Last Lumiere’s album My Dearest Dear has been considered one of the best in 2013; I am really pleased to meet Pauline Scanlon, who together with Éilís Kennedy forms the group Lumiere, to speak about it.
Legendary record producer John Reynolds (Sinéad O’Connor, Glen Hansard, Andy Irvine, Paul Brady, The Chieftains, U2, Damien Dempsey and so on) had met Pauline through Sharon Shannon, and when he heard what Lumiere was doing, he offered to produce their albums. He said of Lumiere: Pauline and Éilís have a rare and unique singing style I had never heard before. From the moment I heard their voices I knew we had to make an album. Discovering these songs through their voices lifted them into a place of real soulful tradition, ethereal but at same time modern. A pure joy.
So, let ask some questions to Pauline Scanlon, to help our Italian readers to draw closer to Lumiere and their fascinating music.
1. Dear Pauline, your second album My Dearest Dear (where you sing even with Sinéad O’Connor), is having really a huge success in Ireland and abroad; can you tell us something about the choice of the songs you selected?
Éilís and I spend a lot of time looking for songs. We try and find a nice mix of Irish language and English songs. We look to mix up the themes as well as tempos and feels so as to keep the albums varied and interesting. It is also very important to us that the album flows nicely from one song into the next. We like songs about love, we also like historical songs and lively Irish ones.
2. Both of you come from Dingle, co Kerry; in my last journey through Ireland a few weeks ago, I met Mazz O’Flaherty in her shop in Green Street and she told me about your cooperation for her album and about the musical activity there. How much influence does Kerry have in your music? How important is it to you?
West Kerry is hugely important to us, we both grew up here and live here. The people we know and sing with regularly have a huge influence on us, as does the landscape and the overall feel of the place. West Kerry has a very specific sense of humour also and we like to bring that on to the stage with us.
3. How did Lumiere start? How did you meet and begin this wonderful cooperation that makes your voices so sweet and harmonious?
We know each other for years. Éilís used to own a pub called ‘An Conair’ and there was regular singing sessions in it that I used to visit. We decided to get together to sing a few songs casually and we enjoyed it so much the band just flourished and grew wings and we haven’t looked back.
And now are usual 4 questions to help our readers to know better the culture of the Emerald Island
4. What kind of music does Lumiere like to hear? What is on your CD reader or MP3 player right now (apart from My Dearest Dear)?
We like to listen to all sorts of music but I reckon Joni Mitchell’s “Blue” is a favourite of both of ours.
5. We love to speak and write about Irish culture, generally speaking. Any suggestions about books or writers from the Emerald Island to help a foreigner to understand you, Irish people, better?
Mmh… A few… McCarthy’s Bar is a really funny one… I reckon if you really want to understand us just come and visit though!
6. Italy – Ireland: it seems there is a special bond between these 2 countries (at least from our point of view), probably beginning with our forefathers who immigrated in America. Thinking of Italy, what does come to your mind? What do you know, like (or not) of this country?
Amazing passionate and lively people, great singers, great food and a varied landscape and culture just like Ireland!
7. Any other projects for your future? What would you like to be when you grow up?
We’d like to keep doing what we’re doing because we love it so much and enjoy each others company and singing as much as the first day. Thank you Pauline!
Our personal wish would be to be able to meet you and listen to your music in Italy; then, a presto!