Music from the Heart

Mamasongue - a labour of love after loss

Camilla Griehsel has a voice that heals. Originally from Sweden and based in west Cork, she has over thirty years professional experience from pop recording artist to avant-garde opera, from traditional jazz to South American folk. She is dedicated to bringing people together and connecting hearts through the power and universality of song. She's also known for her involvement in legendary band Interference for many years. She was married to Colin Vearncombe aka Black whom you may know for his hit Wonderful life. Colin passed away in January 2016. In a space of a week Camilla lost two important people in her life (Fergus O'Farrell was originally supposed to sing at Colin's funeral but died exactly a week after his friend) and the idea of Mamasongue was born. A true labour of love where the power of music helps you heal.

In Mamasongue, she sings songs from all corners of the world, in six languages, about love, loss, passion, longing, desire and joy. She has been joined onstage by some world-class musicians, including pianist and west Cork based collaborator Maurice Seezer, Congolese guitarist Niwel Tsumbu, Donegal percussionist Éamonn Cagney, South African bassist Concord Nkabinde, pianist and arranger Cormac McCarthy, and Diego Joaquin Ramirez and Graham Hopkins on drums.

The show hasn't been performed that many times but on February 23rd the audience at Civic theatre in Tallaght, Dublin, finally had a chance to see this remarkable production as part of Mother tongues festival. The venue is small and intimate, giving the audience a perfect opportunity to be enchanted by Camilla's angelic voice and the messages in the songs. During the performance (and with the whole performance as well) she also pays tribute to her mother, a key figure in her life.

This time, she was joined by Niwel Tsumbu on guitar, Éamonn Cagney on percussion and Darragh Kealy on keys. From the first chords you were driven into the magical world of music and it was clearer than ever that music is an universal language. You don't have to understand the words, just let the music and emotions guide you. The audience was listening intently and were captured by the performance to the extent of not being sure whether to applaud after each song or wait a little bit longer.

Difficult to choose a highlight in something so powerful where you laugh, cry and sing along all the time. But for us one of the highlights was Something Right, a song by the late Fergus O'Farrell. The words "I thought that I could do nothing wrong until I did something right" resonated in these circumstances more than ever. As well as Happiness, a song by The Blue Nile, which is a song that Fergus loved singing.  Powerful words "Now that I found peace at last, tell me, Jesus, will it last?" seem to be very appropriate to current situation not only in the world but also in the society where people are constantly in a hurry, forgetting to take the time for themselves and their loved ones. For this song, Camilla invited on stage one young participant of a workshop she did prior to the concert and the crowd lent their voices too, opening their hearts and letting the spirits in.

The exquisite musicianship of everyone on stage was accompanied by wonderful visuals, creating a truly unique experience for the audience who only wished the time could stand still for a while. Standing ovation at the end was very well deserved.  Is there anything more beautiful than being immersed in a performance like this and absorbing it with your whole being?

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