You would say that Clare Sands is a kind of individuals who represents all of Eire.
Born in Connacht, raised in Munster, recorded in Leinster and now dwelling in Ulster, her songs and music replicate and renew the previous and current, each in English and Irish..
“I used to be born in Galway, however I believe I used to be solely three or 4 months previous once we moved again to Cork, however I do name myself the unique Galway Woman,” she smiles.
“However born and raised in Cork, and my mom is from a farming background in Co Wexford and my Dad coming from Newry, we’re from in every single place, actually.”
And Clare’s musical pedigree is equally huge and deep.
She will hint fiddlers and singers within the household going again six generations.
“On my mum’s aspect, there are piano gamers and singers as properly so I suppose my musical life was utterly unavoidable and it does an odd factor to the physique when you’ll be able to really feel that,” she says.
Clare is related to Colm and Tommy Sands and the remainder of the Sands household and there can be household journeys from Cork to Rostrevor the place, little question, many’s a track can be sung, a narrative instructed and a tune performed by the older era and by Clare and her cousins.
“I moved as much as Belfast a number of months go as a result of I all the time wished to base myself on this a part of the nation sooner or later and it feels the best time to return up and discover these roots,” she explains.
Clare went to UCC and studied music and Italian however all the time knew she would find yourself making a dwelling in music.
She’s been taking part in professionally for about 5 – 6 years with a number of different completely different teams however she says it is solely within the final 12 months or two that she has truly realised, “OK, truly, this is smart,” and set out honing her craft.
So far, Clare has launched two highly-regarded EPs, Tírdhreacha agus Fuaimdhreacha (Landscapes and Soundscapes) and The Basement Periods, which she recorded in her basement in her house in Cork Metropolis.
Now she has launched her debut album, the eponymous Clare Sands, which speaks of resilience and of solidarity, of friendship and kinship, and of the deep human want for connection.
It was born out of Clare’s musical roots, her personal innate musicality – she performs guitar, keyboards, cello, percussion and different devices – but additionally of her love of travelling
I ask her if she will get sustenance from the music of various cultures.
“Positively,” is the short reply.
“Each January for the previous six or seven years I head off to someplace distant, someplace scorching and sunny slightly than hanging round these darkish Co Antrim shores and it is good to try this, to listen to different musics and cultures.
“Final January, for example, I used to be sitting in Bogotá in Colombia, consuming a cocktail and dancing salsa. I extremely suggest it.”
It isn’t for nothing that the primary observe on the album is known as Chasing the Solar. All the time accompanying Clare on her travels is her fiddle and her Dad’s tape recorder; she takes it in every single place together with her, to report no matter strikes her aural curiosity, a few of which she incorporates into her personal music.
“I continually have the mini disc recorder with me and I am all the time amassing so a variety of the album was constructed on private expertise however I really like amassing completely different sounds or the tales of fishermen, for instance,” she explains.
“Typically it isn’t very apparent, it would simply be a be aware or it may be slightly rhythm or it may be a recording that I hear, stuff like that but it surely retains it contemporary and fascinating.
“We reside in a culturally wealthy however small island so it is nice to expertise different cultures and musics.”
Whereas among the songs on Clare Sands have been conceived on her listening to a narrative or a recording that she collected, others have been written and composed simply sitting together with her guitar and placing down no matter got here to thoughts and from the guts but it surely additionally is dependent upon her completely different devices. Behind her on the Zoom display screen, I can see a cello, a bass and a drum, and hanging the wall is a fiddle.
There may be additionally an incredible mixture of spoken phrase on the album, from the Tommy Sands poem on Abair Liom Do Rúin to Seán, a Conamara fisherman in Iascaire Chonamara, and Manchan Magan on Lasair Lasta Fós whereas Bernadette McAliskey seems on Focail Feasa.
“I all the time cherished poetry rising up and songs are poetry simply set to music, so it made complete sense for me to all the time have voices weaving out and in,” says Clare.
There are additionally some nice musicians on the album, together with Fiachna Ó Braonáin, Steve Cooney and Susan O’Neill.
“Having the ability to work with heroes of mine and folks that I’ve touched base with over the past 12 months has been nice however to have the chance then to say, ‘Would you want to do that collectively?’ has been good, as a result of they’re all so inspiring and captivated with what they’re doing and that all the time sits properly with me,” she says.
There may be one other star on the album – the ocean.
Clare has lengthy been an all-weather swimmer – lengthy earlier than it was cool – and the dramatic album cowl illustrates that completely and the sound of the ocean runs by means of the album.
Certainly there are a variety of lot of highly effective girls on the album, together with Gráinne Mhaol, Countess Markiewicz and Margaret Barry and, as talked about, the previous MP and current day neighborhood employee, Bernadette Devlin.
So, is the album an homage to nice lady.
“Sure, it is a theme that is operating all through the album and it is also as a result of I am the oldest of three sisters and my life has been surrounded by nice girls,” she says.
“I bear in mind taking a look at my mom and my grandmother and simply considering, how did they do the quantity of issues that they do in 10 minutes?
“Should you simply sit and watch your mom cooking typically and he or she’s additionally on the cellphone or there is a youngster right here or no matter, it is truly exceptional however for some cause, you solely catch that whenever you’re a wee bit older.”
Clare Sands is an album that breathes to the rhythm of the earth, be it on the coasts of Conamara, Colombia or Cuba, and populates it with the voices of odd and extraordinary individuals however it’s her personal voice and sensibilities and cares that make the album so highly effective, the private changing into the common.