A March Adventure

Hello everyone!

Its been a brilliant couple months and I want to share it with you!

I took lots of photos in March from my time playing at the Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival and my 3 weeks in Nashville, TN.

Nashville is starting to feel like a second home 🙂

Here goes..

First up at the start of March was the annual BelNash festival which has been SO good to me the past year.

I played a couple songs at the filming of a TV show called ‘Music City Roots – Belfast to Nashville’ this will be broadcast in Oct 2016 on PBS (into 60 million American homes.. yikes!!)

It was such a lovely night and I also got to hear and talk with the wonderful Jim Lauderdale and Iain Archer. Heres a little photo from the night

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The night after, I launched my debut album ‘The Ebony Trail’ also at the BelNash festival. Such a beautiful night, I was delighted with the launch. I baked cupcakes and the room was full capacity with lots of new faces and also my friends and family. Thank you so much for coming and for all the good wishes. And a special thanks to my friend John for playing double bass on the night..He adds so much darkness to the songs!!

After a couple days to recover I headed off to Nashville with a bunch of Irish songwriters! What a week we had..So much ‘Craic’ (the Irish kind 😉 was had. Everyday we had meetings with industry professionals such as Publishers, Management companies etc and we played some amazing gigs including Music City Irish Fest, Curb Cafe at Belmont Uni, Music City Roots and The Bluebird Cafe. I had the best time and learnt ALOT! Everyone was so talented and each had a totally different style so it was great hearing them play every night and learning from everyone. Thanks once again to The Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Colin and Anne from Panarts for giving us the opportunity.

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At the end of the week everyone headed off home while I stayed on for another couple weeks to get some co-writing in! I wrote so many songs during this time some of which my publishers are very excited about so fingers crossed something good will happen!

I had such a lovely time writing, hanging out with the little kitties (Kosmo and Pipi) I was cat sitting for and meeting up with friends for some great times including some fantastic gigs..Vince Gill and the Time Jumpers and Sam Palladio (‘Gunnar’ from the Nashville TV show).

I just love this place, I meet new friends every time I come and find new amazing things to do!

But for now i’m back home in Ireland where the grass is green and the sky is blue (for a change 🙂 I’ve already organised my return to ‘Music City’ for June. Not long to go..Yay!

I’ll leave you here for now but i’ll be back soon with an update on all things album related including my next single which will be ‘The Ebony Trail’

My shop is now live so you can buy my album here

More very soon

Love Ciara 🙂 xx

 

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New album, new video, new adventure

Helloo

How are you all!?

It’s been a busy time recently as I have just released the first single from my upcoming debut album ‘The Ebony Trail’.

The single is ‘Ghosts’ and here is the animated video for the track created by the wonderful Ashling Lindsay .

It has been getting lots of great feedback all over the radio-waves with airplay in Ireland both North and South and even on London’s BBC Radio 6 Music on the Tom Robinson Mixtape. It was also chosen as a ‘Fresh Fave’ on ‘Fresh on the net’ last week picked out of around 150 songs.

Support like this makes all the sleepless nights, hours of computer work and hours of recording and writing all worthwhile. It’s a tough business this music malarkey..but I can’t imagine not doing it!

This week is the Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival  and I will be playing two gigs. One on Friday night which is in the Empire Music Hall and is a live recording of a TV show called Music City Roots. The show will be broadcast into 60 million US homes in October 2016 on the American channel PBS. No pressure!!

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On Saturday i’ll be launching my album 😀

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Delighted to be launching it at The Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival as these guys have been big supporters of mine and have given me some great opportunities including…another trip to Nashville!!

Yes i’ll be heading back to ‘Music City’ on the 11th March for another huge adventure including lots of industry meetings and amazing gigs including The Bluebird Cafe, Music City Roots and Music City Irish Fest. So excited and grateful to BelNash and The Arts Council of Northern Ireland for this amazing opportunity.

