me. It is a gentle song, written by Luka Bloom.
"Who’s Gonna Stand Up" is a song from Neil Young and is an urgent plea for us to think about what we are doing to our home – Earth. “This all starts with you and me” ... It sure does, Neil.
"My Dear Someone" is a lovely lilting song about dreaming for love and for a better life and is from the pen of Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings.
"Homesick for New York" was written by Clareman Micheál Marrinan. I first heard him singing it during the Willie Clancy Summer School a couple of years ago and fell for it.
"Two Mothers" I learned from the singing of Belinda O’Hooley and Heidi Tidow, an English folk duo. It appealed to me as I have never heard a song about this topic before.
"Hills of Coore" was given to me by its author, Catherine Talty of Clounlaheen. She wrote this song way back in the 1940s. She told me she wrote it for all her friends who had emigrated, leaving her behind in West Clare. Catherine is one amazing woman and she celebrates her 100th birthday this year.
"I’m Still Standing" appealed to me because I cannot believe how lucky I am to have found my voice and because Janis Ian’s words resonated with this ‘oul’ wan!
"Georgia Lee" - A Tom Waits song with a tragic story to tell.
"Farewell Mayo" is a ballad I first heard sung by my friends Veronica and Maurice McHugh. Written by Derryman Eamon Friel, it plays a lovely film in my mind as I sing it. I’m always drawn to a song if a line jumps out at me and this happened with Mayo. “They Say Every Child Should Have Her Share of Eden” did it for me with this gem.
"Vagabond" is from a poem written in 1904 by John Masefield, and the music is by Eddi Reader and John Douglas. A song very relevant to today about being down and out and tramping the roads.
My album is available on www.lukabloom.com/shop . My Facebook page is: Anne Rynne Sings
Thank you for taking the time to read this.