- 12 Sep 17
Powerful social issues are the core of Dublin singer Ciara Sidine’s stunning new album, Unbroken Line.
There’s a fierce tenderness in Unbroken Line, the second album by Dublin-based artist Ciara Sidine. While her first record, Shadow Road Shining, showcased an exceptionally gifted folk singer-songwriter, her second offering sees the artist mining her compassionate nature for creative inspiration.
It’s the more political songs on Unbroken Line – like ‘Finest Flower’, dedicated to the survivors of Mother and Baby Homes and Magdalene Laundries – that Sidine feels drawn to discuss.
“There was a documentary called Sex In A Cold Climate,” she recalls, “about the survivors of Mother and Baby Homes. The women’s experiences were all individual, but there was this overall narrative, and that was the feeling that they had never let go of their babies. They were taken from them against their will, but they had never let go.
“One particular woman became the narrator of the song in my mind; she was a breastfeeding mother. She’d be working all day, and she’d go to her baby at the end of the day and nurse it. It was her great joy. She saw a future with the baby; she was determined that she was going to be the baby’s mother. She just wanted to get out of there and reunite with her boyfriend, who wanted to marry her.
“She talked about what happened to her when her baby was taken away at 11 months. All the phsyical symptoms, the fever and the mastitis…. She was never reunited with her child. And even at the end of her life – the woman died shortly after the documentary was made – you could see this chasm of loss.”
Ciara sees ‘Finest Flower as honouring these women’s stories. “They’re only now being told,” she notes. “And the women still aren’t being compensated for what was done to them and their children.” Reflecting the nurturing element that’s so characteristic of Sidine’s work, ‘Finest Flower’ offers comfort in its poignancy.
“You can’t break the bond between a mother and her baby,” she says. “And that’s a truth that remains, and nobody can take that away from those women. You can’t end love. It’s not that it’s succour for anybody who experiences it, but somewhow it was about trying to honour that thing that can’t be taken away from you.”
Sidine’s feminist perspective comes out strongly again in ‘Trouble Come Find Me’, a song inspired by the Irish midwife, Philomena Canning, and Sidine’s work as co-founder of Midwives for Choice. The group highlights the much lesser-known dangers of the 8th Amendment for women going through pregnancy and childbirth, as well as for women who need abortions. We discuss how because of the ‘equal right to life’ of the ‘unborn’ and the ‘mother’ in the 8th Amendment, pregnant women in Ireland are routinely compelled to undergo procedures they do not want, for which there is no necessitating medical evidence.
Sidine recounts how recently a woman who did not want her baby to be induced was brought to court, and subsequently hand-cuffed and forced into hospital.
“You get to a certain age,” says Sidine, “and you have opinions and the confidence to express them, and you don’t really care anymore what people think. If anything, you couldn’t care less! You see right to the heart of things in a way that maybe you didn’t when you were younger. You realise the things that really matter to your life, and you’re not afraid to pursue them.”
Unbroken Line by Ciara Sidine is available from ciarasidine.com. She launches the album at the Sugar Club, Dublin on September 21.