Connla’s Ciara McCafferty earns US Celtic Music Award for vocal performance on Paul McGilloway-penned Martin McGuinness song ‘Where My Heart Will Always Be’

Talented Derry musician Ciara McCafferty has received a prestigious US accolade for her vocal performance on ‘Where My Heart Will Always Be,’ a ballad in memory of the late Martin McGuinness.

The Connla singer’s rendition of the song, which was written by Paul McGilloway following the late republican leader’s untimely death in 2017, earned it the Single Release of the Year Award’ at the 2021 American Celtic Music Awards.

Ciara, who has toured extensively in the US with Connla, one of the most exciting young trad. outfits around, said it was an honour to be recognised.

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“It’s nice to get that bit of recognition and appreciation. The song is great. I think it spoke very like Martin McGuinness It’s a very humbly written song. It wasn’t, ‘look at me, I did this and I did that’, it was more, ‘we, a collective did this’. It spoke about his appreciation for everybody around him.

“I thought that was a really nice perspective and kind of like Martin McGuinness himself. He never really blew his own trumpet.

“That’s one of the reasons I decided to become involved in the project because it was so humbly written. There was a sense of peace about the song as well.”

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Ciara recorded the track with Connla bandmate Ciarán Carlin and regular collaborator Ramon Ferguson. Paul McGilloway says he was blown away by the recording.

He wrote the song in the immediate aftermath of his friend’s death four years ago.

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“We found out at 6.05am that he had passed away and by 9am I had the most important lines of the song written - the first four lines that say ‘Where My Heart Will Always Be’ which is the title of the song.

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“I was just thinking about him. I had been down outside his house that night when he came out in the dark of night to more or less say his goodbyes. He was saying he has been in many places, in presidential buildings, but his heart will always be in the Bogside.

“That’s where the song came from. Feelings come out when you hear someone like that has passed away.”