START SPREADING THE NEWS ... Singer-songwriter Ann Callaghan leaves for New York tomorrow (Wednesday) for a four night tour. Pic: Alison Laredo
The reach of social media has led to a Mulranny native being invited to take part in a prestigious US tour.
Singer-songwriter Ann Callaghan flies out to New York tomorrow (Wednesday) with her partner Gary Wynne to take part in a concert as part of the build up to the 50th anniversary of the famous Woodstock festival.
She will perform with an ensemble who have worked with some of the biggest stars in music. Gary Burke was a drummer with Bob Dylan and John Platonia was a guitarist with Van Morrison, to name but two of the big names she will be on stage with.
And it all came about after Callaghan uploaded some of her work onto Facebook. Her stage name is CallyAnna and after she launched her first album, Lost at Sea, last February, she put some of it on Facebook.
That led to music man Tom Parker in New York getting in touch and asking her to send on her CD. Liking what he heard, he got in touch with promoter Fred Gage who is organising the Woodstock Revue Concert in Candor, New York on Saturday next.
Ann, who lives in Breaffy, Castlebar, takes up the story.
“Tom got back to me then and told me then that Fred Gage had got back on and that he absolutely loved the music and wanted me to come out,” Ann told The Mayo News.
Although she is performing with some big names, Ann says she is more excited than daunted by the prospect of travelling to the US to perform at the concert. “Fred Gage said to me he wouldn’t have invited me if he didn’t think I was any good or if my songs would not fit in. He said he’s had a good listen and thinks the songs are very good.
“What he says is very encouraging and I’m very excited. I will be a little bit starstruck at the start but there will be a chance to mingle before hand with all the people I’m performing with and I am just really excited.
“If I had to swim over in June with the guitar on my back I would have. It is a great thing for me to be able to experience,” she said.
Callaghan said the organisers are bringing together a mixture of legends who performed in Woodstock in 1969 and some newer talent to perform at the concert, a year ahead of the 50th anniversary of the storied festival.
She will perform three of her own songs and then will go back on to sing with a stageful of stars.
In all Callaghan and Wynne, the well-known Castlebar keyboard player, will perform for four nights in New York, from Thursday until Sunday in Cazenovia, Candor and Jamesville, all in New York state.
On Monday next they will record an EP at Subcat Studios in Syracuse. When they arrive they will appear on a local Fox News station in Syracuse, New York and Callaghan ‘can’t wait for the trip’.
In the beginning
It was almost by chance that Ann Callaghan got into songwriting. The mother of four was performing in the choir in Breaffy at a funeral and sang a farewell song which someone observed needed a more modern form.
She picked up a guitar belonging to one of her sons and found the lyrics were there in her mind and she called it ‘You Have Called’. Since then she has written 70 songs and released her first album last summer. She says she gets her inspiration from everywhere.
“Someone might say something to me and it would trigger something. Sometimes I would wake in the middle of the night and lyrics would come to me. I keep my phone nearby with a recording app or I scribble them in a notebook I keep in my handbag. If I don’t get the lyrics down, it can go out of my head.
“I don’t sit down to try to write. Inspiration tends to come to me. There’s so much inspiration out there you wouldn’t believe,” she said.
Her love of music was fostered in Mulranny. Her parents Danny and Mary live on the Golf Links Road in the picturesque village and Ann was drawn to music at a young age.
“I started off with music in school in Mulranny. There was always a tradition of music in Mulranny so when you were young you were either put singing, or playing an instrument, or both, whether you liked it or not! Everyone did it and I loved it.”
She credits Tom Parker with putting her in touch with Irish producer PJ Curtis from Clare, who she describes as ‘a great mentor’ and has big hopes for the future. She describes her music as ‘multi genre with a bit of folk, ballad, soft rock, blues and country’.
She enjoys performing in Breaffy House Hotel nearby and while she said she loves performing her music, she hopes to record more and more of her own work in the future.