Ailie Blunnie

Songwriter :: Singer :: Musician

News

June, July, and happily ever after

Posted by on 3:21 pm in News | 2 comments

June, July, and happily ever after

Hello, It’s July, oh my. I’m kind of jealous of Mundy for writing that song. Every year, there it is on the radio. But what do they say, Freud and them fellas.. that it’s better to channel your negative feelings into something more useful? Anyway, on a matter entirely unrelated, I was thinking I might name the 11 songs on my album after all the other months of the year. Track 1 (‘January’) will be bleak, with a chance of snow. Track 2, similar, a bit shorter. Track 3, a nice march in 4/4. Track 4, clean sounds, a bit showery. Track 5 – may or may not make the cut. Track 6, Summer-Lovin’ kind of vibe. —–Track 7 will be a minute’s silence out of respect for Mundy—– Track 8.. ..you get the idea. So obviously I’m going to clean up. $$$. I might even be on the Forbes list by next summer.. Having said that, I recently heard that there were over 7000 albums released in Ireland last year. Isn’t that hard to believe? The majority, I think, were Country & Irish, but it certainly makes one feel small. Very small indeed. Like a little field mouse. In a big field of field mouses. It’s going grand anyway, to get to the point. I’m still recording the songs. The ones I’m putting on this album are mostly new ones, so I’m very curious to see what you think of them, and fairly terrified in equal measure. They’re a bit more folky and raw, I think. A bit angry here and there maybe. I’m trying to make them as honest as I can. Though, in the greater scheme of things – Brexit, Orlando, Istanbul – the album doesn’t seem so big a deal. The world’s gone a bit mad, hasn’t it? What’s going to happen next? Will we just wipe ourselves out altogether, do you reckon? Or will the good win out? Where’s Ted when you need him – I have questions!* In gig news, the next one is on Friday 8th July in Athlone (The Malt House) supporting Red Empire – one of BBC America’s top picks for 2016. I’m on at 8.30/9 and you’re very welcome to come. It’s upstairs. ______ In terms of fun stuff, I’ve been loving Twitter lately. The National Geographic and Science Daily are a great follow if you’re looking to expand your newsfeed horizons in those directions: like, finding out about distant moons with erupting frost particles ..or catching a glimpse of Jupiter’s northern lights (photo in the blog-image above). LIFE-wise, I feel like I’ve been thinking a lot about singleness and marriedom, and what the future of it all is for the world. (I’m kinda rambling now I know – I’ll rein it in now shortly). But I was thinking how.. it’s like.. from 0 to 20/25 years of age, you’re just a person, and then after that, you sort of magically become a ‘single person’ or someone who’s ‘coupled’ or ‘married’ or ‘engaged’. It’s a bit silly, no? I’m also a healthy person. A loyal person. A tea person. A fortunate person. An appendixless person.. Anyway, I’m not making any particularly well-thought-out point here, only to say that if you’d like to marry me for financial reasons (royalties), or indeed passport purposes, I’ll...

