In the run up to the All Ireland Hurling Final, Paula Ryan from near Ardfinnan released her own original song – “Take Me Back To Tipperary” which celebrates the great history of the GAA in Tipperary and hopefully will inspire Tipperary hurlers to All Ireland glory in 2014 over their fiercest “catty” rivals! We thought we would find out more about this native Tipperary Singer-Songwriter and her music.
Paula was born and bred in Gormanstown near Ardfinnan (same Parish as Tipperary All Star Goalie Brendan Cummins!!) and her POWERFUL, insightful songs are inspired by the LYRICISM and musical PASSION of her Tipperary ROOTS & driven by the FUNKY rhythmic influences and “WACKY” instruments of music from other cultures. To accompany her songs, Paula plays Guitar, Bazouki, Marimba (and African Wooden Xylophone type instrument) and a variety of percussion instruments including Bodhran, Djembe and Darabuka. Paula travels a lot with her music and has performed not only around Ireland but also in France, Germany, UK and the USA.
Paula’s songwriting is not confined to sports songs. She draws her inspiration for her songs from a wide variety of sources ranging from the poetry of the great William Butler Yeats (‘He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven’), to the joyful curiosity of the children of Tanzania with whom Paula made music in 2010 (‘A Thousand Smiling Faces’) and the bravery of modern day heroes and heroines (‘Let Me Fly’ – a tribute to one of the first female pilots, Amy Johnson). Paula strives not to be confined by the boundaries of any particular musical style or genre and seeks to continually expand her musical horizons.
Paula says “I accept no limits in terms of topics which can (and should?) be tackled by the songwriter – from the sublime to the ridiculous – its all just waiting to be put in a song”. It is remarkable in Paula’s material that one can find the most gentle sweet love song such as ‘The Faintest Touch’ alongside the strongest political protest song such as ‘Our So-Called Civilised World’, the most enthralling story song such as ‘Petticoat Loose’ and the most fun loving party song such as ‘Havin’ The Craic’ – all equally well crafted and beautifully arranged. Just as with many of the greatest songwriters (Springsteen, Mitchell, Dylan, Cohen, Morrison etc….), Paula has the ability to capture real life moments and experiences with imaginative melody and ingenious lyrics, and the character to empathise and to impart her viewpoint in song in a way which strikes a chord with the listener and ‘makes something magical happen’ for audience and singer. In performance, Paula truly charms and beguiles audiences with her sheer delight in music-making, unmistakeable joy of singing, potent, thought provoking lyrics and lively Celtic wit and humour.
According to Paula she has been “lucky enough to get airplay for my songs on radio and TV not only in Ireland (Tipp FM, Tipp Mid West FM) but also in the UK (BBC Radio York, WFM Radio in Manchester, BCB 106.6 Bradford, Vixen Radio) and the USA (Channel 10 TV, Princeton, Princeton University Radio)”.
Paula’s songs have also received considerable critical acclaim. Paula’s song ‘The Red Rose’ and “The Faintest Touch” have received Honor Awards from the Great American Song Contest. Paula’s songs in Irish “Havin The Craic” and “Suantrai Donnacha” have featured in the Pan Celtic Irish National Song Contest. Most recently Paula’s peace anthem entitled “Raise Your Voice” featured in the Tipperary Song of Peace Contest” and was selected as the Peace Song 2014 at one of the UK’s largest folk festivals – Shrewsbury Folk Festival.
As well as performing, writing and recording Paula, has a wealth of experience of leading vocal/singing, song-writing and percussion/rhythm workshops for persons of all ages and abilities. Paula says “The reason I like doing workshops is that its a great chance to “share my love of music making with others in a relaxed, creative & inspiring way. Just this August, I had great fun leading a music-making, voice and rhythm workshop for children at the very successful Clonmel Busking Festival – the young people who came were just brilliant and we had a great time!”.
So Paula’s life as a working Singer/Songwriter is a very busy one and can be a struggle but Paula wouldn’t want to be anything else – “I could never have too much of singing and performing. I’m always looking for new outlets for my music and new places to play. As far as I’m concerned you can get through anything as long as there is music and song – my philosophy on life is epitomised in the title track of what has been a very successful album for me “Sing Away The Sadness“. I have been given the opportunity to write, sing and perform my own songs and people seem to want to listen to them so I’m not going to complain – I think I’m on a winner – hopefully just like Tipperary hurlers! Up Tipp!”
Contact Details/Bookings/Info for Paula:
Telephone: 087 1710591