There was a conversation between two Irish singer-songwriters based in Australia; Áine Tyrrell from the Republic of Ireland and Cara Robinson (Hat Fitz & Cara) from Northern Ireland. The conversation edged around the different versions of being Irish that being from two sides of the border meant to both of them and the generations of strife that that identity continues to cause.
The shared and unshared experiences and the distance from home helped each other see things in different lights. Their chat softly spun around to the lost generation of young boys having no foundation or true knowledge of where they came from and at times what they are even still fighting for. Like these two women who emigrated from Ireland, so many of these young boys fled Ireland never to return and both touring artists meet many of these stories of Irish emigrants as they travel the world. They dreamed of a homecoming for these boys and how coming home is a brave and nurturing experience. ‘Row Back The Levy’ is a wish for a healing for these generations of boys, which is a universal wish for so many war torn countries.
There were more threads after that first conversation that finally wound themselves to this finished song. There was an infamous iPhone recording of Cara Robinson’s middle of the night inspiration with a recording of the chorus that she then passed onto Áine saying, “A song came through to me, but it’s for you.” There was the death of Martin McGuinness a key figure in the Northern Ireland peace process and all the history and emotions that stirred up in both of them and their shared grieving from abroad.
There were the many discussions around Cara and Áine’s own planned tours and trips home to Ireland and the sisterhood their shared experience in Australia brought. There was the seaside village of Kilmuckridge in Wexford when Áine landed home in Ireland to record her album that finally gave her the push to reach for Cara’s iPhone recording. It was in the small seaside village of Clogherhead in Louth as close to the border of Northern Ireland as their recording sessions for “Return To The Sea” brought them, that the inspiration to finish the song came to Áine.
The addition of the powerfully haunting voice of Liam O’Maonlaí to the recording of the song, incidentally happened in the house that Áine was born in in County Clare, as close to a homecoming as one was to find for this song. And the final thread was to add the co-writer of this song, Cara Robinson’s powerful vocal when they both returned to Australia and the song had finally come full circle. The second offering from “Return To The Sea”, Row Back The Levy out Nov 9th 2018 across all digital platforms.