The Lockdown Lowdown with the creator of Irish Women in Harmony and featured artists Soulé, Róisín O and Faye O’Rourke
RuthAnne Cunningham (RA) gathered the voices of 32 Irish female singers for Irish Women in Harmony. Here we get the lowdown on her lockdown and also catch up with featured artists from Irish Women in Harmony, Soulé (S), Róisín O (RO) and Faye O Rourke (FOR) on their last few months
What are you wearing today? In a non-sleazy way, ie what is your lockdown uniform…
RA: A onesie I now live in comfies and I never wanna wear jeans again lol.
S: I’ve been living in a hoody and joggers, ha ha. The best combo.
RO: Black bagginess.
FOR: Combats and slippers.
What have you been reading?
RA: I’ve been reading Untamed by Glennon Doyle. I adore her and I’ve been listening to a lot of Eckhart Tolle and more recently with the Black Lives Matter movement I’ve been watching documentaries about black history and educating myself more on systemic racism, white privilege, and how we need to come together more than ever against oppression.
S: I’m not reading as much as I should be, but I’ve been listening to a lot of music related podcasts. My favourite is And the Writer is…
RO: Podcasts The Joy Luck Club, Borrasca and This American Life.
FOR: I’m reading Raymond Carver’s short stories,and I listen to David McWilliams’ podcast.
What have you been watching?
RA: So much great TV shows. Normal People I’m obsessed with, Killing Eve and Gangs of London. I’ve also been loving watching reruns of my fave show when I was a teen, Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
S: I’ve binge watched all the seasons of Desperate Housewives and now I’m watching Dynasty on Netflix.
RO: I re-watched all of Game of Thrones. I have a serious problem. Also Rick & Morty season four.
FOR: Daniel Sloss’s standup, repeatedly. He’s a genius.
What music are you dancing to like no one’s watching because precisely no one is watching?
RA: I had one night where me and my fiancé danced to all the 1990s boyband classics, like 5ive’s Keep on Movin’ and the Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC and Britney Spears, dancing around the kitchen. It was really fun.
S: A lot of Janet Jackson’s music, and Afrobeat artists, like Burna Boy and Mr Eazi.
RO: Stevie Nicks, particularly Seventeen, and the new Coronas album.
FOR: Em… Pretty much everything, but if I had to choose, I’d say the BeeGees or A Tribe Called Quest.
Best thing you’ve cooked/baked/created so far during confinement and why?
RA: This charity single is probably the best thing I’ve done in lockdown to be honest, but I’ve also gotten pretty great at baking cheesecakes and scones. But now I need to stop because I’m piling on the lockdown pounds!
S: Vanilla cupcakes just because I was craving them for ages and they turned out so yummy.
RO: I knitted a scarf for my niece Bonnie. It was a terrible attempt but she loves it and uses it as a blanket for her dolls. Creatively, I’ve loved having time to record covers at home – I really enjoyed doing Selena Gomez’s Lose You to Love Me recently.
FOR: No amount of lockdown time will make me an adequate baker but I’ve made some pretty impressive seafood linguines.
Who was on your last video call and what was it about?
RA: It was a Zoom meeting about a new Netflix documentary that I’m involved in. I can’t say much on it right now, but it’s exciting.
S: My last video call was with a good friend and it was about us organising a much-needed girls trip after lockdown.
RO: I’m on the board of IMRO [Irish Music Rights Organisation] and had a Zoom board meeting this morning. They’re doing great work for musicians during Covid.
FOR: Last video call was with my parents about general life.
Any surprising rituals or arbitrary routines you’ve developed during this strange time?
RA: We take a walk every morning at 8.30am to our local park and I’ve been really loving having that routine.
RO: I go walking or jogging in Lakelands in Terenure, and there are six signets there that were eggs at the start of lockdown. I’ve become a bit obsessed with documenting their growth, they’re insanely cute.
FOR: I’ve been drinking a lot of smoothies… to balance out the alcohol consumption.
Most revelatory thing you’ve learned about yourself during the lockdown?
RA: How much I never wanna wear jeans again. Nah, ha ha. I got to challenge myself as a producer and I think myself and everyone involved realised what we could achieve doing it all from home and by ourselves, without needing big budgets and big fancy studios.
S: The most surprising thing I’ve learned about myself is that I actually enjoy staying at home.
RO: I quite like being locked down.
FOR: That I can handle not socialising far better than I anticipated.
Where are you most looking forward to celebrating “the end” of the lockdown?
RA: Soho Farmhouse. It’s my favourite place to go and it has my favourite restaurant called Pen Yen, which I have missed so much, and a beaut spa and a really cosy pub with a fireplace and live music. And the cabins are so beautiful and relaxing.
S: Hmm, I’m not sure. I don’t mind where it is as long as I get to be around my friends and family, that’s all that matters.
RO: It has to be Whelan’s. For the gigs, the tequilas, the gorgeous staff and the Sunday night sessions watching Mick Pyro’s band.
FOR: To he honest I’m not sure about bars, etc, but what I’m dying to come back is probably the IFI and the Light House cinema. I miss movies a lot.
Dreams by Irish Women in Harmony can be streamed across multiple platforms now. Txt SAFE to 50300 to donate €4 or go to Safe Ireland website to donate what you can.
Read more: You’ve streamed the video, made the donation. Now read the backstory to RuthAnne’s Irish Women in Harmony
Read more: Lisa Hannigan reveals how she’s spending isolation – which includes an Other Voices performance
Read more: Sierra Leonean-Irish artist Loah: “We’re getting to know ourselves differently as Irish people”