Blog From a Bus

Mná Abú 

The GENDER DISPARITY REPORT FOR IRISH RADIO is long overdue. I have worked with Linda Coogan Byrne on this report and in the past and I just have to say she is KICK ASS and I have admired her integrity and continuing support for Irish Women for a very long time. She has been in this conversation before anyone agreed this was a conversation to have. 

I risk being blacklisted by the Irish Media for speaking out on this. I risk being excluded even further from Irish radio stations we are calling to account. I risk men not being willing to tour with me for fear of me being difficult. I risk my own touring options in Ireland of audiences or venues or festivals not liking the disruptive female singer, BUT what is worse? Risking knowing that the next incredibly talented generation of Irish women coming up in the music industry will be muted as we have been.  

I walk this path with my sisters (some of whom can't speak out) in Irish music and recognise also that this conversation is the START to a much more inclusive conversation around other minorities also being left out of our national musical voice. These facts are HARD to look at and not be enraged, but they need to be seen. And for me the intense emotions around this are also very personal as I am one of these statistics. These numbers of exclusion are real life women who are working really hard at their craft. Who are releasing songs and who are trying to bring their art into the world for the betterment of us all. 

And it is not just radio. It is the entire system and ecology of the music industry in Ireland. One structural part affects the other. Radio drives demand for festivals. Demand for gigs. Demand for opportunities. Everyone looks at the radio playlists and curates opportunities based on that. Every female musician in Ireland I know in Ireland will have their own story about how reading this report tore open their hearts. I invite you to look them all UP! Here is a list to start with. 

We work so hard, some of us like me with three kids or in other caring roles. Creativity and motherhood is no joke and what it takes to commit to our art in spite of all the challenges. We are warriors.  

Reading this report immediately brought up an experience from 2017 when the booking agent I was with in Ireland told me that I would need to get a song in high rotation on Fm104 or Today FM or 2FM if I wanted a chance at touring Ireland or getting onto festival bills. I went to work as I always do to make shit happen. I employed Linda and we spent money, time and effort on getting music into the ears of the stations, but with no return. The only station that looked at me was RTE 1. And now when I look at the data that all matches up. RTE1 is 50-50 they based their decisions of inclusion and the 3 stations that were hinging on my opportunities in Ireland didn't give me a look in. It was a big wake up call then. And I decided to change tactics for the next time. I have since changed booking agents and approach completely and have gone the route of a grassroots touring model where I just tour and I make my own audiences one person at a time. This is wholesome and beautiful of course and I love it, the troubadour life. But when I look at this report I am enraged at how little space there is for us Irish women to be given the other path... the radio discovery and support path would be incredible for at least SOME of us. It is hard to read that the starting line for Irish male musicians is so much further ahead than us. 

This report then makes me go back further than 2017. Back to the start of my career in the music industry in Dublin. I had been sheltered playing trad music with my Dad with lots of incredible female musicians on the West Coast, but when I landed in Dublin it quickly became clear this was a boys club. I am talking about the heyday of the singer-songwriter. The lock ins in Whelans where guitars were passed around to the wee hours to the MEN. Only ever the men. It confused me as was so different to the "session" vibe in the West. I was a passionate, somewhat naïve, yet committed young singer-songwriter with music in my DNA and all the time to want to better my craft and yet the doors were never going to open for me. It was then and still is ALL lads holding that power in Ireland. And that same attitude prevails when we export our Irish acts around the world. Our modern Irish writers and poets just like Joyce and Ulysses, all men. 

It wasn't always just exclusion. It was sinister too. I was taken advantage of. I was the victim of predators in the scene and assaulted. I was told by women, my elders in Irish music, that the only way to climb the ladder was to sleep with certain men to get there, "we all have" I was told. I left music entirely when I was pregnant with my first daughter. It felt disgusting. It was such an unsafe space as a woman then and it still is today.  

I only took up music again years later when I emigrated to Australia and met an amazing group of female singer-songwriters touring with their kids and shaking up the country. The conversations around women being excluded were happening. Women supporting each other was happening and I finally felt safe to bring my music back out from the shadows. And whilst I LOVE the reception I have had in Australia, I long to go home. I am Irish through and through and I have wanted nothing more than to be recognised for my art in Ireland. I grieve that it hasn't been possible. 2017 told me that loud and clear. I also grieve for the Irish women that didn’t have the positive experience I had in Australia which brought me back into the music. How many songs have we lost? How many women have quit or died with their songs never reaching our ears? 

