Ahead of Motherland on Sunday, March 6th, Edel Murphy reveals where the musical sparks first ignited for her…

Despite having trained as an actor – gaining a BA in Drama Performance from DIT – music has long been Edel Murphy’s first love.

Which may explain why the woman plays so many instruments.

From being the soprano soloist in The Gaiety’s production of Riverdance to touring the US, Canada, Brazil, Australia and much of Europe as part of the Celtic Woman choir, Edel has been there, played that.

Not that the lady hasn’t been letting that BA go to waste, starring in a string of stage productions at Smock Alley, The Everyman and Projects Arts as well as taking the lead role in Kate Dolan’s acclaimed 2017 horror short Catcalls and Caoimhe Clancy’s Coco Dreams Of Blue, another 2017 short, and another festival favourite.

Oh, and there’s also Edel’s many Irish theatre company collaborations as director, writer and producer.

Where Ms Murphy found the time to put together Motherland: Songs Of 20th Century Women, we’re not quite sure. We’re just glad that she did.

Celebrating history’s great protest song tradition – from Joan Baez and Nina Simone to Dolly Parton and Kate Bush – Motherland utilises evocative projected images and spoken word alongside Edel and her band delivering those pivotal songs of freedom.

Coming to The Whale on Sunday, March 6th, we naturally had to find out where all this fiery talent comes from. And what are the sparks that fueled it…

I’m not sure there’s a particular moment from my childhood where I discovered a love for singing.

Many of my family were singers and I slotted right in. I remember vague moments from primary school where I would sing in front of the class or for a school mass – at that time it was less that I loved it and more that I didn’t fear it. The love and desire to perform came later, after a handful of stage shows and performances.

I’ve always sung, always been in choirs or around music, always taken music lessons. I learned piano and guitar, and then one Christmas I was given a ukulele and suddenly I felt like a musician. I began to accompany myself and write songs, and found that singing and playing really is my happy place. It’s the most natural thing in the world.

The songs I gravitate towards are the story songs, the ones that remind me of a time or place I’ve been, of a film I like, or of a person I love.

I’m a creature of habit and find it hard to discover new music, returning over and over again to the familiar.


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