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Women in harmony

Sina Theil and Meadhbh Walsh have joined forces for new single.

Sina Theil and Meadhbh Walsh told David Hennessy about their new duet, a female version of Grace to coincide with International Women’s Day last week and St Patrick’s Day.

In celebration of International Women’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day, rising talents Meadhbh Walsh and Sina Theil have just released their debut duet, a female version of the iconic Grace.

Between them, Sina and Meadhbh have racked up over 200,000 social media followers, several music awards and both had success in the Irish charts.

However, this is the first time they have recorded together.

Grace tells the story of Grace Gifford who married Joseph Plunkett in Kilmainham Gaol just a few hours before he was executed for his part in the 1916 Easter Rising.

It was Meadhbh and Sina’s intention to highlight the strong female story behind the song and also make it possibly the first all-female duet of the iconic song.

Sina Theil is the German- born singer- songwriter who has been based in Ireland for many years now.

She achieved a number one last year with her Christmas song Let there be Peace (this Christmas) even beating Dua Lipa.

While she was filming a video for a song about peace, chaos erupted on the streets of the Dublin just outside the church they were filming in when riots broke out.

Meadhbh is a folk musician from Meelin in Co. Cork.

After the pandemic put an end to her pub-gigging, Meadhbh took to social media to share her musical gifts. She began posting videos and live-streaming her music earning a great reaction and a huge following. She currently has over 107k followers on Facebook.

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She has toured and collaborated with Ireland’s most popular bands such as Dan McCabe and The Whistlin’ Donkeys.

Meadhbh recently graduated from University College Cork with a Bachelor’s degree in social science. While her dream has always been to have a successful music career, she also dreams of someday returning to academia to get a masters in music therapy.

Both are having busy years.

Sina Theil has been on tour with Irish folk sensation Dan McCabe for the past 18 months and will be making her US festival debut at Motor City Irish Fest this June, Meadhbh Walsh has just concluded several American headline dates and also a cruise of the Caribbean with Derek Warfield & The Young Wolfe Tones.

How did the track come about?

Sina: “I suppose we knew of each other for a long time.

“Over COVID, it was either sink or swim.

“Lots of us just started turning all our attention to online and started going live on Facebook several times a week.

“I was doing that, Meadhbh was doing that: I suppose that’s really kind of how we knew of each other.

“Obviously we’re in the same genre as well so our followers would crossover a lot.

“People would tell me, ‘There’s this great singer and you should check her out’.

“We have a common, great supporter, which is the Irish Music Magazine.

“Meadhbh was on the cover, I’ve been on the cover.

“We came so close to meeting, but never had met in person.

“It became evident that we had to meet in person one day.”

Meadhbh: “We met at a concert, we were both attending a concert in Killarney.

“I was attending as a supporter and she was doing special guest on the night and then we just got chatting.

“And then after that we got more in contact.

“It was definitely something we both wanted to do, work together.

“The right time came around.

“Sina asked me to join her for a song, I jumped at the opportunity.

“That was back in January, we were in Dundalk at a conference.

“And then from there, we didn’t waste any time.

“I was going to be going straight to the states for three weeks to do a tour of the east coast.

“But we said the second I’m back, we’re going to get this sorted.

“I’m absolutely delighted to be working with Sina for this one.”

Sina remember their first meeting: “I didn’t know Meadhbh was going to be there.

“I just remember seeing you and going. ‘Oh, oh…’

“It’s like if you meet like a celebrity on the street. You’re like, ‘Is it them. I think it’s them. Are you…?’

“So it was really like that. Yeah. So really exciting.”

Meadhbh: “It’s great to connect with other women in Irish music.”

Sina: “Yeah, absolutely. Which is why we decided as well to join forces on this release.”

What made Grace the song you were going to combine on?

Meadhbh: “We wanted to sing a song that we could add a female perspective on, and something that connects to Women’s Day.

“Grace is a very, very beautiful song.

“It’s a beautiful love song.

“We wanted to make it a bit different that we have two women doing the song and if you watch the video and you connect the lyrics, it seems to take on a slightly different meaning.”

Sina: “All of these beautiful Irish songs have been done by lots of people, they’ve been done by especially lots of males or male groups, but they haven’t really been done by two females as a female duet.

“I mean, the only duet that I could find that has kind of a female combination is Aoife Scott, and Roisin O, and Danny O’Reilly.

