The Music Sparkle.

Musical Dreams and Keeping it Country.

Recently I have been lucky enough to attend the gigs of three of my favourite Irish singers, John McNicholl, Nathan Carter and Derek Ryan. I grew up listening to Irish country music, Mam says I was trying to sing long before I could talk and used to pull myself up in my cot to wiggle to the music, long before I could walk. My uncle was in an Irish Showband and after playing in Birmingham on the night of my christening, the whole band arrived at my parents flat and played all night. 

I was always singing around our home, my parents used to ask why I couldn’t learn my schoolwork like I could learn the top twenty. I suppose I just loved songs and singing. Visiting my family in Tipperary as a teenager, my cousin and I were allowed to the dancehall in Dundrum to see the Irish Showbands on a Friday night. Tony Kenny, Red Hurley and my absolute favourites, Gina, Dale Haze and The Champions.  Once home I would pretend I was Gina, I sang to their records, bought a tambourine like Gina and our lounge was my stage.

When I was 19 an Irish music promoter telephoned to call me for an audition but my parents didn’t tell me, for three years!!! I was mad as hell but looking back I can see they were looking out for a very niave young girl.

As life moved on, I grew away from my roots and started to go clubbing, I loved dance music and dancing but I hardly ever sang. I lost touch with the top twenty, with my roots, my culture. Life was work, work, work and dance music. Dancing on a Friday night released the stress and pressure of the week. Housework was done to dance music, that trance beat had an euphoric affect on me and still does. A little bit of Swedish House Mafia is good for the soul.

Three years ago I joined the choir at Mass. I love it, it has compleltely enriched going to Mass for me. I always enjoyed singing the hymns but being part of the choir is just awesome. Around the same time, Mom was reading the Irish paper and seen John McNicholl so we decided to look him up on YouTube. Within a flash I was right back to my roots, I think it was lying asleep, like Sleeping Beauty, ready to be awakened by a handsome man, John McNicholl was that man!!

From there we discovered the other new, exciting and fabulous singers and now we listen to Irish Country Music all the time. We watch Irish Country Music shows on TV and when I can I attend the dances and concerts when our favourites are in town.

Last year I decided to have some vocal coaching, to see if I do actually have a voice. I love it!! I love it with a passion. Singing and songs have again taken over my mind and with life as it is currently, this is a huge escape from the anxieties, stresses and worries of the day. I have learnt so much about pitching, resonance, different voices, breathing…I am once again dreaming of being on that stage singing my heart out.

Below are some pictures of me with my gorgeous Irish music stars, I think you’ll guess my favourite ๐Ÿ˜‰ Look their music up on You Tube, they are so talented, each different to the other and all brilliant.

Thank you for reading my blog ๐Ÿ˜€

Derek Ryan.

John McNicholl.

Nathan Carter.

Making dreams come true ๐Ÿ’–

Life Sparkles

New Year – Another Fresh Start

Happy New Year and welcome to 2016!! How fast the years roll by these days. 2015 appears to have gone by in a flash. Did you keep your resolutions? You remember those? The promises we made to ourselves of all the things we were going to do for the new year. Nope? Me neither. I don’t remember any specific resolutions although I’m sure I made them, I always do.

I have heard lots of folk say “you don’t need to wait until New Years Eve to make resolutions, you can start over any day”. I agree with that, we can decide to swap and change our goals at anytime but I think there is something different about making our fresh starts at the beginning of a fresh new year. January 1st holds such promise of the year to come. Our hopes and dreams and also our worries and concerns. We for the most part think positive and decide what it is that we want to do, to change, to improve, to make happen.

Once again I will start a healthy eating plan and I have already shopped, loaded my fridge with fresh fruit and vegetables and ordered a Nutri Ninja which I am now impatiently awaiting delivery of. I know of numerous people with Nutri Bullets and Nutri Ninja’s who all love what they can do and some of these people have kept to their healthy eating plan all year!!! What an achievement ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘. My difficulty will be suddenly avoiding the chocolates, biscuits, cakes and goodies still in the house from Christmas. No point in easing myself out of them…time to turn cold turkey.

Picture via Pinterest

My next new plan is to set aside some time each week for some self care. I totally understand how and why folk say “you can’t look after another person well if you haven’t taken care of yourself”. I have two people to look after and I hope that my swap to healthier eating will not only benefit me, but them also. I need to feel better, more energy, less pains and aches…Nutri Ninja I’m expecting serious results.

As you know I commenced vocal coaching last June, took a long break from August due to caring responsibilities and then returned to it a few weeks ago. I have no hesitations or issues getting around to my singing homework and I hope that this year, even if it takes until December, that I will get the confidence to sing on stage, maybe even do a whole gig!!!

Picture via Pinterest

Although I enjoy my Open University course, there is so much reading and research now I’m at level three, I’m struggling to find time. Today I am five weeks behind with twenty three days to go before my next assignment is due in. Yes, I need to knuckle down. I only have one more module to study after this one so time must be found to get up to date and stay there. I can always find something more sparkle igniting to do instead of this reading, it is usually singing.

So, there are my resolutions for the year. Have you made any this year? Are they similar to mine? Whether you have or not, I’d like to wish you all a very Happy New Year, may all your dreams come true.

Picture via Pinterest

Thank you for reading my blog ๐Ÿ™‚

Life Sparkles

Self Care – Keep Your Own Sparkle.

Oh how I have advised people in the past about taking care of themselves, not overworking, eating properly, getting more sleep, you know the kind of thing.ย  As always, we are not so good at taking our own advice.

I’m tired, there, Iย  admit it, the last two months have more or less worn me out.ย  I empathise with carers so much more now that I have an understanding of their plight, looking after a loved one.ย  I at least have the knowledge that Mom is recovering slowly from the broken hip and each day gains a little more power in her leg, gains independence and also confidence in her walking.ย  I am still working from home but this week sees me begin a slow, phased return to the office, one afternoon only.ย ย But it has been very tiring, caring for my parents, cooking, cleaning, shopping, working the day job from home, catching up with studies and attempting to follow my love of singing.

I’ve not done badly, I have returned to Zumba class on Wednesday evening which I love.ย  The music is so wonderful you just escape into that Latin Beat, the moves can be difficult but it really doesn’t feel like a work out and although I ache afterwards, it is a good ache.ย  I’ve escaped for an hour for some me time and yes, that is important.ย  At first I felt selfish at leaving the house to attend the class but my lovely Mom, bless her, said I needed to do something for myself and get out of the house.

Last week I returned to my vocal coaching and oh how good that felt.ย  The drive there, the hour going through my breathing exercises, the vocal scales and then singing a couple of the songs I had been working on, it was like a release of the soul.ย  Thankfully, although I had not been to my vocal coach since mid August, it seems I have not lost my pitch and my breathing hasn’t gone to pot, phew!!ย  This week I have been learning “You raise me up”, surprisingly not many lyrics to this song but a lot of variation in notes.

These two small steps have helped me to feel like me again.ย  I can see how easily it can be to get lost within yourself, when you are indoors 24/7 and suddenly plunged into a different life course.ย  How apt that my current studies are about our perceived life course and our plans and how things we do, or perhaps things that happen to others can alter our lives.

Tomorrow afternoon I face the wide world of the city centre when I venture to the office for the first time since mid – September…I’ll keep you posted.

Thank you for reading my blog ๐Ÿ™‚

And Breathe...take care of you!
And Breathe…take care of you!