- 23 Nov 21
Sharyn Ward shares her thoughts and experiences as part of 100 Voices: #AllAgainstRacism.
Singer & Songwriter
Music is a big part of Traveller culture. We’ve a very unique way with our music – we have a unique hum in our voices. Traveller people are very naturally artistic. We love poetry, music, art, drawing and creating things. We face a lot of racism as Irish Travellers, but music makes us forget about all the bad stuff. It has always been a comfort to me.
Music should be a safe place to unite, no matter who you are or where you’re from. But as an Irish Traveller singer and woman, I feel I have to fight a bit harder. I don’t get many gigs. I feel it’s because they have a fear that my fans would be Travellers, and then they’d have lots of Travellers on their premises. They’re worried about all the stuff they read in the newspapers, so they judge you before they even give you a chance.
I wrote some music recently about the Traveller life and culture, so I’m hoping people will learn a lot through that, and that it will open people’s eyes. My aim is that people will learn about Travellers, and we can break down this horrible wall that everybody has built up around us.
In the future, what musicians could do to help break down racism in Ireland is for people from different cultures to join together and mix up songs, and create new music together.
I am a positive person, and I’m really grateful for all the good people who are helping me on my journey. I hope that seeing me, as a Traveller woman, will be good for the women in my community. We have very talented female singers, who just don’t feel like there’s a point in even trying. Maybe if they see me getting further in the music industry, it will build up their confidence. That’s my next plan – to go around and meet people, gather some Traveller music, and show it off to the world. I don’t know how much more I can do, to prove I’m a singer. But I am not going to stop, that’s for sure.
Read Part 1 of 100 Voices: #AllAgainstRacism, in the current issue of Hot Press. Available to pick up in shops now, or to order online below:
Special thanks to the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission for their support in this project.