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May

Posted by on 8:42 pm in News | 0 comments

May

Hello! My God, the weather! Hasn’t it just been gorgeous? I finally got to swap my thermal leggings for the normal variety. I hope you’re well? I was on my holidays in Sligo for the last 2 weeks. I sometimes rent a cottage and head off with the piano for some concentrated sea-air-fuelled work. It went well.. enough.. I got a good 20% of what I planned to do done. Not bad! The amount of daydreaming I do though.. disaster! And driving. I just drove and drove. So many incredibly lovely places to take a spin to. Christ though, you have to be a bit careful driving aimlessly around that neck of the woods. Those roads whose signs start with the letter ‘L’.. (i.e. L17221) I suppose the ‘L’ means ‘Local road’, but I came to think upon them more as the ‘Leave the road you’re on on the peril of your life’ roads. One of them just plain turned into the sea on me (the road to Coney Island, when the tide was in). I went up to Donegal too. Across those spectacular mountains to Ardara and Portnoo (that’s where the photo above was taken*). And then home to da shtix. Tis all the shtix, I suppose, but by home, I mean Leitrim. I had a lovely quiet time in Leitrim. I didn’t realise it, but Mars was really near and bright while I was there – it still is, I think. Have a look: it’s a kind of twinkly yellow-orange-red colour. Beautiful. You can see its position here in this video, to help you locate it (accompanied by some nice Vivaldi music, which sounds hilarious). Speaking of videos, thanks a million too for all your support for my new one for “I Will Count My Blessings”. The comments and feedback have been really touching, and very much appreciated. The album’s coming along grand too: I’ve settled on ” West to the Evening Sun” as the title. It’s actually an abridged title though. The full one is “West to the Evening Sun where the Local Roads May or May Not Scare the Living Daylights Out of You”. But it won’t fit on the cover, they said. Late September is the due date! And I’ll be doing some preview gigs before that too. I’ll keep you posted. Last thing: if you’re into brain science stuff, I came across, and really enjoyed, this All in the Mind series while I was away. There’s a great one about a scientist who suffered brain injury after concussion, and got deadly-sounding, cutting-edge, neuro-optics help to recover (cool new glasses) – The Ghost in my Brain. It’s a really good series. And if you’re into dogs chasing balloons, well, let it not be said that I’m not catering to your needs too: Dog Chasing Balloon. I hope you enjoy the rest of the sun. And don’t forget to put Mars in the diary, if you can, With ya every starry step, Ailie xxx * photo by Claire O’Donnell. **directed by Irish filmmaker, Alan...

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‘I Will Count My Blessings’ Video Launch Quiz

Posted by on 1:11 am in News | 0 comments

‘I Will Count My Blessings’ Video Launch Quiz

Hello, To unveil my new video for “I Will Count My Blessings”, I’ve decided to throw an after-work-table-quiz-video-launch-gig-party. It’s a bit of a mouthful, but once you get past that, things start to look up. It’s going to be this Thursday (14th) in The Mercantile Basement in the city centre and the whole event is from 6 to 7.30pm. The new video will screen at 7pm, followed by a short acoustic set of songs from my forthcoming album, “West to the Evening Sun”. To start off the evening, there’s going to be a mini-quiz all about music. This is at 6, and participation is by donation with proceeds from the night going to Samaritans. If you want to come, all you need to do is click here and press ‘register’ and I will duly lay a table out for all your table-quiz needs! It’s going to be good fun – I’ve been brushing up on my ability to sing one-song’s-lyrics to another-song’s-tune just to drive you all mental trying to think of the answers! I really hope you like the video. It’s directed and produced by Alan Markey, and it’ll be live on my YouTube channel from Thursday evening, April 14th. I got to wear my favourite woolly hat for a lot of it which made me extremely happy. Speaking of which, you know what I did the other day.. I was thinking idly about the whole idea of success and what it is, and then a little more idly still about those “tips for becoming more successful” pages on the internet and stuff.. and I was feeling fairly grand at the time.. no major catastrophes.. pretty content with my lot in life, so I decided to look up “how do you know when you are successful” out of curiosity, – as in, what does it feel like when all these tips have worked and you’re a bonafide fully successful person.. – and you know what.. feck all on the internet about it. Hardly anything. I don’t know why that surprised me, but it really did. A few nice suggestions I came across though, were: – your relationships with people are less dramatic than they used to be – you don’t complain much – you can celebrate other people’s successes What do ye reckon? Are little things like that the best measures of success? Not that you need to worry anyway, because I think you’re great no matter what. Great with a capital G :-) Have a lovely week, and maybe see ya Thursday at the after-work-table-quiz-launch-gig-party, Lots of April-showery love, from, Ailie xx    ...

