January 6, 2013
Nuala grew up in Dundalk, Co. Louth, on the East coast of Ireland; a musical area which is steeped in mythology and has long historical links with Scotland. She started to play traditional music at the age of seven when her father introduced her to her first whistle teacher. Nuala instantly fell in love with the music and started learning traditional tunes as quickly as she could. By the age of twelve she graduated to wooden flute and became a member of a local ceilidh band 'Ceoltoiri Oga Oghrialla'. The band, comprising several now highly respected traditional musicians, won the all Ireland Gradam award for the under twenty-one age group when Nuala was just thirteen. ˜I never dreamed when I started playing in that very social and visceral way, that something that was such an organic part of my childhood would lead to a career in music. All I knew was that I loved the music and I wanted to play all the time. She also began lessons in classical piano, and at fifteen was accepted to study with the renowned professor John O'Connor at the Royal
Academy of Music in Dublin.
At the age of eighteen, Nuala moved to Scotland to study at Edinburgh College Of Art. She was immediately captivated by the vital traditional music session scene, and there made many friends, including fellow Irish expatriate Cathal McConnell, whose music has had a huge influence on her, and who has become something of a mentor to her over the years. It was in Edinburgh that Nualas passion for traditional music was further strengthened and where she honed her instrumental skills. The result was a comprehensive repertoire of Scottish tunes, as well as Irish, and led to the formation of her first real band, the trio Fine Friday, alongside guitarist Kris Drever and fiddler Anna Wendy Stevenson. The trio toured widely in Europe, Canada and Australia, before disbanding in 2006, and released two critically acclaimed albums; Gone Dancing and Mowing the Machair.
Amongst others she has performed and recorded with American hipster and indie-poet Will Oldham, an album which received 5 stars from MOJO magazine, and cutting-edge Canadian composer Oliver Schroer, with whom she recorded ˜Enthralled a duo album of entirely original compositions to be released in January 2012 on Borealis Records. She occasionally performs with ECMA award winners Troy MacGillivray, Kimberley Fraser and Andrea Beaton. Nuala is also part of the traditional Irish group OIRIALLA performing the music and song of her native South-East Ulster, which features Irish traditional music legends Gerry ˜fiddle OConnor, accordionist Martin Quinn and the acclaimed Breton guitarist Gilles le Bigot.
Nuala decided to continue her interest in education and further her knowledge of the tradition by undertaking a Masters Degree in Music Performance and Composition, which she completed with distinction from Newcastle University in 2011. The result of this was an even deeper understanding of, and commitment to traditional music, which is evident in the powerful and passionate performances she currently gives, wherever she is on tour.
Celtic Radio Comments:
Nuala Kennedy is a talented musician from Ireland who will win your heart over with her beautiful vocals and talented instrumentals. Her album "Noble Stranger" is pure perfection with a wonderful selection of tracks that make this a must have CD for your Celtic music collection. Most of all, you will love her angelic voice that earns Nuala a 5 star review from Celtic Radio!