The diary is filling up fast for young Tipperary singer Aisling Rafferty. After 18 months of restrictions, Aisling is excited to get back on the stage again. In recent days the big news has come that she has been chosen as one of the finalists in the next series of Glór Tíre on TG4.

“The Facebook live shows were good for keeping me in touch with country music followers but I could hardly wait to get back to performing live again.

“I’m a country girl at heart and we all need to have people around who enjoy our music and who encourage us to follow our dreams,” says Aisling.

One of a family of six, four girls and two boys, Aisling’s first memory of taking a shine to the music scene was sitting around with her family while her dad played guitar.

“We grew up listening to country music in our home where Mam and Dad usually had Tipp FM and Tipp Mid-West stations on the radio.

“We went to Shinrone National School which is nearby in Offaly, but I am a Tipperary woman through and through,” explains Aisling who attended secondary school in Borrisokane Community School.

“I was involved with choirs and music shows since my early school days so I was aware from a good way back that music would play a big role in my life. I entered a competition called ‘Search for a Country Star’ at the Drumcoura Cowboys and Heroes Festival in Leitrim where I sang Your Wedding Day (recorded by Jimmy Buckley and written by Henry McMahon) and it took off from there.

“I started going to some of the country dances and Robert Mizzell brought me up on stage in The Well in Moate to sing a few songs. Johnny Brady had me do a guest spot at his weekend in Galway shortly before lockdown.

“I recorded a few songs and videos and they have been great for me. The song Truck Driving Woman was a good experience and I got great help from Ernie Bailey Transport in Birr. Darling Say You’ll Love Me When I’m Old is proving very popular in recent weeks.”

Aisling recently commenced her second year of a four-year BA in Voice course at the Irish Academy of Music and Dance in University of Limerick (UL).

“I hope to qualify as a professional teacher and have my own school of music teaching children music and singing. I also hope to combine that with a country music career.

“I am currently working on my debut album. I did release a six-track previously but this will be the real deal and I hope we will be able to have a launch night with guest artists as well.

“I got great news when I got a call to say I had been selected for the new Glór Tíre series where recording will get underway in the next two weeks. My mentor is Mike Denver so this is a really big break for me. It is brilliant to see the country returning to normal again.”

Aisling Rafferty is one of 30 acts who will feature at the annual Michael Commins Concert Shows on 28 and 29 November in the Clayton Hotel in Galway. Now booking on 091-721 900.

Larissa’s fond tribute to Tom Lynam from Kilbeggan

Larissa Tormey and Tom Lynam at the video shoot in Kilbeggan four days before his passing.

The farming fraternity around Kilbeggan was in deep shock following the sudden death of Tom Lynam back in August. Tom, who was treasurer of Kilbeggan Racecourse and was an institution in the region. He took ill while driving his tractor on the Mullingar road just outside Kilbeggan.

Only four days earlier, Tom was in jovial mood as he played the lead role of the farmer in Old Fashioned, a song composed by Larissa Tormey.

Larissa grew up in Bashkortostan between the Volga River and the Ural mountains in eastern Russia and had little awareness of a place called Ireland in those times. All that changed when she met Christy Tormey, a well-known Kilbeggan farmer, who was out with friends on a stag night in Moscow in 2001. The rest is history and Larissa has become more Irish than the Irish themselves through her love for farming and music.

“Tom Lynam was our neighbour across the road. He was 77 and such a lovely gentle soul. He was a shy man in many ways and I was delighted when he accepted my invitation to take part in the video for my song.

“We had a brilliant day filming it on the farm and Tom was the perfect gentleman. He loved it and we were all thrilled with how it turned out. The song Old Fashioned is my tribute to a lovely generation of Irish people that I was lucky to get to know and are sadly disappearing with the passing of time.

“Tom was one of those and he was involved in so many things around Kilbeggan. When I got the call that he had died so suddenly, I was crying my eyes out and recalling the great fun we had just four days before that.

“The family asked me to sing at the funeral Mass and it was a privilege to do so,” says Larissa.

The Lynam family urged Larissa to go ahead and release the video on YouTube as Tom was in such great form and that it would be such a special tribute to him and all who loved him so dearly over the years.

“With the blessing of Tom’s family, I was deeply honoured to be able to share the video for my song Old Fashioned, in which Tom, family friend and neighbour, starred only a short time ago.

“Tom was a gentleman, always, and in every area of his life. He will be sadly missed by all of us who were lucky enough to have shared this world with him. I will always treasure my memories of Tom, and I am dedicating this video for Old Fashioned to his memory,” said Larissa.

Larissa will host her first solo concert in Belvedere House near Kilbeggan on 11 December and details of this show will be announced shortly.

Read more

Country Sound: Tom T Hall, losing a legend

Country Sound: a musical tribute to farmers