Monday, August 10, 2015

Row, Row, Row Your Boat: Cathie Ryan and "Óró Mo Bháidín"



Today's song is by Cathie Ryan, an Irish-American native of Detroit, Michigan who was exposed early to Irish musicians such as Tommy Makem and the Clancy Brothers as well as American musicians such as Johnny Cash, Jim Reeves and Hank Williams. In her childhood she idolized her father, a tenor, who taught her how to interpret and honor songs by knowing their histories and contexts. She was also exposed to the music of Appalachia from neighbors who had migrated to Michigan to work in the auto factories and gained an appreciation for the likes of Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn and Patsy Cline, as well as the local music out of Motown. Moving to New York, she learned more about traditional Irish music from her then husband singer-songwriter Dermot Henry and mentor Joe Heaney. After graduating from CUNY with a degree in English Literature and Secondary Education, she began teaching at Lehmann College in the Bronx, but left the classroom behind as her singing career began to blossom. She still continues to teach workshops in traditional Irish singing and Irish mythology and folklore. She was a member of the all female Celtic group Cherish the Ladies. This song, Óró Mo Bháidín (Oh My Little Boat), can be found on her 1997 debut album Cathie Ryan.