A 13-YEAR-OLD girl from the Lough will be singing with the cream of Ireland’s female singing talent when they record a Christmas single in aid of Safe, Ireland which helps women and children living in crisis.
Aoife Delaney, a first year pupil at Presentation Girls’ Secondary School in Ballyphehane, will remotely join stars such as Caroline Corr, Imelda May, Lisa Hannigan, Lyra, and Moya Brennan, to mention just a few.
Called ‘Irish Women in Harmony’, the group sang a cover of the Cranberries classic Dream on The Late Late Show during the first lockdown. They are writing a new song for Christmas and put out a call for girls aged 12 and under (Aoife turned 13 just this week) to join them as a ‘tween choir’ for the recording of the single, from which all proceeds will go to Safe Ireland.
Aoife says she has been “singing since I could talk”.
The 13 year old added: “I love singing. It’s very important to me. I’m in the Lough Choir and when I was at Greenmount National School, I was in the school choir.
“Now, I’m hoping to join the Presentation School’s choir when it starts up again. I like choirs because they’re a way of expressing yourself through singing. The four-part harmonies in the choir are lovely to listen to in the church.”
It was Aoife’s music teacher at school, Kelsea O’Brien, who drew the pupils’ attention to Irish Women in Harmony’s quest to find 12 girls to sing on the track.
“I put myself forward. I did a recording of Dreams and sent it in. They got back to me and said I was one of 50 semi-finalists out of thousands from all over Ireland. I was absolutely thrilled to even get that far.
“I was sent another part of the song and I recorded that and sent it off. They came back and said I was one of 18 finalists who were going to sing on the single. Originally, they wanted 12 girls but now it’s 18 of us. It’s unbelievable.”
Aoife’s proud mother, Eadaoin, herself a chorister, recalls her only child being invited in 2013 by the then Lord Mayor, Catherine Clancy, to sing the national anthem with the Army Band at the beginning of the Lord Mayor’s Christmas concert at City Hall.
“Aoife would get up and sing anywhere, more so than she would talk,” says Eadaoin, who has been in choirs all her life.
“My father, Eddie Goggin, who’s in heaven now, was a founder member of the Cork City Male Voice Choir. I remember being in the Lough Choir when the parish priest told Aoife she could sing in the choir. Before, he was afraid that she’d fall through the balustrade in the church. I was in the alto line. Aoife joined the sopranos. Over she went and she never came back to me. She stayed in the soprano line.”
Eadaoin’s husband and Aoife’s father is also in the local choir, making it very much a family affair.
A fan of the Cranberries, Aoife’s musical tastes are wide-ranging.
“I like a mix of everything. I love rock music and electric guitars.”
She plans to study music for her Leaving Certificate and would like to have a career as a solo singer. A lot of Aoife’s school friends submitted recordings to the call-out from Irish Women in Harmony, but weren’t accepted. Aoife must be the envy of her friends?
“A small bit, I suppose,” she says modestly.
She doesn’t know if she’ll get to meet the singers bringing out the Christmas single. Because of Covid, Aoife will be recording from home. But she says she would love to meet Imelda May.
Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter and producer for the project, RuthAnne says: “Irish Women in Harmony is all about inspiring young Irish girls to get into music and dream big. When I was younger, I always wanted to sing at any opportunity I got.”
She and her co-stars are delighted to give the tweens the chance to sing on the Christmas single.
“There are so many amazing trailblazers and emerging female artists and musicians in Ireland. In what sometimes seems like a male dominated industry in this country, we feel it’s important to inspire the young girls of today by showcasing all of the incredible women in Irish music.”
“More importantly, we wanted to come together as the ‘Irish Women in Harmony’ to raise awareness and funds for a charity close to all of our hearts, Safe Ireland, who support domestic abuse victims and survivors.
“During lockdown, the rates of reported abuse have risen by a frightening 25% and we want to help in whatever way we can.”
In covering the Cranberries’ timeless single, RuthAnne says: “Dolores (O’Riordan) was an influence and inspiration to all of us so we wanted to pay homage to her. Having all of us coming together, women supporting women, is exactly what’s needed and we hope this movement spreads far and wide and inspires others. “
To donate €4, text SAFE to 50300.