“Again there’s Danny in the mix as well.

“They did a fantastic job but there hasn’t been really anything that I could find recorded and released of just two females.

“As Meadhbh said, we really wanted to take a really iconic Irish song, but just remind people just highlight that female story.

“So basically, what we’re trying to do here is we’re trying to take an iconic Irish song, and highlight the female perspective in  Irish song and history.

“Because many people will look at it as the story of Joseph, and it’s the voice of Joseph singing it and Joseph gets executed for being part of the Easter Rising.

“But there is also the female story of a woman who decides to marry someone who she knows is going to die an hour later, so she’s literally burying her beating heart alongside his.

“And she never got married again.

“So really she, in that moment, gave herself to her love and, and that was the end of that.

“So there’s a really strong female story in that as well of someone who loved so much that they were willing to commit themselves to someone who was going to die for being part of Ireland’s history.

“What we’re trying to do is really highlight that female perspective and that female role in Irish song and history.”

Meadhbh: “We went to the Cliffs of Moher and we really wanted to tell the story.

“We were singing.

“When you’re recording a music video, you’re normally lip syncing but we were really singing it and going for it and it felt like a very adventurous film set on the Cliffs of Moher with the wind beating off your face and being able to shout Grace at the top of your lungs.

“I had an absolute ball recording it.”

Sina: “We really felt the story so much and we bounced off each other so much and it became a whole different dialogue.

“It was almost like two women telling each other, ‘Like, this is what he said to me. He said, ‘Oh Grace, just hold me in your arms…’.’

“It was magic. It really, really was.

“I remember we were at the cliffs, it was freezing cold. It’s February and we’re wearing these dresses but there were times where I was just forgetting all of that, I was enjoying myself so much.

“It was mad because we’re not even facing the camera that much.

“I think that makes the video very special because we’re facing each other and we’re telling the story to each other.

“There were just times where we’re just singing the song and there was the cliffs and the wind and it was magic.”

Meadhbh: “It was the closest thing to being on a Vikings or Game of Thrones set.”

Sina: “Yeah, it was incredible.

“The film crew as well were saying like, ‘Whoa, what just happened there?’

“They were like, ‘Oh my god, you were in it’.

“And you can really tell when you watch the video, you can feel the emotions.

“You can really feel the story, I think.”

If you had that much fun, and it all went so well. Do you think you’ll do more stuff together?

Sina: “Yeah, absolutely. I think as well our collaboration was a thing that was much wanted by the two of us, but also by our following.

“We kind of teased it out a bit and Meadhbh on her side asked, ‘Who do you think I’m collaborating with?’

“And I asked the same question.

“There are reams of comments. People started private messaging my page instantly going, ‘Oh, please let it be Meadhbh. You two need to do something together’.

“And again, the reams and reams of comments kind of both on Meabh’s page mentioning me, on my page mentioning her.

“There was a lot of the reaction when we announced it.

“I mean it just exploded on our socials.

“And even last night- Actually, I didn’t even tell you this Meadhbh.

“Last night at my gig with Dan McCabe, I announced that we’re going to do the duet and like at the hearing of your name, there was a huge cheer in the crowd.

“If you hear the track, our voices are different but they blend in so well together.

“At times you can’t even tell who’s singing what.

“And we get along great.

“It’s a lot of fun.

“So who knows, hopefully maybe the start of something special.”

Do you have a lot in common as females in the industry? Meadhbh: “I think we’re both very resilient women, we’re both very driven in what we do.

“I think that’s something we really have in common and it’s so nice meeting someone like that.

“And it can be quite different, I think in the industry for women and men.

“It’s something that you understand.
“When you work together, you feel more powerful.

“That’s the way I feel when I work with Sina.

“She has her own thing, I have my own thing.

“When we work together, we can create something completely new and that’s one thing I really enjoy.

“It was something different being on the cliffs with the absolute shivering cold and teaching each other how to not get hypothermia.”

Sina: “I really do agree on that.

“I do think we do have a lot in common because you don’t get to where we are without common ground which means hard work and dedication.

“I mean Meabh’s platforms have, I mean, between all your platforms, you probably are close to 150,000 followers across everything.

“And I mean, that is a lot.

“That’s something that you build, it doesn’t happen on its own.

“(Or) it may happen on its own magically, but you don’t maintain it.

