First Time Recording Star At The Age Of 73

First Time Recording Star At The Age Of 73

Sprightly 73-year-old Kathleen Tracey from the Waterside had never recorded a song in her life but was determined to leave something for her children to remember her by. So with some trepidation, Kathleen ventured into Audiobooth at Nerve Centre, which has been offering free recording sessions to the public throughout the City of Culture year as part of its Resonate project.
 
In just two takes and without a backing track, Kathleen, who has had no formal music training, nailed a poignant version of 'Noreen Bawn', a song originally written around 1910 by Donegal poet Neil McBride, and popularised by performers such as Bridie Gallagher and Daniel O’Donnell.
 
Katheen said: 'I used to say to my kids that I'd love to leave them a tape so they could play it and I'll always be there. I read about the Nerve Centre’s project in the paper and thought I'll head over. I mightn't be on Top of the Pops but I've nothing to lose.'
 

Lyrics are the most important element of a song for Kathleen and she chose ‘Noreen Bawn’ because of the moving story it tells about a young Irish woman emigrating from home.

‘You understand every word that comes from those types of old songs,' she said, 'If you actually listen to them they really get to you.’
 
Noirin McKinney, director of Arts Development at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said: ‘Resonate is one of many fantastic projects we have funded as part of the UK City of Culture 2013. This particular project offers a great opportunity for established and first time musicians and singers to record their work and receive some exposure online. We are thrilled that every age group, from young to old, is taking part.’
 
Oran O’Carroll, owner and audio engineer at the Audiobooth studio, recorded 22 songs by 12 members of the public at the free recording session during Music City! in June.
 
Oran said: ‘The age range was very wide, from 16 to 73,’ he said. ‘Styles rangedfrom singer songwriters to harpists to gospel singers, all arts and parts. The standard was excellent, everyone had a serious talent. Kathleen was the last act in. After 12 hours of recording, I wondered what she would be like. It was a pleasant surprise, a real Susan Boyle moment.’
 
As well as free recording sessions for the public, Resonate is also working closely with many of the city’s music festivals, documenting highlight events during City of Culture and facilitating a number of exciting creative collaborations.
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