Manchester artist Caoilfhionn Rose unveiled her debut album Awaken on the 12th of October, 2018. Respected label Gondwana Records has the privilege of releasing the work, after a couple of years in development the collaboration finally reached its fruition when Rose and Gondwana’s Matthew Halsall connected in the studio. They were introduced serendipitously, Rose’s father recommended she listen to Halsall’s work because of its Fletcher Moss connection, then later Halsall came into contact with Rose at one of her early gigs, the pair bonded over their shared passions and everything else just naturally fell into place.
Rose has been making music for many years, since her teens she has been writing and performing. After a period of illness she found music as a kind of therapy when she needed it most, inspired by bands like The Mummers she began to take her songs outside of her immediate environment and into the spaces of Manchester’s live locales. In 2014, she featured on The Durutti Column’s Chronicle XL collaborating with the famed outfit, offering a compelling purity that her voice innately wields.
Fast forward four years and her first solo effort is finally realised. A deeply collaborative record of experimental sound, unique fingerprints and local pride. The journey has been explorative and distinct of a creator, and a group of talented musicians, truly finding the voice of their artistry. The thirteen songs on the long player each paint a picture as bright as the first, honouring Rose’s traditional folk influences and furthering their effect through layering instrumental parts, building harmony and winding pathways of effusive narrative via entrancing vocals. It’s a record to lose yourself in, with each listen something new will reveal itself, and possibly, even teach you a thing or two. An enveloping and fascinating first act from an artist buzzing with creative ideas and vitality.
My mum decided on my unusual Irish name Caoilfhionn (pronounced Kee-lin) because she wanted something different. Her name is Mary, she grew up in Ireland and had many friends with the same name. Mum chose my name Caoilfhionn thinking not many others would have it. Rose is from my Irish granny. She was an integral part of my musical development as she bought me my first piano. Family, place, people and memories are all key themes I explore in my lyrics on the album, ‘Awaken’.
I’m from Manchester and that’s also been a great inspiration. It’s a vibrant musical community with lots going on. Echoes of its musical past and present make the future of Manchester’s music scene very exciting to be a part of. The scene is so diverse and I’ve made some great friends through it. A key place in the city for me is Fletcher Moss Park, just around the corner from where I live. I often go there, it is so peaceful and beautiful, several of my songs have stemmed from just going for a walk in the park. It has also connected me to other Manchester musicians and collaborators such as Matthew Halsall (Gondwana Records), Vini Reilly (The Durutti Column) and my guitarist Rich Williams.
There are many artists who have made a big impact on me, some of my favourites include The Mummers, Rachel Sermanni, Building Instrument, Sea Oleena, Broadcast and Mammal Hands – to name a few! I wanted my debut album to have a diverse sound-world, to reflect my love for all kinds of music. Gondwana Records were really encouraging and supportive of my exploration and experimentation with different sounds. The label have really helped me develop my musical style, approach and confidence. The creative process of making the album has been a massive adventure.
I don’t have a set way of writing a song, sometimes I will write alone and sometimes it is a much more collaborative process. My guitarist Rich Williams has been a key influence and support throughout the project. As well as working closely on the music with me, Rich is behind all our music videos, teamed up with our friend Luca Rudlin (People Staring). The album has been a long time in the making, it has taken almost three years from beginning to end. I have loved working in different ways with all the people who have helped piece it together.
My debut album ‘Awaken’ represents a new beginning to me, it’s my first collection of songs and I hope it is going to be the beginning of many more to come. I’m keen to keep creating and developing my musical style and looking forward to touring with my band of musicians and friends.
Caoilfhionn Rose’s debut album ‘Awaken’ is out now on Gondwana Records – available to Stream/Purchase here.
Photo Credit (Featured image): Dan Wiebe
Photo Credit (Live shots): Phoebe Kellet
Photo Credit (In the recording studio excluding Rich Williams): Rich Williams
Photo Credit (In the recording studio, Rich Williams): Dan Wiebe