A SINGER songwriter from Schull was selected for the RTE Radio 1 Recommends Playlist and a video of her playing has also featured a Tourism Ireland campaign to promote West Cork.
‘It’s amazing. I have released music in the past and never been selected. It’s a great honour because a lot of people look to the lists as a guide to see what is good in terms of new music,’ Polly Barrett told The Southern Star.
Since falling pregnant in 2015, Polly (36) said she wasn’t able to write. ‘I couldn’t focus my mind on it. It felt insignificant in comparison to bringing a child into the world.’
She is referring to Arthur, now five, who is quite musical himself and likes to play along with Polly and her partner Frank Wieler of The Calvinists fame.
Polly relocated from Kinsale to Schull in 2014 after playing the Sunday session in Hackett’s Bar and falling in love with the place and the people.
‘I met so many lovely people that night and met so many other musicians who were living locally. I thought to myself, if they can live and work here why can’t I?’
Polly’s latest single, Thinking About You, is her first self-penned song in seven years and she is very pleased with the result.
‘It’s a much better crafted song than anything I have written before,’ she said. It was recorded at home in Lowertown.
‘We borrowed some equipment from another local musician, Stuart Wilde, and set up in our living room with acoustic curtains everywhere to cut down on reverb.
‘We recorded my vocal and guitar at the same time – which I never did before – and I found it is a much better way to capture the performance of the song.’ Polly has performed in Vicar Street, The Triskel in Cork, The Roisin Dubh in Galway, to mention but a few, but she is also a familiar sight busking at Skibbereen, Bantry and Schull markets.
‘I love performing and connecting with people through music so the markets are a great outlet for that. It’s also a very humbling experience because quite often you can be ignored. Then there are other times you can have a real meaningful connection with someone.
‘With each performance, you are singing and pouring out your soul, so for someone to stop, turn around, and let you know that had meaning for them is so special.’
Polly said her reasons for moving further west were based on a romantic idea of being a singer songwriter, living in a rural rugged place, and getting loads of inspiration from the landscape.
‘Since moving here I have found the community has been so much more supportive than I could have ever anticipated. I feel more at home here than anywhere else.’ Now that Arthur is so much older, Polly said she is able to tap into that creativity again.
‘In fact, my creativity seems to have deepened as a result of her experience of motherhood,’ said Polly.
Listen out for the song on radio, or check out the video of Thinking About You, featuring Frank accompanying Polly on guitar at Bantry House, which is also being shown throughout Europe and the USA as part of a Tourism Ireland campaign for Bantry.