All ticket info for the upcoming gigs including my album launch on Sat 5th March is on the gigs page here

* Update – Tickets will be available at the door for the album launch £6, Sat 5th March, doors are 6.30pm, show is 7pm sharp *

See you soon

Love Ciara xx

acni

The adventure continues…

Hello there,

Hope everyone is having a brilliant lead up to Christmas!!

Can’t believe this year is coming to an end..and what a year it has been!

I’ve just returned from Nashville and I have so many photos and news to share with you all..so here goes…

Just before I left for Nashville I got word that I received the ACES award (Artist Career Enhancement) from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland (ACNI). So grateful for this! And the perfect send off before heading off on my American adventure.

This award means so much as the support will really help further my career and allow me to release my album, make music videos, return to Nashville in 2016 and much more!

Thank you ACNI 🙂

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Soo I left Ireland with a big smile on my face and arrived in Nashville tired but very happy.

Here was my little home for the next month

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After sleeping off my Jet Lag I tuned the guitar up and got to work!

I even had this little lady bird helping me with lyrics

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It was a busy month!

Lots of meetings with publishers, Co-writes and shows including THE BLUEBIRD CAFE!!!

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Thanks to Janice Stefl for the photos 🙂

This was the most special night. The Bluebird cafe is everything people say and more. The audience were lovely and the other songwriters in the round were insanely talented! Loved every moment! Thank you Eleven Eleven Music Group for having me 🙂

Other gigs included another fun Eleven Eleven night in Douglas Corner Cafe.

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A house concert

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and Hotel Indigo

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Ahhh they were all great, thanks to all the friends, new and old, I met along the way.

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Lots of co-writing and demo’s were recorded during my time in Nashville and you will be hearing the results of these sessions soon… 😉

I had such a fun, busy, productive time and some of my songs have already been pitched to American artists and American TV/Film, very exciting! Watch this space!

I learnt so much and have arrived home inspired and ready to write and organise my next trip to Nashville. It is a beautiful city, with amazing people and incredible talent. How could you not be inspired?!

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When I arrived home my local newspaper The Portadown Times included a lovely article about my trip, the ACES award and whats coming next..

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So what is next?!

Finish Christmas Shopping!!! EEkk

Seriously though there are lots of fun, exciting things coming up next year including another trip to Nashville and the launch of my debut album at the Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival. This festival has supported and helped me out so much. Make sure to get tickets for next year 2nd-6th March!!

So please stick around for the next stage of this crazy journey with me!!

I’ll leave you with my favourite things this month:

  • Christmas!! Lots of food, presents, family time, watching Home Alone for the hundredth time..whats not to love!
  • The Martian – I’ve just finished this book and I LOVED it!! Am dying to see the film now.
  • Glen Hansard – What a legend this man is. I’ve been a fan for years and I was at his Belfast show last weekend. He just keeps getting better and better!!
  • Chocolate Chip shortbread and tea…Yummm!!
  • Yankee Candles..I am such a candle freak..In Nashville I bought loads to make my room feel more like home. The ‘fireside’ scent is the best!

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and peaceful New Year.

Lots of love and thanks for all the support!

Ciara 🙂 xx

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The Bluebird and beyond…

Helloooo!!

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Its October!!! How did that happen?! Hope everyone is keeping well and had a lovely summer. Been a while since I updated this blog so here goes…

In just over a week i’m heading back to Nashville 😀

This time i’ll be staying for a whole month..I have some amazing co-writes and shows lined up including The legendary Bluebird Cafe on Nov 18th and Douglas Corner on Nov 11th.

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I’m so excited about these opportunities and absolutely love Nashville so I can’t wait to get back over. There isn’t a music industry in Northern Ireland so in order to get my music heard elsewhere it’s important to take a leap and go. It’s not easy going off on your own to a new place without really knowing anybody, but I definitely recommend it. The magic in life lies outside your comfort zone! So go for it!!!