“And that is just something that really is building.

“I mean, Meadhbh was over touring for the second or third time in the states successfully.

“I’m gonna head over there as well in June now to do some festivals and even some venues that you’ve played before, Meadhbh.

“Just like Meadhbh said, There has to be resilience, it’s sink or swim.

“It’s fantastic to have another female artist who knows what it takes, the things that we go through as well.

“It just could be online stuff, comments.

“It’s just great to be able to speak to another female and say, ‘Hey, what do you think about this? Or what should I do about this? Or how would you do this?’

“Yeah, it’s really wonderful to be able to have that connection.”

Meadhbh: “We relate to a lot of the same things.”

Are you similar in how you found music or what music means to you?

Meadhbh: “I suppose, I grew up in Ireland and Sina grew up in Germany so we’ve had a different kind of falling into the music, I think.

“I think I always knew that music was going to be a big thing in my life.

“When the lockdown happened, which was when I started posting videos, I was in my leaving cert year.

“So I was going to be going to college which I did, and I did finish and I graduated.

“But I think my idea has changed.

“I want to focus on a music career with some other things on the side.

“But it’s quite similar in the sense that I would like to have a bit of both, I do think music is always very important, but I personally like to keep it really enjoyable.

“I find having a natural mix of other things with music is a big thing for me.”

Sina: “I consider myself an entrepreneur.

“I wouldn’t consider myself only and solely a musician.

“I think the two of us maybe would consider ourselves more entrepreneurs, which means that we do music which is a huge part of our life of our soul, of our heart.

“Is our journey music similar? I think it is in the sense that music is just part of our being.

“It’s how we touch people.

“It’s what we love to evoke in other people’s emotions through our music.

“But then again, we also do many different things like Meadhbh for example, you were saying you’re very interested in music therapy, I studied psychology and I do a workshop with young adults with disabilities or special needs on a Monday. Meabh also has done lots of things as well with children with special needs.

“I think that just shows that there’s a diversity there and interest.

“I think the common ground is just sharing emotions, making people’s lives better.

“I think that is really the core of everything, through music, through sports, through positivity, through everything.

“It’s about sharing something positive with people and with the world.”

Meadhbh: “I think it’s true.

“We both get creatively fulfilled from playing live on stage and doing our own recordings and creating things but we both have that similarity that we enjoy a different kind of fulfilment, working with vulnerable people outside of our performances.

“On Monday nights, often enough, I’d go to Cork City and I work with Street Angels homeless group.

“They feed the homeless, I go up and I bring my guitar and speaker and I sing to them. We have a lot of fun.

“I love getting into anything locally that’s coming up, especially kids. Kids are kind of my passion.

“What I did in college was social science.

“My plan the whole time has been to eventually do music therapy as a masters in UL.

“I’m always trying to get more experience to work towards that kind of career alongside my music.”

What’s been a highlight of what you’ve done so far?

Meadhbh: “Releasing original music.

“Travelling to Dubai and America.

“It’s a really good feeling when you meet people abroad and they tell you you brought them through the lockdown.

“A venue that I’ve always wanted to play in, I’m going in April to the INEC Killarney.

“I’ve played there as a support act before but it’s my first time doing my first headline show there.

“That was my dream since I was 14 and busking in Killarney.

“So that’s kind of one pillar moment now on the way.”

Sina: “I have to say, for me, doing this duet together is a highlight.

“I feel behind the scenes somehow this has been simmering for a long time.

“I am a big believer in when things are meant to be, everything flows, everything is effortless.

“When there’s stones in the way, when it’s hard: Often it’s not meant to be.

“Everything just kind of aligned.

“I really feel that’s a highlight for me, because I really feel like it’s meant to be.

“Another highlight, of course, will be my tour in the states this June being part of the headline of Motor City Irish fest.

“That’s a massive thing for me.

“And my Monday workshop just seeing the impact that somehow what I do can have on the community.

“It’s not only for special needs, it’s a workshop that’s open to everybody so I have Michael who’s 80 sitting next to Paula who is 19.

“That just means everything to me.”

Will you film your next video somewhere warmer?

Sina: “Probably not. Hopefully Bahamas next time, Meadhbh?”

Meadhbh: “I’m definitely up for the Bahamas.”

Grace is out now on all major download and streaming platforms and here.

For more information about Sina, click here.

For more information about Meadhbh, click here.

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