24 March 2021

Ali Comerford returns to Kilkenny
and releases her debut single

Ali Comerford, Kilkenny-based singer and multi-instrumentalist … ‘He Knows’ is her debut single

Patrick Comerford

‘He Knows’ is the debut single from the Kilkenny-based singer and multi-instrumentalist Ali Comerford, released earlier this month (4 March 2021). Ali was born and raised in Kilkenny, and she started playing and studying classical music at the age of 4.

After completing a Masters of Violin performance at the Royal College of Music in London, she relocated to New York, where she completed a Masters of Music in Viola Performance from the Manhattan School of Music.

After years as a first call freelance session musician for various string ensembles and chamber orchestras in New York and touring the world, Ali returned home to her native Jenkinstown in Co Kilkenny in January 2020.

Faced with the biggest stretch of free time in 14 years, she used her artistry to process and bring closure to the various ups and downs of life and has recorded her debut album of original folk-based but classical influenced songs.

During the coronavirus lockdown, she threw herself into song-writing. ‘At the very beginning of the first lockdown I set myself a target that I had to complete a song every week and it was a great way to keep my mind off things. Gradually I’ve been able to build a routine that has kept me sane although there still are good days and bad days.’

‘He Knows’ has been described by reviewers as a stunning listening experience, filled with intriguing folk tones and pop appeal. One reviewer said, ‘Comerford’s compelling musicianship and deft lyrical ability is impressive and a joy to listen to.’

‘He Knows’ is described as a piece of rich musicianship as Ali Comerford creates a delicate tune wrapped in intricate instrumentation and sweet tones. ‘Her lulling vocals caress a dreamy melody, while a blossoming string arrangement provides a pristine and innocent atmosphere. As the instrumentation grows in volume, the song becomes more vulnerable and expressive.’

Talking about the song, Ali says, ‘He knows is a lilting song about leaving an unfulfilling relationship, the ups and downs of seeking support elsewhere and the resignation that the truth will always come out.’

Lyrically, the track oozes sincerity and heartfelt emotion:

Oh but there must be a way out,
Of this maize that I’ve been working on,
But I’ve built the walls so high with doubt,
Do I keep on building ’til he’s gone.

She counts Carole King, Emily King, PJ Morton, Yebba, and Jai Paul among her musical inspirations, but adds, ‘there are really too many to count. It’s incredible and very inspiring to see what people are creating.’

Other influences and favourites include ‘Jealous Guy’ by Donny Hathaway, the Bonnie Raitt version of ‘Angel from Montgomery’ written by John Prine, and ‘Need Your Love So Bad’ by Fleetwood Mac, which she says is ‘the perfect lullaby’.

She is active on Instagram, Facebook and twitter, and her music is available on all major platforms, including Spotify and Apple Music. A live gig she played at the Ballykeeffe Amphitheatre in Kilkenny for the launch of He Knows can be found on YouTube.

Her new single He Knows, Don’t Wait and Come Home are tracks on her debut album due for release this summer.

Praying in Lent and Easter 2021:
36, Saint Mary’s Cathedral, Killarney

Saint Mary’s Cathedral, Killarney, was designed by Pugin as a three-quarter size scale model of Salisbury Cathedral (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

During Lent and Easter this year, I am taking some time each morning to reflect in these ways:

1, a photograph of a church or place of worship that has been significant in my spiritual life;

2, the day’s Gospel reading;

3, a prayer from the prayer diary of the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel).

This week I am offering photographs from seven churches that were designed by Augustus Welby Pugin (1812-1852), the architect singularly responsible for shaping and influencing the Gothic revival in church architecture on these islands.

Tomorrow is the Feast of the Annunciation, and my photographs this morning (24 March 2021) are from the Saint Mary’s Cathedral, Killarney, Co Kerry.

Saint Mary’s Cathedral, built between 1842 and 1855, is one of the most beautiful Gothic revival cathedrals in Europe. Just as Saint Aidan’s Cathedral, Enniscorthy, is a three-quarter size replica of Tintern, so Saint Mary’s Cathedral, Killarney, is a three-quarter size scale model of Salisbury Cathedral.

This was said to be Pugin’s favourite Irish church, and is one of his finest buildings in Ireland, despite recent alterations that have stirred controversy among architectural and church historians.

Inside Saint Mary’s Cathedral, Killarney, Co Kerry (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

John 8: 31-42 (NRSVA):

31 Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, ‘If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; 32and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.’ 33 They answered him, ‘We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, “You will be made free”?’

34 Jesus answered them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there for ever. 36 So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. 37 I know that you are descendants of Abraham; yet you look for an opportunity to kill me, because there is no place in you for my word. 38 I declare what I have seen in the Father’s presence; as for you, you should do what you have heard from the Father.’

39 They answered him, ‘Abraham is our father.’ Jesus said to them, ‘If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing what Abraham did, 40 but now you are trying to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. 41 You are indeed doing what your father does.’ They said to him, ‘We are not illegitimate children; we have one father, God himself.’ 42 Jesus said to them, ‘If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now I am here. I did not come on my own, but he sent me.’

Prayer in the USPG Prayer Diary:

The Prayer in the USPG Prayer Diary today (24 March 2021), prays:

Let us give thanks for all who stand in solidarity with those who are on the margins of society.

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow

Saint Mary’s Cathedral, Killarney, was built in 1842-1855 (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition copyright © 1989, 1995, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org