I also feel enraged for the amount of Irish women that HAVE to get in touch with me to tour Australia. I have only had ONE man ever reach out and many, many women wanting the support to tour over here as a way to make a living for their art. They are so talented, but they are drowning in the same cesspool of misogyny that took me down for years. I see my Irish sisters making their livings in Germany, America and Australia because Ireland doesn't support us. 

I want to see better for THIS generation of Irish female musicians.

They are fucking powerhouses!!

And I want to see better for the next.  

We will RISE! 

Mná Abú. 

It is time. 

FOR NOW....  
Please READ..  
Please SHARE.  
Please HELP us call for change.  



GENDER DISPARITY DATA REPORT ON IRISH RADIO: Link to download full report is here:  

Link to play a slideshow presentation of the report is here…/DAD_kmfQraE/LacXD6V8n_UGaOkS3r1Giw/view

Invitation To The Party 

Dia Dhuit, 

Hope ye have all been rocking since we last spoke! A lot has been rocking and rolling here getting ready for the release of the new album that you helped burst into existence! BUT that's not what this is about... I am here JUST to invite you to our own party!! 

You see since the epic 15 hour Live Facebook Crowdfund, I have been continuing the tradition, EVERY SUNDAY! We drink tea or whatever your poison, I take requests, sing songs, talk shite and basically laugh a lot! We are having so much fun on these Virtual Cuppa Teas that ye all have even gathered your own name. 

The Rebel Crew. 

I had been feeling for ages all of ye that follow my music in all the different places have a lot in common and ye needed a collective noun and I love a good collective noun. So in a conversation with a friend she nailed ye, likening ye to a crew aboard a pirate ship! I had to further explain you weren’t just any old crew you were a bunch of rogues and rebels, kickstarters and troublemakers and also deeply feeling people! I told her how I feel so fecking honoured that my music has somehow become part of the soundtrack of the epic shit you do in life. So this is just a little invitation to to claim your name and welcome ye all to the Rebel Crew. 


I would also like to personally invite you over to our parties every Sunday. If you haven't come across it, they happen about 8:30pm AUS time and 11:30am IRE time. This is the first week ever that I am clever enough to work out how to stream live on FACEBOOK and INSTAGRAM. They had been going out just on FACEBOOK but to be honest, a lot of ye are hanging on INSTAGRAM now and we are having a lot of fun over there during the week outside of the Cuppas. 


So another INVITATION is for you to come join our crew of Rebels over on INSTAGRAM and see what we get up to during the week. 

You don't wanna miss this party: 

I am loving uploading Stories behind the scenes of recording, gigs, rock and roll moments and the really un rock and roll moments. I do "Tour Bits With Tiddles" when I am on the road. And I've been having random dance parties, light shows, and even hula hooping on rivers with tin whistles. It gets wild over there. 

As we are coming into all the new RELEASING of epic stuff for 'Return To The Sea'.... INSTAGRAM TV is also where we will be exclusively premiering our video stuff for the new album. We want YOU to get it first, so INSTA is where it is at. Early releases of music video and sneak peaks at the upcoming Documentary 'Wading In The Sea'. You also get notice of Video Podcast Episodes for "Deeper Into The Sea" early ... so really you kinda wanna be at that party! 

So Rebels....Come hang on INSTAGRAM with me ... @ainetyrrellmusic is where you will find the Rebel Party! 

And maybe see ye on a SUNDAY for a VIRTUAL CUPPA. 

Grá Mór, 

ÁINE  xo

Saving Myself  

Who am I to speak about the Repeal of the 8th Amendment when I am excluded from the vote? Who am I to comment on Ireland when I no longer live in the country full-time? Who am I to speak about what freedoms we deserve as Irish women when I, along with millions of women in Australia, are afforded many of those freedoms in my adopted home?  Perhaps it is in the very fact of this exclusion, in this distance, and in this new freedom that I feel extremely passionate about what it means to be culturally an Irish woman and the past that has defined us and the future we need to fight for. 

So when I was invited to speak and sing at the 3rd Annual Vagina Conversations where 10 women shared current and personal stories about their Vaginas in Byron Bay, NSW in aid of the Women's Resource Centre, I knew exactly which fire from my feminist heart was wanting to be heard, but I had no idea the form it would take.  This year’s event had even more significance to me as it was commemorating the 20 years since Eve Ensler’s feminist cultural defining moment that was the Vagina Monologues.  

