Ailie Blunnie

Songwriter :: Singer :: Musician

Dublin vs Donegal RTE Sport Opener

Posted by on Aug 6, 2018

Here’s a quick link to a new arrangement of the ‘Rocky Road to Dublin’ that myself and Daragh Dukes made, which was used in this RTE Sport Super 8s taster video recently: Old Ballad, New Verse – It's @DubGAAOfficial v @officialdonegal – live on @RTE2 from 6.30pm #rtegaa #Super8s pic.twitter.com/EoR2rOTZW8 — RTÉ Sport (@RTEsport) July 14,...

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How do you define success?

Posted by on Mar 23, 2018

[This piece was originally published in Hot Press Magazine on Wed 7th February] I’m going to jump right in and suggest that most musicians who self-release music these days experience the process as a mixed blessing: there’s a lot of freedom, as well as a lot of limitations. I’m at a stage where I release a good standard of music, but not at the stage where I’ve used a PR service, or have a manager or booking agent, or anything like that. I’m somewhere in between. My day-to-day schedule is a mixture of music, English-teaching, and college (psychology/psychotherapy).   The best part of self-releasing, for me—aside from the freedom element—is the hands-on industry experience you get. This includes everything from copyrighting songs, to negotiating door-splits, to buying barcodes. I like the idea of creativity being the joining-together of old ideas in new and relevant ways. I think it’s important to try and dip your toes into all of these various pools of knowledge to create space for those sparks to ignite. That being said, the practical and financial considerations of releasing music independently are a worry. Then you have the emotional stuff of managing expectations, and trying generally not to go mad in the process! For me, success is defined by the intrinsic reward of writing songs that I’m happy with artistically, and painting them onto a canvas of imaginative sound worlds (in collaboration with producer, Daragh Dukes, in the case of my latest release). Quiet, focused work, crafting and chiselling away at the emotional and sonic landscapes I’m trying to create: in a sense, luxuriating in the solitary world of musical introversion. After the release, you’re into the great unknown of the post-release limbo, and this has been the biggest challenge, in my experience. The quiet, focused work takes a back seat, and the expectation is to push yourself publicly, visibly, frequently, across multiple platforms, to optimise exposure. The self-releasers have to find the energy and confidence to push through with renewed vigour, especially if they have opted to go without additional PR support. Tough going. The trouble for me, in this regard, has been staying focused while navigating the various forces influencing perceptions of my work. Unlike the earlier stages, it’s hard to find a yardstick for post-release success. Airplay? Reviews? Interviews? Gigs? Venues? Audience numbers? Streams? Followers? Money? What’s more, it’s probably not particularly fruitful: a...

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2018 Updates & Plans

Posted by on Jan 28, 2018

2018 Updates & Plans

Hello! How are things? It’s the end of January already. Hard to believe. I don’t mind January – the cold weather and low sun combination is nice out the back window, and I like that it’s my mother’s birthday at the end of it too. I hope yours has been okay. Bearable? Good? I had a good month on the whole. Started with Whelan’s Ones To Watch 2018 – here’s an interview ahead of it by RTÉ’s Alan Corr. Then, an RTÉ ARENA live session which was broadcast last Monday. That was a real privilege to do – with Róisín Blunnie, Aideen Rickard and Vyvienne Long – and a wonderful sound and production team. Here’s the podcast if you’d like to listen back: ARENA Live in Session. After that was Templebar TradFest, which I felt very fortunate to be part of – a tribute gig to the brilliant Eamonn Campbell of the Dubliners, along with The Dublin Legends, Stockton’s Wing, The Young Folk and Daoirí Farrell. It was in aid of Coolmine Treatment Centre – a wonderful facility for drug and alcohol treatment and recovery. There was a really nice mention for the album in Hot Press too – by Róisín Dwyer. And John Kelly played a track or two on his Mystery Train recently – I love that programme. The main bit of news this month is confirmation of a Whelan’s main stage headline gig on March 18th. That’s a bit of a dream for me! I can’t wait. Do you want to come? I feel very lucky to have that gig on the horizon. Details and tickets at the link! For balance, I feel like I should widen the lens a bit. Sometimes I read through these blogs and worry that I’m only telling the good stuff – though I’m conscious too of not going too far the opposite direction. I’ll just say it very quickly: migraines, not great, the past while. Last week – a lot of bed! I’ve mentioned them before (here) and feel like there isn’t too much to add because I know my patterns and triggers and how to manage them.. but suffice to say they’re not easy nuts to crack – they’re unforgiving! Anyway, I just wanted to say that for the sake of reality. Reality cheque. The cost of reality :-) I really hope you’re doing alright yourself. I’ve just started watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix, and recommend it...

