Singer-songwriter, Karan Casey, has developed an extensive repertoire of songs reflecting her concerns around social justice and the position of women – both in contemporary society and in history. One of her most memorable compositions, Down in the Glen – celebrating the love between two significant figures in the 1916 Rising, Julia Grennan and Elizabeth O’Farrell – was nominated for Best Original Song in the RTÉ Radio 2 Folk Awards in 2019.
In recent years, Karan has also incorporated theatrical dimensions into her performance. So her new collaboration with acclaimed director, Sophie Motley –The Women, We Will Rise – brings together all of these elements in an exciting project, inspired by the women of the Rising and War of Independence, but also offering perspectives on the future development of women’s role in society.
While the project is scheduled for a full-scale production in 2023, audiences will have a preview of the work-in-progress at the Cork Arts Theatre from July 6-9 in a series of lunchtime and supper events.
“We will be airing new songs focussing on the women of the rebellion,” says Karan, “including my own great grandmother, Agnes Ryan, from Doon in East Limerick who was a Cumann na mBan member. One of the other women I have written songs for is Kathleen Clarke.”
Karan is also interested in learning about any other women from that era who have been hidden from history. “If anyone has any information on women in particular from this era, we’d love to hear about it,” she adds.Julia Grennan and Elizabeth O’Farrell