The soulful Irish singer won an international following through her 1990s work with Solas and 2006 saw her featured on the band's Reunion CD. She has released several solo albums and says of her widely praised Ships in the Forest on Compass Records, "I think it has taken me all my years as a singer to come to the point of feeling confident enough to tackle the big songs within the traditional repertoire.” A new album with former Solas colleague John Doyle is due for release soon. Here are 20 Questions for...Karan Casey.
1. Earliest music memory?
Singing "Cross your heart say I love you” on the sitting room table.
2. First instrument?
3. Favorite albums in your collection? Do you have a top ten?
No top ten as depends on mood but these days:
Karen Matheson - Downriver
Iarla O Lionaird –Invisible Fields
Mairtin O Connor – The Road West
Joni Mitchell – Mingus
Ella Fiztgerald – Cole Porter Songbook
Sarah Vaughan – Any of them
Nina Simone - Four Women
Eliza Gilkyson - Paradise Hotel
Miles Davis- Sketches of Spain
Dick Gaughan – Handful of Earth
I also listen to Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton, Liz Carroll, Frank Harte, Aine O Ceallaigh, Anouar Brahem, Niall Vallely, Caoimhín Vallely, Andy Irvine, Billy Holiday, Jill Scott, Bobby McFerrin, Bill Frisell, Aoife O Donovan and Kevin Burke.
4. Apart from your own shows, do you attend live gigs? Where?
Yes, but not enough. Mostly in Cork but sometimes travel to Dublin.
5. Major live music experience (artist, venue, whatever)?
Bobby McFerrin at the National Concert Hall in Dublin 26th May 2008.
6. Musical hero you’d most like to meet?
7. Emerging artist(s) to grab your attention lately?
Mick Flannery and Aoife O’Donovan
8. Surprise us – other music genres you're drawn to?
Well going on top albums obviously I listen to a lot of jazz and American music.
9. And those you avoid?
Balkan brass bands
10. Guilty musical pleasures?
Duffy, Amy Winehouse and my daughter’s “Now That’s What I Call Music 65” which I am exposed to endlessly!
11. Album title you wish you’d thought of first?
12. Best way to discover new music?
My eight year old daughter Muireann and Niall Vallely’s iPod.
13. Do you watch music DVDs?
No, not really. But I did get Ella Fitzgerald’s one and the Joni Mitchell one, and I loved them.
14. Your perfect music listening experience would involve:
Going to a live gig.
15. Your all-time any-genre dream band line-up would include:
Bill Frisell and Aoife O'Donovan, Ewan Vernal, Herbie Hancock and Guy Barker.
15. Your music: are you currently working on something in the studio?
Well, I am trying to take a break but I am looking for songs for an album with John Doyle.
16. Your shows: upcoming gig/festival you’re most excited about?
Gig in Limerick with Donal Lunny, Mairtin O Connor and Iarla o Lionaird in St Mary’s Cathedral.
17. Your shows: all-time favorite festival/performance?
Gig with Garrison Keillor on A Prairie Home Companion at Hollywood Bowl.
18. What might you be doing today if you hadn’t become a musician?
God only knows!
20. At the gates of heaven they will be playing: