- 09 Dec 20
Some of Ireland's brightest talents are joining forces in the unusual setting of Iarnród Éireann stations to raise money for homelessness causes this week.
Covid-19 hasn't stopped Irish artists from partnering with the Focus Ireland and Iarnród Éireann for a fourth year to raise vital funds on the charity's Facebook and YouTube pages. Previously, choirs and bucket collectors were on hand in nationwide stations for the charity, rather than recording artists.
Hot Press speaks to Emma Langford ahead of her gig tonight - Wednesday, December 9 - at 8pm in Cork's Kent Station alongside the Emer O'Flaherty Quartet, Mick Flannery and Jack O'Rourke. Last night saw Mundy, Brian Kennedy, Eleanor McEvoy, Mary Coughlan and the Riptide Movement perform at Heuston Station.
Since being crowned 'Best Emerging Folk Artist' at the inaugural RTÉ Radio 1 Folk Awards in 2018, there's been no stopping Limerick artist Emma Langford. The singer-songwriter released her critically-acclaimed second album, Sowing Acorns, this year. Luckily for her widening audience, her sophomore work is as achingly personal an album as her debut - Quiet Giant, with her trademark vocal range and lyrical poetry marking it out as yet another work of art.
Focus Ireland has been at the forefront of Ireland's homelessness services for years, what does the charity mean to you?
Anyone can slip through the cracks, or lose a handle on things and wind up homeless. The homeless crisis in Ireland is inconceivably huge but charities like Focus have stepped up over and over again showing great compassion to people in circumstances largely beyond their control - I'm really grateful to Focus and to all charities like them.
Do you think that this year is even more crucial for these services, given the pandemic and tough economic times?
I can only imagine people are struggling this year more than ever to make ends meet, and the work of Focus Ireland is really essential to anyone who is dealing with or facing homelessness - not only in terms of material goods and financial aid, but also in terms of emotional and psychological support.
Can you tell us about your involvement in Iarnród Éireann and Focus Ireland's 'Stations Sessions' gigs?
I was invited to play two songs at Kent Station in Cork; I was joined on piano by Cork woman Hannah Nic Gearailt. It's such a beautiful resonant location for live music and I can't wait to see how it all turns out.
What artist are you most excited to see perform at the Station Sessions gigs?
I'm really looking forward to watching Mary Coughlan and Erica Cody's sets!
What are your hopes for Ireland's live music industry in 2021 and touring in general?
I hope of course that 2021 throws fewer obstacles our way, and that we can get back on to stages in front of live audiences; but I also hope we continue to innovate. 2020 has shown that we can find ways around the seeming impossible, that we can thrive in the face of adversity and that when we unite and work together we can achieve amazing things and have our voices heard.
How will you be spending Christmas this year, given the unusual circumstances?
The same way as ever - in my pyjamas drinking hot whiskeys at home with my parents.
Tomorrow's Station Sessions gig will see State Lights, Ollie Cole, Damien Dempsey and Erica Cody finish off the week's gigs in Pearse Station at 8pm. Tune in through the Focus Ireland Facebook page here or YouTube channel here.