It was also significant to me as at the time I was considering my participation, Ireland was collecting the thousands of voices of women and good men to call for a referendum to change our Constitution. And soon after this speech, this monumental referendum was called for May 25th and we are now all now mid-campaign to Repeal our 8th Amendment. The Repeal of this amendment would give Irish women the basic human right to have bodily integrity over their reproductive health. It is archaic to be living in a world where women do not have sovereignty over their own bodies and considering the warriors of women we come from as Irish women, how have we got here?  How was the strength of the power of the church and state so profound that we even lost our own bodies in the river of faith along the way? Personally, I know that very same feeling, not of an abortion, but of a decade of the loss of my own power as a woman over my body and destiny and the more I have stepped away from my own culture, the more I have been able to piece together how our wiring as Irish women have all been affected by this same systematic disempowerment. For me it was a decade, for us collectively as Irish women it has been centuries of being sold the fictitious good Irish catholic girl myth, but not anymore, the myth has caused the wounds that we are all healing now and it is time for us to be the bad ass Irish women we are as we take that power back.

After my rant, which seemed to arrive from somewhere far deeper than just my own personal experience, you will hear a satirical and topical song by Bird Cloud called 'Saving Myself for Jesus' with my satirical queen of a friend Mandy Nolan joining me on the harmonica (vag-monica). Through laughter and wit we, as humans, are somehow able to expose the absurdity of those power structures. These long held truths of our catholic and patriarchal upbringing must pushed back to the point of laughter and then deserve to be heavily questioned through the eyes of equality and justice. And then hell yes, the basic human right over fifty percent of our population should be restored. Our referendum comes at a time where the collective voices of women are gathering worldwide and the power of all our sisters are standing with us as well as the spirits of the many generations of Irish women who had no voice. We will not be silenced this time. 

If you are in Ireland, please make my noise and BE my VOTE YES. If you are watching this from other places in the world, please check out some resources: 

Repeal the 8th. Use your voice.

xo Áine

Dream a New Dream 

My job is to sing. I am not quiet when I sing. My job is to show up vulnerably naked and hand my highest truth over to you and whoever else is there to listen. I feel honoured to have had you all listen this year, hold me in your space and given your hearts back. That space is truly sacred and I can no longer continue holding the court of that sacred space without acknowledging that I have been apologetically quiet. My silence has been for your comfort, but I am slowly fading inside and you don’t deserve dim after all the light you have shone on me.  
Today I’m choosing to be unapologetically noisy and shine a big bold light that I solemnly swear, I will never allow to dim again. Today I’m telling my truth. 

Whenever anyone asks me why I moved to Australia, I pause, there is an uncomfortable hesitation. Do I tell them I moved here because I wanted an adventure? Do I tell them I moved here because I was tired of surfing cold Atlantic waves? Do I tell them I moved here to flee the Global Financial Crisis sailing with the thousands of other Irish youth that Ireland let haemorrhage from her shores? After my pause, I normally tell a combination of those truths in a way that people won’t ask any more questions. Because all of those have an element of truth, but they are not THE truth - that truth has crippled my tongue and been too hard to unravel into words until now.  
I was estranged from my husband as a result of something that is all too familiar for women all over the world, regardless of culture. My eldest and I were the victims of domestic violence.

I was pregnant with my second child to him and a court order was in place for no contact with him.  I was rebuilding, and as I was nearing the end of the pregnancy, a letter came in the door.  He was sorry, he wanted to change… he wanted to be a dad.  So, I did what I thought was best for my children and gave him a second chance to be the father he said he wanted to be.  The catch though was leaving Ireland and leaving the stress which he felt had cause him to behave the way he did. Leaving the GFC and its looming black cloud.  He wanted to surf, he wanted sunshine. He wanted a new easy going life. I gave up my job, I gave up my friends, I gave up my family, I gave up our house by literally handing the keys of our newlywed home into the bank and I gave him a chance. 

