s the lady herself says, Clare Sands was pretty much born to folk.
That’s what you get when you have five generations of fiddle players pumping through your veins, and your dad introducing you to the family passion when you’re just two years old.
Not that Clare Sands is complaining, music clearly being her no.1 passion too. To the point that she has become, according to Hot Press magazine, ‘A unique force in Irish music’.
The mighty BBC went one better, describing the fiddler, singer and multi-instrumentalist as ‘An empowering, exceptional talent, channeling the music of her ancestors, reimagining the sound of a new Ireland‘.
Bejiggers agus –caithfear a rá – begorrah.
Along the way, Ms Sands has played with everyone from the Hothouse Flowers to Luka Bloom, from Mick Flannery to Albert Hammond and beyond. And now, finally, she’s about to make her Whale debut on Friday, November 19th.
So, naturally, we had to find out where all this music came from, and what are the songs that can make Clare Sands break down and cry…
Liam tries sean-nós with tai chi
“This was, of course, an unavoidable profession,” she says, “but I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else. Well, maybe martial arts. I do have a black belt, after all.
“Still, music is in my bone. It’s my way of life, in everything I do, and I want to share it with as many like-minded souls as I can.
“If music be the food of love, play on. Until you burp.”
Now, let’s go explore the tracks of Clare Sands’ years…
Bob Dylan Buckets of Rain I love everything about Bob Dylan. To the point of obsession. The open tuning of Blood On The Tracks has hugely influenced my own guitar playing, as well as Dylan’s songwriting. ‘Life is sad, life is a bust, all you can do is do what you must’… Beaut!
Hothouse Flowers Be Good The original bad boys – Kings of Irish Traditional Soul. The perfect fusion. Love playin’ with the Flower Power gang.
Chopin Nocturne op 9 no.2 in Eb Major I love the journey this piece takes… I listen to it on repeat on a regular basis.
Stephane Grappelli How High the Moon I love gypsy jazz music. This man showed me the power of the fiddle and it’s endless possibilities and it’s playfulness too! I studied with some of his students in Holland and loved every minute of it.
Bonobo Bambro Koyo Ganda Every January I travel to far away shores by myself. Fiddle on back, I soak up as much sun, language, music and different cultures as I can. I spent a month in Morocco for one of my January adventures and now, anytime I hear the Gnawa music I can’t help jumping around and shaking out every part of my being! Love this fusion by Bonobo.
Gavin Bryars ft.Tom Waits Jesus Blood Never Failed Me Yet As a string player, I appreciate outstanding orchestration! When it’s featuring the voice of Tom Waits and the beautiful singing of an unknown homeless Londoner from the ’70s, you can’t go wrong! Amazing how such a short simple lyric can inspire such a huge, heartfelt sound.
Tommie Potts Rakish Paddy He did whatever he wanted with his music… total freedom. I admire this, it’s a hard thing to do all of the time in this industry.
Eva Cassidy Drowning In A Sea of Love My favourite female singer. Loved how she explored so many different kinds of songs and genres. She left us far too early.
Clare Sands plays The Whale on Friday, November 19th at 8pm – tickets here – and check out her website here.
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