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365 + 1 = Leap Year

Posted by on 12:00 am in News | 0 comments

365 + 1 = Leap Year

Well! How are things? I hope you’re well this lovely Leap Day. I hadn’t realised it was a Leap Year till about a week ago. A whole other day.. to go maaad. I’ve been weighing up my options for who to propose to. It’s nice to have a say in these matters sometimes.. There are three main contenders at the moment. There’s old Mr Brennan – current forerunner – coz who doesn’t like to propose a toast? There’s the Sea, coz if anyone knows how to propose a motion.., and there’s.. well.. you, coz what do you propose to do about it? That’s it at this stage. Standby. __________ I have to say I’d a lovely relaxing weekend wandering around the city in the icy February weather. I love this time of year. Have you noticed the clouds these days? I don’t normally pass that much heed of them, but it’s been really bright and sunny when I’ve got home from work and I’ve been doing a bit of sky-gazing. I was trying to remember the names of the different types of clouds from school. I think we only ever learned three – nimmulous, communilimbus, and stratocasticus. Or something.. It turns out there are loads of them, and lots of combinations of each. Some of the images I came across have been just beautiful – look at these.. wouldn’t they take your breath away? I found a Cloud Appreciation Society on my cyber-travels too, which I was half-thinking I might join. (If only to find a husband to propose to within the year) In music news, I’m not performing much lately because I’m recording, but I have a nice gig coming up on 12th March –  a solo support slot in The Cobblestone (for Steve Duffy, who is brilliant). Here’s the details. What else? Oh, this is nice: if you’re not convinced by the stretch in the evenings yet, and find the nights are making you feel a bit blue, take a minute to make your surroundings as cosy as possible. Think of each of your senses and make a conscious effort to spoil them like there’s no tomorrow. There’s a Norwegian word, ‘koselig’, (roughly, a state of cosy kindness*) which research suggests could have a part to play in relatively low rates of Seasonal Affective Disorder experienced its northernmost residents.** I propose a toast to that! Have a lovely day, Ailie xx * Not an official translation. Paraphrased from various sources. ** Unpublished research. Correlation not causation. (Who cares – pass me the fluffy blanket)...

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Album update, and January news

Posted by on 11:31 pm in News | 0 comments

Album update, and January news

Hello! How’re ya? I hope you enjoyed your Christmas and New Year and got to do some relaxing. Seems like a good while ago now – even though it’s only been 3 weeks. January can feel lonnnng! I had 3 weeks off work. One of the perks of TEFL teaching. I’d a nice time – getting home, seeing everyone, recording a few songs for my album, learning Saw Doctors songs for a wedding.. (that part was brilliant craic –  what a great band! #boomshakalakalaka). Funny, I realised when I was listening to them, that my impression of The Saw Doctors must almost entirely have been formed in Irish class in secondary school, when their name seemed to come up in reading-comprehensions more than could really have been necessary. I remember, the texts always seemed to be taken from ‘Mahogony Gaspipe’ – does anyone remember Mahogony Gaspipe?? It was a magazine in Irish. I’m fairly sure it didn’t have anything to do with gas or pipes – just entertainment and stuff – but I must never have fully shaken the plumbing associations, coz to this day, if you say ‘Saw Doctors’, I think ‘cisterns’. Isn’t it amazing how strong your first impressions of things can be?* Speaking of which, I’m hoping yours, of this new album I’m making, will be positive +++++ [subliminal visual priming in operation] I’m really excited about it! It feels like such a privilege really.. to be living at a time when recording your own album is a thing.. that you can do. I’m nearly finished recording the songs at this stage. A bit more time to edit and mix the music, then it’s onto the visuals (CD cover etc), and then, it’s ready to go! I’m planning an autumn release date (August/September) and am looking at venues at the moment. Any favourites around the country? There’s no gig too small (or big, haha!). I’d love your ideas.. house concerts, hotel rooftops, bingo halls, hot air balloons.. mad as you like, get in touch.** I think that’s almost it for now. Oh wait, no! Some ideas for you! #1 You know when it’s hard to get yourself out the door..? (e.g. for a walk, to work, to the shop): – imagine that the whole house is going to burn down in 5 seconds flat if you don’t put on your runners and get outta there in a Bruce Willis-style BLAZE OF GLORY. Apparently, if you don’t act on an intention within 5 seconds of forming it, you’re likely to talk yourself out of it.*** #2 If you’re having trouble winding down before sleep: – I really like listening to guided meditations. It’s where someone (qualified) speaks gently, and you listen to them and follow their suggestions. The science is definitely in on these too. I like these ones in particular.**** Right, I think that’s 99% it for now. I hope you have a lovely day, whatever you’re up to. And if you should be doing something somewhere else, you have 5 seconds! Go! With you all the way, Ailie xx +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ * That’s supposed to be partly to do with “the primacy effect”: where your brain latches onto early impressions of things, most likely because it doesn’t like the feeling of being uncertain. ** You can contact me via...

