FRENCH singer-songwriter Colyne Laverriere found the artistic flair of West Cork refreshing and invigorating when she crossed the sea to settle in Cork four years ago.
The 23-year-old, originally from Hostun, in the Rhône-Alpes region south of Lyon, France, moved to Ireland to learn English and decided to stay after meeting like-minded musical souls in the rural village of Ballydehob.
Working at the renowned music venue, Levis’ Corner House, Colyne is constantly immersed in inspiring music.
Chatting about living in Ballydehob, Colyne said she loves the creative scene.
“The arts scene in Ballydehob is very big, even though the town is very small. You have painters, sculptures, singers, I never experienced that living in France, but then I wasn’t into it then either. I love it. The local community is so close here. I love that we have that down here in West Cork. Everyone helps everybody out.”
Colyne is a part of the local Tidy Towns group which keeps the area immaculate, and also helps to organise the well known Ballydehob Jazz Festival.
“The jazz is the best weekend ever, it is so amazing. It is truly unbelievable. Everyone should go to it! The craic is amazing. The village is transformed and the place is packed.”
Focusing on the community volunteering element of her West Cork experience, Colyne feels her Tidy Towns contribution is a vital element of engaging with the community.
“It is very important living in a small village to give back and get involved. There is a big community here and everyone knows everyone.”
In her spare time, she enjoys summer dips in the sea. “It’s very good for the mind,” Colyne said.
Never shy of a challenge, Colyne is currently teaching herself the piano and the guitar.
“I’m a singer-songwriter but I want to learn to play and I’ve been teaching myself these past few months.”
Colyne sings in two-piece music ensemble ‘Les SalAmandas’ alongside Julie O’Sullivan, a local to Ballydehob. The duo are currently recording their debut album, which will be co-produced by award-winning Canadian producer Daniel Ledwell, who they started working with online during the pandemic.
“Julia and I did a lot of work on our album during the pandemic, it was a very creative time for us both.”
The pair released their debut single Now Is The Time a while ago and have just launched their second single from their collection, Mouldy.
“The song is about a bad relationship coming to an end. It’s very pop and dance, and is a good indication of what the album is like. While this song has a very fun feel to it, the message it portrays is one of heartbreak.
“In our new song, we’ve tried to merge the exciting feeling of a new relationship with the heartache of it slowly meeting the end of its life. In these moments it’s important to remember you will survive.”
Just back from Canada, where she and Julie were working on their album with their producer, Colyne said she will be excited to see how their music is received in Ireland.
Looking back over her four years in West Cork, Colyne said her fondest memory is her first open mic night in Levis.
“Everyone was so supportive and it was an amazing feeling to be sharing our craft with people,” she said.
Thinking about her own family back in France, Colyne said it has been difficult being away from them for so long, but said she has made a life for herself here in West Cork that she loves.
“I do miss home sometimes, especially now that I haven’t been there for a year and a half. I miss my family and friends, and the food obviously! I try to go home every six months but unfortunately, I haven’t been able to in a while.”
While her long term plans are still to be determined and settling is far from her thoughts, Colyne said she is very happy living in Ballydehob and sees herself staying put for a while longer.
“My band and my friends that have become family over the years are the reason I am still here. I have made my life here.”