He left for Australia and we followed him out here three months later with only pictures of a little town outside of Melbourne to go on. All I could translate from the pictures was that there was sunshine, waves, and BBQs ahead of us.  We knew no one here, but I believed in the Australian dream. I believed he could make something of himself here, make himself happy and that his happiness would trickle like gold speckles into our mending family. I bought into the Australian Dream. For the first year it was a dream. He was happy, I’d never seen him so happy. He loved work, our little ones, the beach. We all surfed and had BBQs and for the first time I felt like we were a family and we were healing together.  After a year, the novelty must have worn off and the Australian dream quickly turned into a nightmare. It started to go back to the way it had been, just little things at the start. By then I was pregnant with our third child and I felt I had no choice, I had to make this marriage work.  I was on the other side of the world and everything was upside down and I poured all that fear and confusion into determination.  I couldn’t see any other way out than to keep fighting to stay in.  I hadn’t told any of our new friends about our past so how could I explain these little things that were happening.  My family were too far away and too worried about me. If I mentioned the little things they would think they were big things and they would have told me to get on a plane.  I didn’t know how, or where to turn for help for the little things in Australia.  The little things grew into slightly bigger things. He was unhappy. No matter how many times we moved, how many new jobs he got, or what I said or did, his unhappiness loomed.  Then the little things grew into really big things and my determination was finally defeated. My determination was coming at the detriment to my children. I couldn’t ignore that. Then came the intervention orders, the courts, the child protection again but this time with a new country’s logo at the top of my stacks of papers. I was now drowning in the Australian Nightmare. This is the nightmare that eulogises perpetrators in the small talk in small towns, or in big talk across our national news headlines….  “He just snapped” “He was a good man” “He was stressed”.  This nightmare silences victims in the court rooms as they tremble to the dance of the system. It curses the victim for not leaving earlier. It undermines the victims for not having collected forensic evidence whilst hiding behind closed family doors of hope, love and forgiveness. This is the same nightmare that convicts the perpetrator without actually giving them a conviction. Then it hands the victim a piece of paper to protect in one hand and another piece of paper that over rides that protection to the other hand. This same nightmare splashes our news feeds full of the tears of families left broken each week as another woman is lost to the fatal hands of her partner.  
My nightmare was the nightmare of a single mum in a country that wasn’t my own. Where do I turn? What do I do? How can I go home?  I am not safe here, how will I be safe at home?  When you are in the middle of court proceedings one can’t just transfer countries. If the thirst for evidence in Australia can’t be quelled, how will Ireland soak any of it in?  I had a job, I had amazing friends, and a truly divine support network but I never felt so alone in dealing with such a traumatic event in a foreign country. It wasn’t home, but I couldn’t go home. Groundhog day, every day.  As with many victims of domestic violence the nightmare doesn’t end when you leave.  A huge part of not leaving is knowing whether you stay or leave you will be stuck dealing with them for the rest of your life.  I thought I was an expert at analysing and predicting from the inside, so the safer option in my head was to remain on the inside and not alienate myself to the outer game of guessing the next attack. On the outside he is predictable in his unpredictability dragging us through court systems at his whim and at our expense. An expense that as a single mama is crippling, but more crippling is the fire of stress that creeps up my spine as I tell my story again and again hoping this time might be the last and or to see the fire dim in my babies’ eyes as they relive the trauma time and time again.  On the outside the walking on eggshells dance I learned so long ago is allowed to continue, because on the outside he breaks intervention orders set by courts and police don’t act on them. On the outside police tell me to move, leave my friends and support networks, pull my insecure kids out of their securities, and go find somewhere temporary, somewhere he won’t find us. On the outside police say they will warn him but it took over 75 breaches of an intervention order, over 75 calls to the police for them to act. And when they do act, he gets a mate’s club punch to the shoulder and told to “pull your head in”.  On the outside that piece of paper that took me all my courage in the world to seek out, is the thinnest most fragile piece of glass that leaves shards in me every time I try to protect myself with it. The police tell me it is in the grey area. The courts say it is black and white. And somewhere in the middle the human beings they are protecting lose their colour. So I faded, I curled up into a ball and grew smaller, left our new loving community and went into hiding to set up all over again. I pretended, again, I had chosen their little town because of some Australian dream.  I didn’t tell them about the nightmare. The outside isn’t as safe is it would appear. It is tumultuous, it is a torrent of upheaval, it is a river of doubts and uncertainty coming from the deep well of the Family Court systems that are meant to protect.