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Music musings and the cold November rain

Posted by on 11:59 pm in News | 0 comments

Music musings and the cold November rain

Hello! I got a bit waylaid on the way to this blog.. but I’m back. Stick on the kettle! There’s a wild wind blowing out there. Storm Barney, they say. Purple dinosaury gusts, north-to-north-west, green spots. I hope you’re keeping warm and cosy. I’ve just finished my mini-tour of the country and it was just lovely – thanks to you. Touched down in Dublin, Sligo, Waterford, Dublin again, and finally, lovely Leitrim. The last night in Carrick was extra special to me, because it’s home! So before I go on, just to say thanks a million for coming, playing, helping, being there in spirit.. it all means so much. *Thank you*. When I got off the stage that final night, I just thought “God I’m so lucky to be doing this, time to stop messin’ round and get this album thing done!”. (More on that soon) Meanwhile, there’s awful stuff happening in the world. There’s always awful stuff happening, but then there’s the awful stuff that ignites a fire in your belly and strengthens your resolve to commit to educating and educating yourself until you can feel, to some extent at least, that the mind that you use every day of your life is as rounded, open and squarely your own as is within your current capabilities to make it so. And then quietly committing as well, to doing something about it. What though? I had a brief dabble with the idea of going into politics last Saturday.. or joining Mary Robinson in the UN.. but I want to do it RIGHT NOW, not when I’m more qualified. (*snore*, haha) So anyway, I’ve decided to make a start by trying to get into the habit of prioritising better. For example.. catching myself the odd time before replying to my newest email, and giving a friend a quick text or call first, because they’re more important to me in the greater scheme of things. Now, I know what you’re thinking – “slow down Ailie, the world isn’t ready for this”.. but I was thinking it might help me develop a mindset that can apply this kind of thinking to bigger and bigger issues, until at last all is right and well with the human race and I can go back to being your average Josephine Soap. What do ya reckon? Good start? Apart from all that anyway, I’ve been watching lots of funny YouTube stuff which I’ve been dying to share. ASAPscience, for example. Here: look at how many million ways your body is amazing. TED talks as well. Some flippin deadly ones. This one’s brilliant: ‘The art of being yourself’. And I love her Scottish accent too. Och aye. Gorgeous. I hope you’re having an OK November. This time of year can be hard. Long nights. Short days. Gently does it, that’s my philosophy.. and have a good old rant if you need it. Yours, wind, hail, sun or storm, (Feckin weather – go on, have a good old rant there, get it all out*) Ailie xx * but, here’s an interesting thing – try and do it in writing. It’s better for you! Supposedly. Increases your sense of control....

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Talking to women in their 20s, 30s and 40s

