A strong Clare influence from Therese McInerney on 'Down the Strand'

Down the Strand is the debut release by Clare native Therese McInerney. It features a combination of traditional fiddle and song and in a recent review we highlighted that it was “heartfelt, resonant and had within it the natural expression that can so often elude young musicians in the studio for the first time.”

“I wanted to show where I was with both my fiddle playing and vocals at a  point in time”, she said in a recent interview with Tradconnect. “Coming from a traditional fiddle background I wanted to show my strong Clare influence - I say Clare as a general term as I was heavily influenced by the East Clare fiddle style of Vincent Griffin, Paddy Canny, Mark Donnellan, Martin Hayes, and would have spent a lot of time playing in Tulla/Feakle growing up.”

She also grew up playing with the Inis Óg/Corofin Ceili Band under the leadership of Padraic O’Reilly. This North Clare influence is evident in her reels in particular, with a strong driving rhythm present. Growing up in Miltown Malbay also brings with it a lot of the West Clare influences that make her playing so appealing.

Regarding the vocal tracks, she says: “I spent a lot of time during my teenage years as part of choirs and musicals. I trained under Archie Simpson and Kate Daly of Lismorahaun singers which would have been a classical approach to vocal studies. However as I moved on to University I became more interested in folk and sean nós singing with my main influences being Don Stiffe, Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh, Iarla Ó Lionáird and Lumiere. It was very important to have a song like Casadh an tSugain on the album as it shows my love of the Irish language.”

Brian Donnellan was also a big influence on the overall sound of the album. They have played regularly together over the past few years and Therese really enjoyed the sound they created as a duo, which is why he features on every track of the album on bouzouki and/or piano.

Her best friend Sharon Howley who she describes as a “musical genius”, also features on four tracks of the album as a cellist. This adds great depth and a new dimension to the overall sound. Her harmonies on the Flatbush waltz is one of her favourite tracks on the album.

On tune selection, Therese wrote three of the tunes on the album including “Tune for Tom”, “Therese’s Tune” and a reel “Cróga”. “In my opinion, there is nothing more therapeutic or no better way of expressing yourself than making up a tune, song or poem,” she said. “It has been of great help to me during difficult times. Some tunes I would have learned in my youth such as Tunes like The Morning Star, I learned from Bríd O'Donoghue, and the title track “Down The Strand,” I learned from Vincent Griffin, my fiddle teacher growing up.

Other tunes I learned along the way such as “Grandmother She,” a lovely barndance in the key of A which I received from John Carty only a short time before I made the recording. John was a great influence on my playing while in University, and I really enjoyed delving into the tunes and learning how small changes could make all the difference. He was very honest regarding structure and variations and was an excellent and trustworthy tutor.

Overall Therese stayed true to who she was on the album, with material that best reflected her outlook and musical upbringing.

Down the strand is now on general release and can be purchased from www.theresemcinerney.com

The album is also available as a free download for Irish radio broadcasters who are part of our Download Centre here on Tradconnect. Contact us for details.

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