Ireland has a wealth of great female singers - Niamh Parsons is one them. Niamh has a beautiful voice and is at home as well in traditional songs presented a-cappella as in contemporary songs presented with the 'Loose Connections' as fine folk rock.
"What the Loose Connections have been doing for the last eight years has been a mixture of contemporary and traditional Irish music." The contemporary side are a lot of songs that Dee Moore (bass player in the Loose Connections and husband of Niamh) writes, but also songs by other songwriters. "I love singing not just traditional. And entirely with the Loose Connections, Dee put a band together, that will yell very well."
Niamh is glad to have a great songwriter who writes some of the songs she sings. "Dee writes songs - I think initially I sang some of the songs he writes - and then for a while he start to write the songs particularly for me. But now he has come back to write the songs just for the sake of writing songs. I think he is a very interesting songwriter. And I am also very lucky - of all the singers that are in Ireland I am the only one, that has somebody specifically writing for me. You know - which is great! I am very fuzzy about songs, I donít like to sing songs, that I donít like. I can only sing songs that I enjoy singing. And there was a while, when I wouldnít sing a song, if it was attached to another person. Like the song in the set at the moment -I donít know if I will ever record it - 'The water is wideí -every band in the world has recorded that - but I just like the way we do it."
"But of course I love singing tradition, we do traditionals as well. I never wanted to be put in an pigeonhole - which happens all the time. And I didnít want to have to sing any particular song - because I like singing."
This attitude makes things difficult - especially in Ireland. " Extremely difficult - but I donít want to compromise, just be a singer. Becoming known or anything - I just want to sing a song."
Because of her attitude Niamh has not played that much in Ireland in the past time. "I very rarely play in Ireland. It is very very rare, that I have a gig in Ireland. And when I do, it would may be the Harcourt hotel - so that would be traditional. Nobody knows me in Ireland. Somebody quoted me in an other magazine - in the FolkRoots - ĎIrelands best kept secretí - it's a nice quote. So I do more working in the states and Denmark and Germany if I could get it."
"I donít even bother if I am getting gigs in Ireland. Actually I donít even look for them. I never want to look for them. I donít know what it is - they find out about me, when the time is right."
Niamh has just released a new album on Green Linnet - this time not together with the Loose Connections, it is a solo traditional album. "I wanted to do this solo album, because it is something I need to do. Because thatís what I am really coming from as a traditional singer." Maybe this will strengthen her reputation world-wide and also in Ireland as one of Ireland premier trad and folk singers.
Apart from her problems in Ireland, Niamh has toured the world all over. She has been in Europe, America, England, Scotland, Denmark, once in Germany and once in Switzerland. In France she has had some gigs with the long established Breton rock/folk band Gwendal. "Have you heard Gwendal? Very interesting - rock, folk - they are going 25 years and they never had a singer. For this particular gig they had to do, there had to be a singer. Loads of money and they asked me - I was delighted."
If you have never heard of this fantastic Irish singer - you should change this! The two albums she has released with the Loose Connections (Loosen Up and Loosely Connected) are a mixture of traditonal and contemprorary material presented between a-capella and fine folk rock. Niam Parsons new album 'Blackbirds & Thrushes' is her tradtional album.
Photo Credit: All photos by The Mollis:
(2)Niamh Parsons, Cherish the Ladies' Aoife Clancy and Danu's Ciaran o Gealbhain
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