Posted by on 2:13 am in News | 6 comments

Talking to women in their 20s, 30s and 40s

Right, first things first – that title’s a bit ambitious. I can really only speak for myself (single, white, female, 30 and a half). The other night, I found out the coolest thing.. that one of our eyes is usually more dominant than the other. Make a little circle with your thumb and forefinger – or try this position – and, at arm’s length, focus on an object a few feet away, visually placing it in the centre of your circle. Next, close your eyes one at a time. Usually, the object will hop outside the circle when you close one of your eyes. If it happens when you close your right eye, then you’re right-eye dominant, and vice versa. AMAYYYZING, no? I’m left-eye dominant, which hasn’t really made a huge difference to my life it has to be said. But then again, how the feck would I know? Maybe, had I been right-eye dominant, I’d have become a psychopathic serial killer, or, God forbid, a jazz musician.. Doesn’t bear thinking about ;-) The studies suggest that ocular dominance (the official term), or ‘eyedness’ (the funny term), doesn’t seem to affect that much, cognitively-speaking, but it’s kinda cool all the same, isn’t it? Try the experiment and let me know what you are coz I’d love to know. Supposedly, the ratio of right- to left-eye dominance is around 3:2, even among left-handers. Anyway, when you’re talking to women of reproductive age… (smooth segue or what, haha) ..and particularly to those who are single, a comprehensive survey that I carried out recently*, had the following to say for itself: It is important that you try not to: 1) ..assume that they want to be in a relationship or get married. Many of us don’t. 2) ..assume that they don’t want to be in a relationship or get married. Many of us do. 3) ..assume that they want to have children. Many of us don’t. 4) ..assume that they don’t want to have children. Many of us do. And many of them don’t know yet. Ask them if they’re left or right-eye dominant instead.. ;-) Finally, in music news, I’m quiet as a mouse lately because I’m writing and recording my album, but I’ve a new music video coming soon. It’s for “I Will Count My Blessings”. We’re starting filming soon. I can’t wait to share it with ye when it’s done. I’ve also got a few gigs coming up in October and November (one in The Dock in Carrick). I’ll keep ye posted! In the meantime, tell me about the right-eye/left-eye thing (or maybe you’re cross-eye dominant, i.e. left-eyed and right-handed), and while you’re at it, tell me if this woman is spinning to the right or left coz I can’t decide: Spinning Dancer And finally finally, be nice to yourself. You’re lovely. Xxx *on a randomly-selected, 100% scientifically airtight sample of my reproductive-age friends    ...

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Dealing with Facebook Envy.. and designing the best life for you

Posted by on 2:53 pm in News | 0 comments

Dealing with Facebook Envy.. and designing the best life for you

Hi, Howya! What gorgeous weather we’re having – I hope you’re enjoying it wherever you are! I’m on the couch having a cuppa tea and a bit of a think. This morning’s think is about how to design a life that you are happy with. One that feels good all the way right down to your toes. Not only that, but one that is going to facilitate the best possible things for you in the future too. I have bad days. Bad minutes, bad hours, bad weeks. I get anxious. I get migraines. I cringe. I regret stuff. I feel crappy. I want to run away from things. But holy feck, since Facebook and Twitter came on the scene, the potential for pain has become so much more real, and it can get so annoyingly in the way of enjoying life. It seems to be that a lot of it is down to comparing your life to other people’s too much, which is a tough one, because it’s such a natural thing to do – and so normal and important too – but I suppose maybe there’s just so much information out there these days that’s it’s hard to know where to draw the line on a personal level. Sometimes I think there should be an “Are you really sure this is such a good idea?” pop-up thing every time you feel the urge to check silly things on Facebook. ..followed by an “are you reeeeally sure..?” ..followed by an “even deep down in that part of you that loves and doesn’t want to hurt yourself..?” ..followed by a “bare with us, we’re still not convinced. Please pretend that your mother or most caring friend is sitting beside you.. would she/he tell you to do this to ensure definite life improvements..? No..? We thought not. ACCESS TO SILLY THING DENIED” But anyway, so as not to put the whole responsibility for my mental health on Facebook, I’ve been trying to learn how to treat myself kindly on my own, and was thinking it might be useful to share things that I’ve found worked for me, so that they can maybe help other people too.* For me, simply being aware that I need to prioritise my own health, as a general rule, has been a good start. There are loads and loads of resources online with tips and things to help with this (I’ve linked some below).. from the more obvious things like eating and sleeping well, getting exercise, and not taking too many drugs ya eejit.. to things that maybe you mightn’t think of right away. Getting to grips with how the shifts in my hormone levels affect me physically and mentally has been one of these for me. As a woman, especially, but this is relevant for men as well. I used to think I was above the whole hormones/menstrual cycle thing: it gave me comfort, as a teenager, to know that I didn’t have to be a ‘slave to my hormones’, and that I could manipulate or stop menstruating any time I wanted to, by choosing to become underweight or exercising excessively, or just by becoming very stressed out – because all of these things can interrupt the natural cycle of things. It sounds so deeply sad to me...