Yet one day in the middle of my nightmare I dreamed a new dream. In the middle of the drones of the court appearances, the wailing of the child psychologist appointments, and the gut twisting grief of losing my old dream of the perfect family, I dreamed a new one for my real family.  I dreamed of travelling around Australia with my three little beings and seeing the country. I dreamed of being on wheels so that we were safe to the unpredictable winds of our predicament and so that I could rewrite our sorrow into an adventure. I dreamed of being myself again after so many years of being lost.  Being myself again meant answering that little calling that had been in me since I was little, since I watched my Dad play his heart out and sing his stories. Being myself again meant singing my own stories.  I had given up that part of me when the man I loved had smashed my guitars in our front garden. The dream sunk deep then. It was dangerous, I couldn’t be a mother, a wife, a creative, a musician at the same time. But as I pulled that dream back up from deep within me, I uncurled myself a little from my ball and I dared. I dared to dream that perhaps he had sold me a lie, that I could at least try to be a musician and a mother. I had played a few songs around Australia before my nightmare truly was in effect and in those dark days it was a little beam of sun, but a cloud threatened as I realised I was facing a whole other set of obstacles. Not only was I mother, but I was now a single mama so how could I drag this dream alongside all of life’s other demands? How would my music even surface?  
When one faces obstacles, one must always be surrounded by some mountain moving kick ass friends. Luckily I was surrounded by such friends at the hauling up of my dream time… and there it hit me. Buy a bus, I thought out loud. As good friends always do, they told me they had a friend with a bus. It had Tassie oak floors. I wanted that bus. The owner of the bus tried to talk me out of it… why didn’t I go for something smaller, something with power steering, something from the 1980s at least. No I was sold. The dream I had was a 1966 Bedford Freedom Bus with Tassie oak floors.  So I got a loan, I got a Heavy Rigid Truck License, I packed my kids onto the bus and let them dance on the Tassie oak floors. Then, I crowdfunded an album and I decided to start living my dream. I went out to the desert and recorded my album on an epic road trip of self-healing and music creating and that desert rubble became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.  The desert (although completely Un-Irish) made me feel at home for the first time in Australia. I had found my heart, my home in my own heart in the heart of this country and for the first time I felt connected to this place.  The universe was lighting the way for me, as I chanced upon some amazing human beings who I get to call my band, pinching myself every time I get on stage to play my little songs with some of Australia’s finest beside me. In playing my album, my songs, my story, and sharing a bit of my Irish culture around Australia for the last year, it has made me feel even more at home and actually like I’m contributing to something here in Australia. The comradery amongst the Australia music scene is truly unique and heart affirming. I have never met a more encouraging mob. We gained an instant family all around Australia as soon as we bought that old bus and our new community literally has pushed us up some of the biggest hills of our lives.  
All along our tour routes we have our musical aunties and cousins. And although I am still in a way “stuck” in Australia, I am having a damn beautiful time being stuck here. We have travelled and healed and travelled some more and little by little the story is changing. Each day we still wake up to shake off the dust from our previous nightmare, but each day a little more sparkle arrives in our dreams. This past year I have sang and played and played and sang at places I never could have dreamed of and had audiences whom have given me as much as they think I am giving them. And each of those rooms full of love and hope at the end of the night has added more sparkles to my own Australia dream.  I couldn’t have dreamed of the team I have around me now.  I couldn’t have dreamed of a team FULL STOP. To have management, booking agents, and a label that believes in me is incredibly humbling. I do have to pinch myself most days as we send emails back and forth and that they actually think this ‘Áine Tyrrell’ thing is a good idea! It also makes me so proud of myself for honouring that little calling I had inside me to do be brave enough to do this. And if there is one thing that my journey has taught me, it’s to always honour that voice.  That little calling is who I am and who I am is my own dream not someone else’s nightmare.  
A few years back as people started telling me all about these amazing festivals around Australia. I dreamed a little wish list. Each one of the ones those little wishes are on our tour itinerary this summer and I don’t take that invitation lightly. Because Mullum Festival, Woodford Folk Festival, and Cygnet Folk Festival are big and beautiful, I couldn’t sit here small and quiet anymore. I’m letting my truth ring out now and just gave myself permission to be a very loud dreamer! Hope to have you come dream with me this summer. Let’s make some noise.


*** If something in this post rings true for you and your experience or if someone you know needs help you can contact: 
AUSTRALIA: 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) 
IRELAND: Women's Aid 1800 341 900

Everybody Needs a Betty 

So I break my promise to myself every tour. Every tour, I swear that I will blog once a week and every tour I am at least 3 weeks in and I think feck it... next time I'll be that super organised touring blogging musician! It's just I get distracted not only by driving the fecking mighty distances in this country, I get distracted with logisitcs of tours, I get distracted by going to cool places with the kids, but I REALLY get distracted by all the amazing people I get to meet. Their stories enthrall my little heart and I spend more time being in the story than being able to type about it. 

I could type here now for hours and share with you pictures of the beautiful beaches, the stunning cityscapes or the mountains we got to climb. We went from cold Victoria to freezing Canberra up through the snow in the mountains of Katoomba into the icey rivers at Bellingen and up to the sunny beaches of Noosa with their warm salty seas.  We saw and felt so much of Australia in three months that this blog would explode with pictures. But that's not for this post. I could tell you about the 50 litres of transmission oil we spilled across the highways between Canberra and Brisbane. Or the alternators that kept slipping on us and the twenty or so bolts that snapped. Or the tire that burst and caused me to miss my first gig EVER (sorry Brisbane).  I could tell you about the many many amazing human beings that we met and the angels that helped us to keep Busty Bertha on the road this time. So lucky we are still rolling! But that's not for this post either. 

