Eileen Coyle


Images  Sonja Smith
Victoria Warwick (Image Michael McGlynn)

I grew up near Lough Sheelin in County Cavan and all I wanted was nature, animals, the sky, fresh air and the music my father played from his tape collection. We’d listen to anything from the Dubliners, to Simon and Garfunkel, The Beatles, The Beach Boys and Johnny Cash. I remember me and my sisters singing all the songs we knew in harmony in bed before we’d go to sleep. We had an old battered piano inside the door and I’d take the front panel off it and play the strings. 

I started singing in the local church choir when I was a tiny child and even then I got a kick out of making up harmonies and singing them over the rest of the choir. I remember the first time I heard Palestrina, standing in the middle of a choir I was thinking of joining. I felt like I could live inside the swirling harmonies forever. 

I hear music in everything, the little birds that become more and more scarce, the rustle of the leaves, the wind blowing through holes in a gate, the dripping of the rain, even the traffic out of my window in Dublin sounding like the distant crashing of waves. 

For me, Anúna is storytelling, an art we’re losing here in Ireland rapidly. It’s really basic communication, honest pouring out of emotion and connecting with other human beings.