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M is for May and the Marriage Referendum

Posted by on 2:40 pm in News | 1 comment

M is for May and the Marriage Referendum

Hello! So, a few nice things happened since my last post. There was the Nationwide appearance – that was lovely ..and the one thing you realise when you’re on Nationwide – everyone flippin’ watches it!! Then there was Canalaphonic, a new festival in Dublin celebrating Irish music. Lovely to be a part of that too. Then.. actually, that’s about it – I thought there was more than that, haha! I’m after making a load of hummus as my latest new year’s resolution thing to make. I put in wayyyy too much tahini (sesame seed paste) though, so I might have to try that one again!! (Tablespoons teaspoons..) Anyway, next Friday is Marriage Referendum Day, where we, in Ireland, have the opportunity to vote Yes or No to a proposed amendment to the Constitution regarding marriage. This is the proposed new clause: “Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex.”  (Isn’t it funny that the word “proposed” is used all over the place, haha, I’m only after noticing that!) Anyway, so, if passed, it will mean that couples are free to marry each other regardless of whether it’s a man and a woman who want to get hitched, or two men or two women. I’m a little bit ashamed to say that I’ve more or less been burying my head in the sand with regard to this referendum. I felt very uncomfortable about it, just.. generally. Like as if I was being invited to vote on whether two of my friends should be allowed to meet up for a cup of coffee in town or something, and that my opinion should be heeded. I felt that it wasn’t my decision to make. I think I had even semi-convinced myself that it was only a matter of time before ‘the other people’ (you know, the invisible benevolent ones who programme the traffic lights so we don’t crash, and look out for meteorites approaching Earth, or tell us about the eclipses – no offence, traffic-signal programmers or astronomers..) would step up to the mark and quietly and efficiently sort it out, sparing me all this bloomin’ unnecessary discomfort. But then… ..I got over myself, remembered how privileged we are here in Ireland to have a voice in important matters such as this, and embraced what a wonderful opportunity this is to extend a great big warm “we accept you, we respect you, and we treasure you as equals” to all of Ireland’s people, be they in love with guys or girls. If you’re confused about the issue at all, or considering not voting, I’d suggest having a read around the area for yourself, and, actually, a really good thing might be to try and talk to some people who’ll be directly affected by the outcome of your vote, so as to get a sense of how it will affect their day-to-day lives after the referendum itself. There are some really funny and creative things happening to encourage people to vote. Hailo has a great one that I just heard of – if you pre-book your taxi, they’ll bring you to your local polling station between 11am and 4pm on the day for free! That’s gas, isn’t it! Anyhoo, I’m off to brush my teeth to...

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Quick Nationwide Update :-)

Posted by on 5:33 pm in News | 0 comments

Quick Nationwide Update :-)

Hello, The Nationwide feature I was talking about in my last blog is being broadcast tomorrow evening (April 17th) at 7pm on RTE 1. It’s on after the 6:1 Noos – [all my relations on my father’s side say ‘noos’ for news. I think it’s a south-west-of-Ireland thing. Actually it’s somewhere between ‘noos’ and ‘nose’. Noohs. Nnnoohz…]   Anyway, throw on the telly if you’re near it, or you can watch it live here if you’re out and about, or on RTE Playback afterwards, if you’re doing, like, “other” things and have to miss it, although seriously, get your life together, come on. Haha :-) (Here it is! I’m at 16.38) In other noos, I’m falling a bit behind on the cooking-new-years-resolution (cook something new by the 15th of every month), but I did cook Arepas this week and they were taaasty, and easy to make too, if ya fancy trying them. They’re a traditional Venezuelan flatbread and you can eat them with just about anything! – here’s the recipe. Yum. What else? ..oh yes, my holidays! I’m going away to a little cottage for a week at the end of April to write some noo songs! (I’ll stop with the noo thing now). I can’t wait! #yay Oh jeeney, life is such a mixture of things, isn’t it. So many sad stories in the papers this week.. and then that gorgeous sun outside.. I hope you are being nice to yourself ❤ Have a lovely weekend, Don’t forget Nationwide! Ailie xxx    ...

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