I’m also going to be in America for my very first Thanksgiving!! I’m heading to Baton Rouge in Louisiana to spend it with my family there..Can’t wait!

Since my last post i’ve played some lovely gigs

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Via Chordblossom
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Dublin Circle Sessions

And this coming Saturday..Halloween night i’m playing my first show in Ballymena for The Braid Real Music Club. Can’t wait to play this show as i’ll be playing a bunch of new songs. Go to the link above for tickets!

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I’ve also been back in the studio at Millbank (a great wee independent studio in Lisburn) recording some instrumentals for some publishing work. I’ll hopefully be able to tell you more about that soon 🙂

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Apart from that its been writing writing writing! I love the studio and can’t wait to bring my new songs in and let you all hear what i’ve been working on!

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I’ll finish this off with a few of my favourite things at the moment:

  1. The Autumn!! This is my favourite season..the colours, the crunchy leaves, wrapping up in a big comfy scarf, hot chocolate, candles burning..Bliss!
  2. The Magic by Rhonda Byrne, this book focuses on gratitude and not taking your life for granted. Might not be everyones cup of tea but i’m really enjoying it.
  3. Burning House by CAM. I’ve just recently heard of this Nashville based artist and I love her voice and songwriting. This song is beautiful.
  4. Tunesmith-Inside the Art of Songwriting by Jimmy Webb..This is a great book about songwriting that someone recommended to me. Its an interesting read if your a songwriter!
  5. Frank. I finally got round to watching this movie the other day..Its about a musician who joins a pop band fronted by an eccentric guy wearing a giant fake head. It sounds really weird but its great! Check it out!

So that’s all for now folks..If you want to keep up to date, subscribe above and join me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram! The next post will probably be from Nashville. See ya’ll on the other side! 🙂 xx

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Summer happenings!

Hello there

Well its been exactly a month since I returned from ‘Music City’ Nashville! Its hard to believe..feels so much longer than that!

Things have been quiet on the music front recently as I have been battening down the hatches and working on new songs, having trips to the sea (and Morocco) and hanging out with my wee nephews!

I’ll be returning to Nashville in November to work with some more songwriters (I’m really enjoying the co-writing) and also to explore some publishing opportunities which is really exciting. Watch this space for more news on that.

Check out the gig section for news of my summer gigs! Some fun stuff coming up so be sure to say Hi if you see me about!

I’ll leave you for now with a little list of my favourite things at the moment! Here goes!

1. The curious incident of the dog in the night-time- Amazing book, great for a summer read!

2. Amy- Documentary exploring the life of Amy Winehouse. So moving and boy what a talent!

3. Instagram!! I’ve finally created my own account and I love it..check it out over here ->

4. Summer Smoothies! I’m addicted to them but they’re healthy so its all good! 🙂

5. Music- SOAK and Marika Hackman are on constant repeat in the car!

See ya’s later

Don’t forget to sign up to the mailing list!

Ciara 🙂 xx

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Here is a little pic from my Sofar gig in Nashville! So much fun playing here and hanging out with the other bands!

 

My USA adventure continues…

Hi again

What a crazy few weeks it has been!

A few weeks ago I visited Asheville in North Carolina. Such a beautiful town..I met this dog in a book store.

Guardian of the books
Guardian of the books

Even the McDonalds in Asheville is pretty..

Pretty McD's
Pretty McD’s

I visited the Lake Eden Arts Festival surrounded by the beautiful black mountains in North Carolina. Lots of incredible world music. African Drumming, African dancing..it was very cool! I LOVE hearing music from around the world and seeing their unusual instruments..like this guy..how cool is this instrument?! He played it amazingly well!

African music

African Dancing :)
African Dancing 🙂
L.E.A.F Festival
L.E.A.F Festival
Beautiful Lake Eden
Beautiful Lake Eden

Next stop after North Carolina was the deep deep south…Louisiana!!

I have cousins in Baton Rouge and couldn’t wait to take a trip down south to visit them!