I could go through each day blow by blow, but it would look like this on repeat...
Drive bus to a divine venue (rockstar parking always appreciated):

Load in the gear and small people (extra care of the monkey and banjo!):
Then play a kick ass show (the divine Sarah Carroll and talented Nick Martin kicking ass with me):

Groundhogs day with a different town and different stage!

The only thing that keeps it from being Groundhog's day is what this post is all about. It's for the beautiful people we have met on this trip and that is what makes touring and the 57 litres of transmission fluid completely worth it! I wish I had a picture of each and every one of the human beings that have touched me this trip but that would explode the blog. From the beautiful festival workers, to the venue owners, to the amazing musicians we have had a chance to get to know and play music with (let alone the amazing crew I get to call my band!), to the unbelievable audiences OH MY WORD, I am so full of all that love and honoured to be able to do what I do. I am beyond lucky.

But then the tour ends and the people stop. Where are my peeps? When you return from tour there is always the re-entry (as Sarah Carroll so wisely told me it's called) that comes after tour... that moment where you are trying to work out what just happened the last few months and where you are going tomorrow and what does the next few months look like. There is no itinerary for "normal life". Siri isn't telling me when to turn left and right today. (I kinda miss her voice actually) There is no tour schedule to say where I am supposed to be and there is no guaranteed money from gigs coming in, and there are no people (apart from the check out people at Woolworths) that want to talk to me.  This is precisely when those of us coming back off tour do that little freak out dance... you know that one... sing it... Freak out...! We add our own lyriccs to the original song too like "why am I even doing this" "why am I a creative" "why am I trying to make a living out of this". We make those lyrics rhyme real good with other stuff too! In those moments, I've learned that as a sensitive creative type I MUST ALWAYS consult with my crew because that is when the sensitive creative type are at risk of ringing up to do a random accountancy course or something. So I knew better and I didn't type into google that I was looking for a job as an  "Irish bus driver", I instead typed in a little piece of heaven from my divine sister from another mister Jackie Marshall in which she interviewed the divine Liz Stringer. And as if those two ladies were psychic... There in print in the interview was that bit of my soul I needed to listen to.
"And keep making it (art), if you’re one of those people. Sometimes it can feel like shouting into the darkness. But if you know that even one pair of ears is receiving and processing, in some way, what you’re doing, the darkness can be very quickly lit up." - Liz Stringer

So this tour post is a gratitude post for all those ears that have kept on receiving and keep me going. And without being able to name all the divine people and conversations I have had, I will sum it up in one woman: BETTY!
I met Betty last year on our album tour for "Queen of Swords" when we arrived into a 40 degree Bellingen to play No. 5 Church Street. We set up and the lovely sound engineer mentioned her friend Betty who was Irish and played the bodhrán and was in her 80s.  I said to tell her she'd be welcome to come along and play bodhrán with us. Sure enough a few hours later as I'm about to start the gig and Betty arrives up to tell me she's here to play! And did she play, she played a few lovely tunes with us and lit me up with her exuberance for life and music. She left before I could say goodbye at the end of the night so I asked the venue to pass on my CD to Betty the next day. And we rolled out of town.

Fast forward 6 months later and I am back in beautiful Bellingen playing at Bello Winter Music Festival and we are at the opening night. The act before us is a Bellingen drumming circle and who is sitting in the middle but my dear Betty.  As she comes off stage she gives me a hoot and a hollar and a hug and says I have something for you. We play our set and there Betty is back stage and puts this in my hands:
A sword. A sword she found for me and had made into a necklace and has been carrying around with her until she met me again. She starts to tell me about her life in Ireland when she was younger and about how growing up in a Protestant family she wasn't allowed to listen to or play traditional Irish music and it took her moving out here and knowing the music was in her veins and she had to find out more. So she took up the bodhrán in her 70s and is a drumming enthusiast. She said my music had touched her and she played the CD "Queen of Swords" every day and she could tell I had pain but that I had found light in the pain and she loves that and she needed that too. Betty then came to every one of our gigs at Bello Winter Music. She played bodhrán from her seat and joined us on stage every opportunity we could get her up. She hooted and hollared and sang the words out loud as she could. She MADE OUR FESTIVAL!!! At our last show, we were back stage doing the pack up and one of the stage managers came over to me and asked me would I go out to the front of the venue as Betty was upset and crying. I came out to Betty who was in tears that it was our last show and that she had had the time of her life this weekend and she didn't want the fun to end. Oh Bless if I could have bundled Betty on that bus and taken her with us!! We brought her back to our accommodation and sat around the fire until the wee hours. And in that time she let us in on a secret that she likes to write songs too and Betty sang for the whole house! The next morning as the Bus was rolling out Betty arrived with Taytos (Irish crisps) and a picture of herself for the bus so we wouldn't forget her. 

