Islands provide inspiration for unique Galway talent

Groove Tube with Cian O’Connell

Headford native Naomi Berrill is a multi-instrumentalist, singer and composer whose music revolves around the cello. That description may suggest a catalogue built on rich classical music – a genre Naomi has studied extensively in Scotland, Switzerland and Italy (where she is now based) – but the truth is more nuanced than that.

Her four studio albums to date have explored pop, folk, jazz and classical styles – pushing the boundaries of her instrument and always keeping it at the fore of her songwriting.

Last October, Naomi released Inish, a ten-track LP exploring the culture and history of Inishbofin and Inishark, emphasising the importance of storytelling in her work.

Those tracks will be performed in An Taibhdhearc next month, on February 8, as part of the Naomi Berrill Trio’s Irish tour. Joining her are guitarist and vocalist Lorenzo Pellegrini and drummer and cellist Andrea Beninati.

“Years ago, I would’ve played a few shows every now and then with Siamsa, which was a tourist show where we played Irish music all through the summer,” Naomi recalls.

“So, to come home and to play in one of the main theatres in Galway presenting my own music is something I’m very honoured to be doing. It’s a great thanks to Pearse Doherty who’s the artistic director there. It’ll be a special concert.”

The cello has taken Naomi to different parts of the world, but the spark for her career came growing up in a very musical house in Headford. It was in college that she was exposed to the variety of genres that would go on to inform her work.

“I started off in Headford where my parents had set up a music school,” Naomi explains.

“When I was around 14 or 15, I was already travelling up to Dublin for lessons on a Saturday at the Royal Irish Academy so I kind of got a taste of making the effort and travelling for good musical experiences.

“When it was time to decide regarding my third level education, I wanted to go abroad but not too far. London was a bit big and my choice in the end was the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.

“My Dad’s Scottish so I had some relations there and I liked the vibe,” she continues. “It was the very first year that, in the classical music conservatory, there was a Scottish folk music department. The fact that there was an openness there to not only classical music enticed me as well.

Pictured: Naomi Berrill….island inspiration. Photo: Edoardo Delille



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