I wanted to get the true american experience so I took the Greyhound bus from Nashville..a total journey of 14 hrs! I had romantic songwriter notions that I’d get some real juicy stories for new material..lets just say it was interesting…

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The first stop was Memphis.. the cops got on the bus..told us to get off and line our bags up outside. Their sniffer dogs proceeded to check us for drugs. True american experience indeed..I had visions of ‘Breaking Bad’ going through my head lol

Anyway I got to Louisiana safe and sound with my mental and physical health intact! HA!

I had the best weekend hanging out with my family, going to my cousins high school graduation and watching hilarious Irish films..anyone seen ‘An everlasting piece’ with Billy Connolly..SO funny!

High school Graduation!!
High school Graduation!!
Guinness the coolest dog!
Guinness the dog!
I sang some songs!
I sang some songs!
'Theeeyyy back' what the heck are chicken fries??
‘Theeeyyy back’ what the heck are chicken fries??

So my time in Baton Rouge came to an end much too soon and I headed back to Nashville…on the PLANE! One greyhound journey was enough thank you very much! 😉

Southwest airlines! Love their logo..
Southwest airlines! Love their logo..

Back in Nashville my new friend Leslie and I went Kayaking a couple times on Lake Priest very close to where i’m staying in Nashville! I’ve never been Kayaking before but LOVED it. I’m a convert!

Beautiful sunset over Lake Priest
Beautiful sunset over Lake Priest

And then I played a really cool gig in East Nashville called Sofar Sounds (Songs from a room).

These secret gigs started in London in 2009 and have quickly taken over the world with gigs in over 80 cities around the world. Join their mailing list and you’ll get dates of the upcoming shows in your nearest Sofar city. On the day of the gig you’ll get the address. All you do is turn up and prepare to be surprised..the line up isn’t revealed until the night of the gig and the venue changes for every show.

I love this concept and it was truly the best gig i’ve played here in Nashville.

Thank you Sofar Nashville!! 🙂

Sofar Nashville

Sofar

Looking happy at Sofar Nashville
Looking happy at Sofar Nashville
Hound Dog Commons was the venue
Hound Dog Commons was the venue

So that’s me up to date! My time in Nashville is coming to an end but I have some veryy exciting news i’ll save for another post..once everything is signed, sealed and delivered! I will say though.. it looks like i’ll be coming back to ‘Music City’ in November! 😀

Next week my adventure continues in New York City! Woohoo 🙂

Love Ciara xx

Two random happy strangers saying bye! :)
Two random happy strangers!

New Video!

Hiya

Last week I played a house concert in East Nashville which was filmed!

The first video courtesy of Will at Americana Station is my acapella version of ‘She Moved Through the Fair’.

This is my favourite Irish folk ballad and I LOVE singing it! I literally forget where I am when I sing this song..

Here it is, i’m using the frame drum as it adds so much resonance to the voice hence you can’t see my face for most of the song! Haha!

Hope you enjoy!

Just back from North Carolina and heading to Louisiana tomorrow so i’ll check back in soon with more Pics!

Love Ciara xx

Hello from Nashville :)

Well hello there!

Its been a month since I set off for the sights and sounds of ‘Music City’ and what a month it has been!

I came to Nashville to move away from my comfort zone, experience new things and get inspired to write new songs and it is definitely working! It is a beautiful city and the people here are truly what make it such a great city. I’ve been welcomed with open arms everywhere I go.

Since day one i’ve felt really at home here..honestly. I don’t feel thousands of miles from home (until I try to find Irish butter and tea..lol) and that makes for a good trip anywhere.

I’ve experienced a massive range of music from Bluegrass, Country, Folk, Gospel and even some African and Hawaiian sounds! Getting lots of ideas for my next record!

Of course no trip to Nashville is complete without a visit to the Country Music Hall of Fame. Having a look at historic memorabilia from Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Elvis etc! I even got to visit the studio where Elvis recorded ‘Are you lonesome tonight’. That was pretty special..the room had some serious creative energy seeped into the walls and floors.