And I haven't Betty! I haven't forgot you and we can't wait to come through and see you again.
But now it is my turn to thank you. Thank you Betty and to all the Bettys out there. Thank you for being that one set of ears for me, for receiving me, that one hug, that one sword that has given me the strength to keep doing what I do. Thank you for reminding me that music matters.
You are my Queen of Swords.

xo Áine

P.S. Watch out Betty we are coming through to Mullum Music Festival and might have to take a detour to come and pick you up!
P.P.S Here's a link to the latest and very timelt "Lessons From The Road" Part VII "We All Wander" about the amazing people we met on our desert recording trip. It's all about the Betty's on the way!


Lessons From The Road 

What a journey....
I wanted to bring ye all on that journey with us, but that's not possible so instead we brought a film crew. And wehat we captured we have decided to give you as a little bonus with the CD. Win-win. We get to share and you get to be with us. I didn't want to go into a stuffy recroding studio, I wanted to record in places that made my heart sing. So we took my bus, my fragile heart and we went to the desert. And what reflected on our journey were micro lessons for life...  we followed the road. We trusted in the universe and let the Road guide us. It is amazing what happens when you really let go and let the universe guide you. Here is episode I... "The Universe Provides".

‎Lessons From The Road‬ II from the 'Making of the Queen Of Swords' is all about trusting that little voice inside. We had no plan or itinerary for our trip into the desert to record this album. All we had was a pact between all of us that we would stay if it felt right and move on if it didn't. It was truly a lesson for the road but one that echoes through life... in the good and bad hold on to what you have.. that little voice... that's all we have, our heart speaking to us. And its our choice to listen...

There were times on this road trip where I wanted to give up and there are times in life where I still do want to give up... but we forged on and continue to forge on. This day we forged on in honour of my stepsister Natale Ferragut Mogensen knowing life is unfair, but knowing that there was nothing I could do from so far away.  We lost Natale to the battle of Cancer where cancer won. She was a warrior and one of those beautiful hearts that the world sorely misses. I wanted to turn the bus around when we got the news, I wanted to retreat to the pain and sorrow of it. But my mum, stepdad and ever so wise producer all urged me to continue on in her honour and do what I can do to offer some beauty into the world in place of the pain that was coming from this. And so we did, we kept searching for magic through the darkness and suffering that is real life. With her heart, my heart, and the road ahead we kept on looking for light even in the darkest of caves! Real caves. We listened and she must have been guiding us somehow as well... because we found it....

The album has been dedicated to these hearts from far away that remind us to listen to our own hearts.... two divine souls that were taken far too soon Natale Ferragut Mogenson and Liamóg Tyrrell. And to the many many more hearts that we continue to lose far too soon. Life is such a torturous mix of beauty and pain.

Today and everyday in their honours... keep tuning in and listen because there are messages coming all the time from everywhere.. it's our job to listen and trust what we hear. Go on, I dare you!

And please feel free to make a dedication to someone today. Who will you bring some beauty in the world in honour of??

All Roads Lead Home 

It's been a huge few months with giving up the day job and jumping feet first into the music industry. On the back of our desert trip and the rest of the recording sessions I finally released my first ever single 'Where Were You' the tour, the making of a CD, a DVD, touring, gigging, collaborating, and adventuring. Life is never dull aboard a 1966 Bus with many guitars and 3 kids.... and I made a little tour video from my VIC, ACT and NSW tour August 2015.  As I sit in rainy VIC, I am kinda wishing the sun was still shining upon us in NSW, but... the next adventure is always waiting.

Travelling On

And the next big adventure is coming.... The release of the 'Queen Of Swords' is coming October 9th with a full national tour over the next few months. My debut album is finally here.... and guess what? I already have a copy in my hand and it feels good!! It sounds lovely as well... well as much as I have heard of it... these monkeys never sit still long enough for me to get through the full 45 minutes!! I am very proud of it and so are these little beauties... my youngest even tried to scam money off his Kinder teacher today to have her buy one ;)

Over the next few weeks I will be posting clips from the Bonus DVD that is coming with each CD. "Lessons From The Road"- The Making of the Queen of Swords is 8 beautiful episodes from our trip to the desert to record the album. We captured every layer of humaness out there and can't wait for you to see it all and see how this album was created. Keep your eye here or on facebook....

