Co Leitrim has a lot to answer for in the case of acclaimed Jazz singer Ursula Connolly in recent years! Since moving to the county in 2003 she met and married the love of her life, Eamonn. Together with finding personal love in the county, it was also responsible for her re-discovering her love of making music. Now Ursula is getting ready to launch her latest album, “Devil May Care” at The Dock Arts Centre, Carrick-on-Shannon on October 12.
Ursula and her band performing a live show at The Dock with doors opening at 8pm. Admission is just €12 (includes a copy of the new CD, “Devil May Care”).
The idea for the album was spawned as far back as 2007 when after some time away from the industry Ursula started to toy with the idea of making a new album. It wasn’t until 2009 however, when Ursula’s sister Inez was diagnosed with a brain tumour, that the still fledgling idea was taken a step further. It was Inez through her illness that was to be the primary catalyst for Ursula getting back to music.
Ursula says, “one day we were chatting and Inez just came out and said”, “Stop talking about it and just do it, get back to your music. You will find a way to make it happen if you really want to do it, so get to it”. It was a simple as that, she was right. Thankfully Inez responded well to treatment, is now in remission and actually sang on Ursula’s new album.
Coming from a strong musical and artistic background, to pursue a creative path seemed to be on the cards for Ursula from childhood; both Ursula’s parents sing and her dad is also an artist. Ursula and her six siblings were highly influenced by this. Her siblings include Rita Connolly (married to Shaun Davey), brother Peter is a songwriter, producer and multi instrumentalist while sisters Inez and Clare are members of the Tallaght Choral Society. Ursula’s older sister, Margaret also had a beautiful voice, but sadly passed away in 1987, as does her brother Enda.
She began performing with her sisters while still at school in the 1970s, before joining other groups and then eventually releasing her own album in 2000. However, in 2001 having worked in music full time for some five-six years, Ursula believed that a fresh start was needed. “I was looking for a change, so decided to step back, take stock and live life differently for a while” says Ursula.
A step back that extended to some nine years as it turned out, in which time Ursula rediscovered her love of traveling when she took an extended hiatus to Australia and New Zealand and on returning started to work full time in another area that she had been passionate about for some years, interior design. This also gave Ursula a creative outlet for her ideas, just a different form than music. It was during this time that she also sold her home in Dublin and moved to Leitrim. It was here she would meet her now husband, Eamonn, and indeed here that would signal the beginning of phase II of her music career!
“I feel lucky to have had this opportunity”, says Ursula. She continues, the biggest gift I have ever given myself was the time from 2001 thru’ 2003. A time in which I allowed myself time purely for me and my loves and in doing so things just started to fall into place from which I was able to re-discover my love of music & especially my passion for Jazz music”.
Inez’s illness in 2009 and her direct words to Ursula at that time was the final kick in the backside of confidence she needed to start planning her new album for real. The resulting album, “Devil May Care”, will be released on 12th October.