I went to a show at the infamous bluebird cafe..very cool moment indeed. Don Henry and Beth Nielson Chapman both played amazing sets.

I played my song ‘Ghosts’ for Balcony TV Nashville which should be online soon (i’ll post a link) and have also been introduced to a very cool instrument called a ‘Frame Drum’. Basically it’s like a Bodhran but used to amplify the voice. I love singing acapella during my live performances so this will be a great thing to experiment with live.

Other noteworthy moments were Bluegrass Underground in McMinnville, the downtown Honky Tonk bars, Songwriting circles and house concerts in East Nashville (the cool hip area), bonfire s’mores with new friends, frame drum workshops, a Tornado warning :-o, a beautiful theatre show about female empowerment ‘Act like a Grrrl‘ and a trip to Lawrenceberg (about 2 hours from Nashville) for a ‘Crawfish Party’ (veryyy messy but fun).

I’ve also discovered two new artists who i’m obsessed with at the moment Trevor Hall and Nahko and Medicine for the People. Seriously check these two out!

I’ve decided to stay in Nashville until June as i’m having way too much fun and have some pretty exciting co-writes and shows lined up.

So i’ll leave ya’ll with some photos and will check in again soon! Make sure you sign up to the mailing list by clicking the photo on the upper right corner 😉

Love Ciara xx

Room with a view :)
Room with a view 🙂
Songwriting with Galaxy chocolate and Nambarrie tea..you can take the girl outta Ireland ;-)
Songwriting with Galaxy chocolate and Nambarrie tea..you can take the girl outta Ireland 😉
Tornado warning last week..kept thinking of that movie 'Twister' :-O
Tornado warning last week..kept thinking of that movie ‘Twister’ 😮
Its been raining ALOT!
Its been raining ALOT!
Honky Tonks!
Honky Tonks!
Cowboy boots everywhere I go!
Cowboy boots everywhere I go!
The Bluebird!! :)
The Bluebird!! 🙂
Gig in a cave, McMinnville
Gig in a cave, McMinnville

Leaving on a Jet plane!!

Hi there

So this time tomorrow I will be high in the sky over the Atlantic on my way to Nashville!!

Its been a great month, a couple weeks ago I played the Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival. Definitely the highlight of my year so far.

I supported the brilliant Peter McVeigh on his album launch and the next day I sang on the same stage as Max T Barnes, a really talented award winning singer songwriter from Nashville. It was such an honour.

Ciara BelNash

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(Photos by Nurse Ratched)

I met so many great interesting people including Erika Wollam Nichols who is the manager and COO of the infamous Bluebird Cafe and Don Henry, a Grammy award winning songwriter. Don and I have even arranged to do some co-writing when I get to Nashville.

I also met a radio DJ and promotor from the Netherlands and am making plans to do a tour there in the summer!

I think its natural for every performer to go through moments when their confidence isn’t at it’s highest and i’ve definitely felt that at times. The festival was enough to give me that little boost of confidence, so i’m going to Nashville with lots of energy and positivity. Big thanks to Colin and Anne who organise BelNash for giving me the opportunity to showcase my wee songs.

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” (Confucius)

I’ll see ya’ll in Nashville! 😉

Ciara xx

Heres a little video for my song ‘Primroses’, filmed in Japan 2011.

Belfast Nashville

Hello

Tomorrow night (Sat 7th March) i’ll be performing with Peter McVeigh at the annual Belfast Nashville Songwriters festival. Peter and I co-wrote a track called Song for Winter which is just beautiful so i’ll be performing this song with him as well as supporting him with my own set at about 9.30pm, Holiday Inn, Belfast. Get tickets here or £5 on the door. This will be my last gig in Ireland for a while as i’m going on a songwriting adventure in North America in a few weeks time! 🙂

See you there!

Ciara xx

Here is the video for ‘Song for Winter’