Gweedore, my home in North West Donegal is the traditional heartland of the county. This Irish speaking area has produced its share of singers and musicians, among them the Brennan and Duggan families of Clannad fame, Enya and Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh of Altan.
The rugged beauty of the area is a constant source of inspiration. With the Derryveagh Mountains on one side and the wild Atlantic on the other. Gweedore is the ideal spot to relax and meditate.
Growing up in this environment, the Irish culture was part of our home. The youngest of eight, I have six brothers and one sister. I live in the family home with my mother. My father (deceased) was a school teacher, a lover of the Irish language and a singer. He was a great source of encouragement. He urged me to join the local church choir, St. Mary’s Derrybeg of which I am still a member.
Primary school brought a sea of opportunity with the introduction of instruments to my musical world. Tin whistle, melodica and fiddle playing became part of every day life. Drama and singing were always part of Gweedore life and as a teenager I entered into this fully. I travelled the length and breath of the country to enter competitions. My performing got a great boost through my membership of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann. This enabled me to build a store of material and provided me with the necessary confidence to perform on stages around the world.
This rich tradition brought me a wealth of songs. Locals provided inspiration and material. Thanks to the late Áine Nic Giolla Bhríde (A. Mc Bride), Caitlín Ní Dhomhnaill and the late Conal Ó Domhnaill,I have the courage and the repertoire to perform. Everything from hymns to drinking songs have been handed down from generation to generation. I enjoy making traditional songs full of story and emotion my own.
My first recording in 1991 ‘Loinneog Cheoil’ with Dervish brought me to the attention of ‘Gael Linn’. I recorded my last album ‘Aoife’ with this label. Produced by Máire Brennan and Denis Woods, it was released in 1996. Both albums are in the medium of Irish yet this did not bring limitations. ‘You don’t have to understand the language to appreciate the songs.’ I released my next album 'turning of the tide' in 2003. This album was produced by Phil Coulter and has songs in both Irish and English. My latest album is a release of Loinneog Cheoil in CD format.Manus Lunny produced this album and is available to buy in the shops now.
Since the release of the album ‘Aoife’, I have toured and performed in Holland, Germany, Brittany, England and Ireland. The album was released in Japan, Spain among other countries. I have also recorded with other artists (in Irish and English) such as Larry Hogan/Stuart Wilde, Liam Lawton, Manus Lunny, Tim Wheater, Ayou and James Galway/Phil Coulter. These other recordings gave me a chance to understand the culture of other countries which in many ways are not unlike our own celtic culture in Ireland.
My life is now divided between my full-time job and my music career. I look forward to devoting my life fully to music following the release of my next album. Sharing the tradition, the songs and the language is my life and I look forward to sharing it with you. www.aoife.ie/
You can listen to short samples from some of the tracks from this artist using the player below.
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