Praise for ‘Arrow’ (2018)
‘Your new favourite, beautiful album.. 9/10’ Americana UK
‘timeless, noirish and understated folk’ Dancing About Architecture
‘Ciara and her songs carry everything with such conviction, it makes her almost transparent.’ Folk Radio UK
‘A must listen for folk fans’ Hotpress Magazine
Praise for ‘Le Soleil’ July 2021
‘Le Soleil has a true shimmery summery sixties feel to it with vocals as crystal clear as ice’ Americana UK
‘A sonic tonic driven by beatle-esque drums and Ciara’s unmistakeable croon’ The Sunday Life
‘Emotion, a great voice and a story that’s well told’ Stuart Bailie – The Belfast Telegraph
“Don’t avoid change there are so many roads..even the seasons will turn green to gold” La Lune
The last six plus years have been quite the journey for Belfast based songsmith Ciara O’Neill. Initially starting out life as a bedroom project writing songs to help her through a difficult time she quickly realised she had tapped into something special, these tunes led her down a path to creating her debut album ‘The Ebony Trail,’ (2016) notching up praise from BBC 6 Music’s Tom Robinson, Hot Press magazine and more along the way.
But it wasn’t just the press that sat up and took notice of her haunting folk songs; music lovers and industry folk from across the globe also saw her star ascending. From 2015-2017 she found herself living in a proverbial suitcase flitting back and forth to her spiritual home of Nashville after receiving publishing interest thanks to a chance meeting at the Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival. It was there she sowed the seeds of what was to become her second album ‘Arrow’ (2018) produced by Michael Mormecha [Malojian, Ciaran Lavery].
Just as Ciara was starting to think about her third album, the world locked down due to the global Covid 19 pandemic and she found herself on the frontline due to her long time career in the NHS. During this challenging time she found comfort once again in her guitar and began creating an EP ‘La Lune’ based thematically on the sun, moon and stars with a french twist.
Speaking on the creation of this new project Ciara says “the pandemic has been so hard for everyone and personally I found a lot of solace in being with nature whenever I could. I’ve always had a real fascination with the vast expanse of space and likewise the sea so it was a natural progression to write songs based on this theme with numerous mentions of changing tides and seasons bringing comforting thoughts of new hope for the world.”
Teaming up with Mormecha once again at his newly established Tree Song Studios, the new 4 track EP is a stunning and assured successor to ‘Arrow’ showcasing an artist at the peak of her poetic powers. First single ‘Le Soleil’ is a bright summer anthem allowing the listener to jump into the unknown as ‘to know joy you have to know fear’, second song and title track ‘La Lune’ gives the world some life advice urging you to not ‘close your eyes on a fight’, third song ‘L’Etoile’ is a haunting folk song about having your world turned upside down but deciding to make ‘courage my fuel’ and finally a stunning acapella rendition of ‘Fly Me to the Moon’ showcasing Ciara’s stunning voice which she is so well known for. ‘La Lune’ is sure to appeal to music lovers across the board and by fans of other Irish artists including Lisa Hannigan and Saint Sister.
In addition to writing solo, Ciara is also a keen collaborator and has worked with many world class songwriters and artists over the past few years including Gary Burr [Christina Aguilera, LeAnn Rimes], Grammy winner Don Henry [Ray Charles, Miranda Lambert] and Grammy nominated Drew Ramsey [John Legend, India Arie] as well as Northern Irelands finest Ryan McMullan and Gareth Dunlop.
On the live front, Ciara has lots of highlights too, most notably playing in front of a TV audience of 60 million in the States alongside Grammy nominees Iain Archer and Jim Lauderdale as part of the ‘Music City Roots, Belfast To Nashville’ programme. She has also showcased her music at the 2018 Folk Alliance International conference in Kansas City, Missouri and was invited to represent Northern Ireland in Brussels at the NI Executive office for culture night. Her performances at the iconic Nashville venue the Bluebird Cafe also rank high among her ever growing list of achievements.
During the pandemic Ciara has still managed to perform for some special socially distanced projects including Distant Sky, a collaboration with Tourism Ireland and True North where she can be seen performing in the iconic Titanic Pumphouse in the Belfast Docks.
Praise for debut album ‘The Ebony Trail’ (2016)
“A stunning slice of dark indie folk,” Hot Press magazine
“O’Neill is undoubtedly a singer of quality, and a lyricist adept at creating vivid, emotional frail imagery,” Chordblossom.com