A 73 year-old Waterside woman has had her very own Susan Boyle moment when she wowed the studio engineers at the Nerve Centre who gave local people the chance to record their own track as part of Music City! in June.
Kathleen Tracey decided to record a song as part of the Resonate Programme through the Nerve Centre in a bid to leave something for her children to remember her by.
Kathleen, who has had no formal training, read about the free recording sessions in the Derry Journal and decided to sing a poignant rendition 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.”
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.
He said: “The age range was very wide, from 16 to 73.
“Styles ranged from 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,” he said.
Noirin McKinney, Director of Arts Development at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said: “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.”
Kathleen’s song and a podcast interview with her can be heard at www.nervecentre.org/resonate