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Christmas

Posted by on Dec 21, 2017

Hello! I don’t normally start a blog with a complaint but I caught my finger in the door the other day, and it was really sore! I didn’t know finger injuries were so sore. It was fine, but how have I gone 32 years without knowing finger injuries were so sore? I all at once felt the pain of everyone who has ever caught a finger in a door. You POOR thing! :-) Anyway, it’s a month since I released my album, and I’ve got some cool news around the corner. I’m looking forward to 2018, but I’ll just wait till I’m a bit more organised to fill ye in. Thanks a million for all your listening and radio-requests and everything – it really means a lot to know that people are enjoying the songs. I sometimes feel a bit lost at sea navigating the music world, so feedback like that really helps bring it back to the important stuff. I had one of those the other day (lost-at-sea day). I couldn’t get myself off the couch actually – no motivation – but then for some reason something I had read about turning upside-down popped into my head: a quick mood-boosting thing. So I dragged my hands down to the floor and leaned on them with my knees up on the couch – kind of like a kneeling downward-dog-type yoga pose – and stayed like that for a few seconds, and then took a breather and did it again a few times (it was the least-possible-effort way I could think to do it at the time). And, you know, it did sort of work I think! A little bit.. Just getting the blood moving around, I suppose.. Anyway, if you’re having a bad day like that, try it and let me know. It’s pretty silly-looking, but it might help! And if you’re feeling a bit rougher than that over Christmas (or indeed you cause yourself further injury doing it and feel worse), pick up the phone and have a read through the links below. Whatever your plans are for Christmas, I hope they go well for you, and that you feel supported. And I also hope that you get at least one pair of motivationally-sloganed pyjamas, “Dream Big” Ailie xx PS Watch your fingers in the doors. _________________________ People You Can Call/Text (Sourced Mental Health Ireland) Samaritans www.samaritans.org Freephone: 116 123 Text: 087-2609090...

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Album Release, and thanks!

Posted by on Nov 25, 2017

Album Release, and thanks!

Well! How’s it going? All grand here. I’m a bit overwhelmed with the support for this new album. I’m probably not alone in this, but I didn’t think too much past the artwork and CD duplication stages of making the album – and now that it’s out, it feels like a crash course in how to accept kindness while resisting the urge to dig a big hole and disappear down it. It’s like waving enthusiastically at someone with a big shovel in your hand: ‘How are ya doin’ oh Christ get me outta here’ – that kind of thing.. :-) But it’s been absolutely lovely, so thank you very much, all shovels aside. Here are the links if you want to listen/download: Spotify iTunes Bandcamp And the CD is available to buy here: West to the Evening Sun Here are a couple of reviews: RTE Radio One ARENA: 4**** Review (Podcast) RTE Entertainment: 4**** Review by Alan Corr The Irish Echo, New York: Review by Colleen Taylor CD’s akin to letters between friends   I really hope you enjoy listening to the songs – it means a huge amount to me to know people are enjoying them. I’m making plans for 2018 at the moment, and will keep you posted on developments. All credits and thank-yous are listed below, and an especially special thanks needs to be directed towards Daragh Dukes (producer) who was just magic to work with, and deserves every good thing that comes to him. Ailie xxx Launch Concerts Huge thanks to special guest choir, the brilliant Laetare Vocal Ensemble (conducted by R. Blunnie); to the band Róisín Blunnie (vocals, keyboard, kalimba, a bit of everything), Aideen Rickard (vocals, trombone, electronics), Gráinne Logue (vocals), Eoghan Regan (elec. guitar), Eoin Coughlan (bass), Vyvienne Long (cello); to Richard Duckworth (sound engineer); to the wonderful Carl Corcoran and Charlie McGettigan, who did the official launches; and to all staff in Dublin Unitarian Church and The Dock Arts Centre. Album Credits Ailie Blunnie: Vocals, Piano, Electric Guitar Daragh Dukes: Electronics, Percussion, Kalimba, Wind Chimes Aideen Rickard: Backing Vocals, Trombone Vyvienne Long: Cello Eoin Coughlan: Electric Guitar, Bodhrán, Backing Vocals, Body Percussion Neville Lloyd: Double Bass Laetare Vocal Ensemble (Róisín Blunnie, conductor): Choir on “Would That You May” Music & Lyrics by Ailie Blunnie Arrangements by Ailie Blunnie & Daragh Dukes Produced by Daragh Dukes Mastered by Richard Dowling at Wav...

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