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Sixmilebridge composer and singer songwriter Lou McMahon. Photograph by John Kelly

Clare singer set for gothic folk gig in Glór

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SONGWRITER and composer from Sixmilebridge, Louise (Lou) McMahon is back with a not-to-be missed Glór show, featuring the legendary Terry Woods.

The pair are celebrating a 12-year long musical collaboration with a show that features original material and popular songs rooted in folk music. The gig is set to have an eclectic vibe with influences from pop-folk to folk-rock, psychedelic folk to gothic folk and ballads. The gig, on April 15 is appropriately, entitled Wide Eyed Folk.

Louises voice is distinctive and euphonious, and her stage personal is mystical and exotic. She has been likened to folk singers such as Stevie Nicks, Joan Baez and Eddie Reader, yet has never compromised her own original sound. 

Collaborator Terry is a multi-instrumentalist known for his membership of groups as The Pogues, Steeleye Span, Sweeneys Men, The Bucks, Dr Strangely Strange and the short-lived Orphanage, with Phil Lynott.

Super talented Lou has not been sitting too long on her laurels, despite the challenges all artists faced during the pandemic.

She is also releasing a single, SABAI (Reimagined), described as “a folk rock fantasy” and “a gothic uprising, featuring characters such as wolves, vampires, humans and crows”. 

SABI, which also features Terry on an instrument called a Veillette, is described as “a pop, gothic, edgy tune with a Florence and The Machine, Billie Eilish, Lorde and Kate Bush vibe”.

“I wrote Sabai when I was 20,” Lou explained.

“I had a demo recording of it from that time and I polished it up. The reimagination occurred in the arrangement. I left the original lead vocal on it and arranged/layered vocals over it. I added a middle eight with a revolutionary theme to it and added lyrics: ‘We bleed at the sound of her name, there’s a star in the sky calling us up, she makes a galactical storm, calling us up, calling us up, the vampire won’t win’.”

Lou added that she enjoyed the experience of revitalising her earlier work. “It felt strangely nice singing with my younger self,” she said.

“I heard the naivety in her voice for the first time ever and I wanted to cradle her in a vocal weave and tell her some secrets about her future and teach her how to say ‘Fuck off’ with brevity.”

A rich imagination inspires Lou’s song-writing and stage persona.

“I love to talk about the technicality of my music though I am untrained,” she said. “My songs are largely works of fiction but there’s of course hidden emotions in them.

“This song SABAI, it represents the naivety of the original story, which is a fantasy story about the death of a human girl who sacrifices herself for a vampire (think Dracula’s bride)… but hidden inside of that is a reality, and the vampire is what ails you, and the uprising is the fight against what ails you. In my case it’s mental health stuff. The joy of writing is that others might find solace and their own meaning within my stories.”

Full details of the Wide Eyed Folk gig are available on Glór.ie. 

About Fiona McGarry

Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at The University of Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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