Conjuring Up That Christmas Spirit

Ahead of her November 27th show, contralto Grace Foley digs through her musical roots.

Having begun singing lessons shortly after she learnt how to walk, the Kerry-born contralto Grace Foley clearly has music embedded deep in her DNA.

All those years of study – including five years at the Royal Irish Academy – came to fruition on her 2016 debut album, Home To Kerry, and blossom even further on her second album, Unleashed, as Foley embraces new sensations.

That hunger to push the boundaries and to break new ground sees Foley collaborating with some of Ireland’s finest musicians, whether it’s acclaimed session players in the contemporary world such as Niall O’Sullivan, James Nash, Rod Patterson and Guy Rickarby, or the equally curious and eclectic classical young gun, Wayne Woodman, with whom Foley teamed up with for A Touch Of Classical at The Whale back in August 2019.

And now Foley is back on Sunday, November 27th at 7pm, for the launch of her new E.P., A Time For Christmas, with rising soprano Emer Barry as special guest.

Before the big Christmas concert, we asked Grace for those songs that have shaped and shook her over the years – and how she got into this ridiculous line of work…

Well, I got into this crazy business quite simply by singing!

There is no music whatsoever in my immediate family or close relatives. My parents have always liked music but the voice seemed to be a special gift just for me! I began singing while sitting in the back of my Dad’s car. I started taking singing lessons with the legendary Aine Nic Gabhann [left] because my Aunt Marian said I should definitely do something with my voice – and that’s where the madness started!

I was geared down the classical route by the simple fact that my singing teacher trained voices in the classical style. Before I knew what was what, I was being told that my voice was a very unique and special one. Before I knew it, I was studying at the Royal Irish Academy of Music alongside all the best up-and-coming performers in Ireland, and I was being tutored by some of Ireland’s most respected musicians.

After a break from singing my love of contemporary music took me on a slightly different path, and I returned to the songs I loved when I was a teenager.
Glen Hansard’s Falling Slowly and Damian Rice’s The Blower’s Daughter are very close to my heart, and I think it is songs like these that renewed my love of music…

Grace Foley’s A Time For Christmas E.P. Vol 2 will be launched at The Whale on Sunday, November 27th at 7pm – tickets here:


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