One year on the road has been such a privalege and to also have brought out an album with it... feelings of blessedness soaring high!!
My youngest asked me while driving home today....
"Do all roads lead home Mama?"
I said, "Yes I think so. All roads lead home for us anyways."
He asked "How?"
I said "Well, no matter what road we are on we are always home, surrounded in love and adventure... that's a pretty epic home!"
He didn't say anything, just nodded and smiled!

So where would your road take you... if you could take off???

Thank you to our "manny" Fenn Wilson
Dougie Bull and Gleny Rae Virus and her Playboys
Eclectic Sounds and Mick Daley
and everyone we met along the way
Can't wait to do it all again...
MUSIC BY: Siskin River and Roesy

Big Steps From Little Pieces 

I am sitting at my computer waiting for all the little pieces of the puzzle to form around me... it is like blindly making a puzzle because I have no idea what the picture will look like when I finish. In the next 24 hours, the world is going to hear my first ever released song, ""Where Were You" and set in motion a dream bigger than me now.

The little pieces of the puzzle have had to come together for so long to take this one mighty step. So as I watched the most amazing sunset last night and woke to the most beautiful sunrise, I spent much of that in between sun appearances going back over all the rises and sets of this year and many others that have brought me to this day where I am realising a life long dream. Through all the ups and downs my little voice inside, you know the one we all ignore... held my truth and helped me move forward each day. As one day set on all the excuses under the sun as to why I shouldn't be playing music, it awoke with a blank white sheet from where I could draw possibilities. As one day set on a dream to record, it awoke with a bank account full, a team ready, and a journey that soothed my soul. As one day set on my job as a primary teacher, I awoke to face the world on my own as a full time musician. Courage and heart kept me placing one foot in front of the other until I have many sets of footsteps around me now... a soul sister of a kick ass manager, an amazing producer, a world-class band, and many many cheerleaders telling us to keep moving forward. As one day set on a shattered heart, it rose on a community of beautiful souls surrounding me and my crew in love, love enough to mend a million broken hearts. As one day set on the community I had called home, it rose on road full of homes, embraces of beautiful people, and unreal knack to find adventure where ever we go.

So this one song, carries with it the force of so many little pieces of people's hearts and souls that have brought me to this very day.  Every piece of my puzzle, I thank you divinely from the bottom of my heart and can't wait to share this song with you all!
You have given me wings and now it's time to fly.

"Where Were You" from my debut album "Queen of Swords" coming soon!

A Heart Full of Red Dust 

Ah where to even start?

So on the back of my crowdfunding campaign we headed to the desert as a crew of 4 with no plan just to record some songs. We let the road, the people and our instincts guide us. And wow we came back with much more than a memory stick full of songs! What a beautiful 8 days in one of the most amazing places on earth. The Australian Outback has stolen my little heart!

We spent our days "in search of magic". We would roll into a new place each day and talk to people and tell them what we were up to. Once they saw the bus, heard our little story they invited us into their most amazing little places, invited us to sing for them, and let us record some magic! We truly met some beautiful souls, ​​salt of the earth kinda people. We had experiences that you wouldn't believe... but we have it all on video... so you will have to believe us when we sort through the 200 hours of footage!! And on top of all of that we were making music and that was a beautiful experience... my fingers floated around the fretboard out there and my voice just came from my soul. How could it not... when we were recording in caves, in the desert sunsets, and on my divine little bus:

That desert soothed my soul like nothing else and now with all of that red loved up dust I am getting myself ready to fulfill all the crowdfunding rewards and get this album out there to the world. I went in to record an album with a sound in mind, but we have blown that wide open and recorded something far beyond my expectations. I can't wait for you to hear it! So what happens now... musicians are being sent rough mixes today and we are bringing the bus up to Melbourne soon to have them add their bits onto it. We are sending some files off to Ireland for some Irish loving on there. ​​We are also starting meeting with some teams of people who would like to help with the documentary (if any of you have a background in that get in touch... ) You have no idea what we captured on film... far beyond the making of an album. This was a trip full of what it is to be human .... magic, breakdowns, sadness, happiness, drama, love, finding, losing, soothing.

I want to thank everyone that supported the crowdfunding or even just has sent me a note of encouragement or a comment after a gig... you have all in your own way given me the freedom to record this album in a way that just brought my heart and soul in through the microphones. NONE of this would have been possible without that support. And beyond the music, I am a better human being with a brighter soul after this trip! I may be dusty on the outside, but that can't stop the shine that is firing up through me now. And that shine is going straight into getting this album into your little hands.

Forever grateful xo​ Áine