'Unquiet' Pauline Scanlon performing at Mayo venue this week
As a founding member of FairPlé, the role of women in the arts is central to Pauline Scanlon’s creative path and something she is very vocal about.
Her new album, The Unquiet, reimagines what it is to be an Irish woman in the context of music and song. It is an album that shifts expectations and defies genre.
Pauline, who will perform live at the TF Royal Theatre in Castlebar this Thursday (May 19), said of The Unquiet: “All my life as a singer, I have been drawn to old songs. In them I find solidarity with the ghosts of people I have never met and yet share fragments of feelings with. Somewhere in the empathy that is shared between singer, listener, and ghostly forms, I find strands of myself that didn’t originate in my own heart but have found their way in there all the same. They belong to someone or somewhere else, yet I feel them as deeply as if they were mine.
“With this album, I seek to represent the realities of modern-era women through traditional song. I am intentionally redirecting these songs away from the traditional narrative, turning them to face the modern era, to reflect a new social outlook, and I am imagining the present as I sing them.
“The Unquiet is based on the life of my late mother, Eileen Scanlon, and her contemporaries in Irish society. I include myself in this. The songs are not literal in that they do not reflect specific events in my mother’s life. They do, however, have a resonance and a purpose in reflecting her lived experience and that of modern-era women in Ireland, through my perspective.
“I made the album for my daughter, Kitty, that she may know her grandmother, what she was like, the bright, loving, funny and powerful force of nature that she was, so she will always know what her grandmother and many other Irish women lived through.
“I dedicate these songs to my sisters in arms, to those who suffer and protest, working tirelessly to make Ireland a country that I hope my daughter can enjoy; an equal place, kind, inclusive, free of shame, and liberated from all institutions and instruments of oppression.”
The Unquiet was produced and recorded by John Reynolds at New Air Studios, and features guest vocalists Barry Kerr, Loinnir McAliskey, Bernie Pháid and Damien Dempsey.
Pauline's unique voice, described as 'a superb mix of china cup fragility and steely strength' (Irish Times), comes from an ancient place yet is always fresh. Her music is both Irish and universal, traditional yet subversive at every turn. The ‘steely strength’ comes to the fore in both her activism and her determination to constantly evolve as an artist.
Tickets for her show in the TF Royal Theatre on Thursday can be purchased at www.paulinescanlon.net.