Inspired by her travels around the world, Omagh singer/songwriter Sinead Coll has returned home with a catalogue of new music to share with the local audience.
Most recently Sinead performed at the Bluegrass Festival at the Folk Park, while those with longer memories may recall her singing with the Drumragh Church Choir or at the annual Feis as a pupil of both the Loreto primary and grammar schools.
Having lived in Australia for three years teaching English as a foreign language, Sinead used the Brisbane floods in 2011 as inspiration for a song.
She also lived in Korea for a while and then went to Cambodia to visit the killing fields and the prison in Phnom Penh. From this experience Sinead has just finished writing about the Cambodian Genocide in the 1970s.
Sinead has also taken inspiration from closer to home.
She explained, “The songs are written about a lot of different things. Some based on personal experiences or what I have seen friends go through. They say if you know a songwriter or a poet no-one is safe. You use everything and anything for inspiration for a song.
“The single I am currently recording – ‘Donegal’ – is inspired by Irish traditional and folk. My mum is from there and is very sentimental about it, so that inspired me. The B-side – ‘Small Town Summer Sunset’ – is about life in Omagh. Again this is a folky sound.
“But I also have songs that are more rock, which I plan to put together for an EP later in the year, but I probably already have enough material for an album or even two.
“The songs definitely have a bit of a variety. There are some songs my mum and aunties love, while there are others my friends would prefer. I want the music to appeal to a broad range of people because I like to try different genres and styles based on the kind of music I like to listen to.”
A teacher by day, the 35-year-old comes from a family steeped in music and the arts.
She said, “My whole family are very musical and I would have been singing from a very early age. People tend to pick up on the surname. My uncle Brian would have been around a lot when I was a kid so I have always been immersed in music.
“I sang in the Drumragh Church choir with a couple of my aunties. The late writer and broadcaster Benedict Kiely was my great-uncle so because there was somebody in the family who was a writer, it made it seem achievable as a career for me.”
Living in Belfast, Sinead, with the support of her band, has had some notable gigs in recent months at the Belnash Festival and the Lagan Sessions. In musical theatre she also recently performed at the Grand Opera House in ‘A Christmas Carol.’
Her last performance in Omagh was at the Bluegrass Festival, which was the first and only time she performed her own songs in Omagh.
Until now that is.
Sinead will have an acoustic performance on May 10 in the Strule Arts Centre, when she will be providing support to fellow Omagh singer/songwriter Chrisy McCullagh and The Secret Animals.
Before then listen to Sinead’s music on soundcloud.com/sinead-coll or you can view live performances on YouTube (on the Sinead Coll Music channel) or on her official Facebook page.