Emerging artists of the Irish folk sort have been making waves across these pages with distinctive takes on the traditional form. With mystical melodies and ethereal vocals, Dublin’s Fiona O’Connell transcends genre with her sweet, yet melancholic sound. A rising star in the indie folk scene, she has been in the habit of weaving delicate blends for the last decade. Combining traditional influences with electronic, pop and ambient measures, O’Connell is forging a path of her own.
Her debut single ‘Easily’ assumed a breezy ebb and flow of nostalgia, with haunting vocals, a gentle guitar melody and resonant percussion creating a sound reminiscent of her influences. “Adrianne Lenker and Joshua Burnside are such compelling and detail-oriented songwriters,” she says. “I love that they’re firmly rooted in folk whilst incorporating elements and textures from other genres to create their own sound.” Refusing to be confined, O’Connell’s arrangements encompass a subtle span of melodic accents to create a finespun yet textured listening experience.
Crediting Music Generation Limerick for aiding a rebellion against her shyness, O’Connell made her live performance debut at Limerick Voices. “It was a space to meet like-minded people, talk and be creative,” she tells me. “There wasn’t much structure. We were given a lot of freedom and autonomy.” Off the back of that, she cut her teeth performing her own original material at showcase gigs in various venues around Limerick city like Dolans and the Belltable.
O’Connell’s slow and steady approach to her rise is reflected in her output to date. Gaining traction in the live scene across Limerick, Cork, Claire and Dublin, she is taking things one step at a time, all while refining her craft and firmly finding her feet. Following the success of ‘Easily’, new single ‘In the End’ was be released into the ether before year-end via A for Effort Records. Watch this space. Ciara Byrne
Photo by Celeste Burdon