Saturday Q&A: Award-winning Co Fermanagh young musician Rose Connolly

Rose Connolly (20) is a multi-instrumentalist, singer and composer who mixes traditional Irish music with contemporary classical, and recently won an Arts Council of Northern Ireland-BBC NI Young Musicians' Platform Award

Arts Council of Northern Ireland-BBC NI Young Musicians' Platform Award winner Rose Connolly
Jane Hardy

How do you unwind at the weekend?

I am currently on an Erasmus programme in Holland and at weekends I just hang out with friends and maybe watch a few movies. I really like old Italian films like La Dolce Vita and 8 1/2. And I do also listen to music to relax, including some contemporary jazz. I enjoy podcasts and like The Guilty Feminist and the Blindboy podcast. Eddie Lenihan tells great old Irish folklore stories on his podcast, including the tale of Máire Rua McMahon.

What do you recall most about weekends growing up?

Weekends I was probably roaming the fields as I was brought up in a very rural setting in Co Fermanagh. There were lots of lakes and I used to go foraging in the country with my mum Linda and my dog Jessie, a Labrador.

Friday night or Saturday night?

I'm more of a Sunday night person but, at the moment, on Friday I'd have a few drinks with folk and talk. They have nice bars here in Holland and I and my room-mates would go out together. They're not Erasmus students like me but are from all over the world, studying different things. With Covid, it's been different – and happily I wasn't near the Dutch curfew protests recently that were in the headlines.

Do you have a must-listen weekend radio show?

I don't really listen to radio, mainly do Spotify and podcasts, although I sometimes catch Six Radio and like Gilles Peterson.

Must-watch TV weekend show or box set?

I haven't watched any TV in ages. If I ever put anything on, it'd be The Sketch Show on Netflix that is very sharp.

Favourite eatery – or is it a takeaway?

I do like Indian food and Korean cuisine is also my thing. Mainly, though, I cook for myself so it's Irish stews. If I get a takeaway it'd be chicken korma or a pizza Marguerita. Food is quite expensive here, especially the cheeses, but I love the deep fried Dutch sweets like stroopwaffels.

Is Sunday special?

Sunday is special. I used to go to the Hugh Lane Gallery in Dublin on Sunday where they'd put on a concert series. It would be contemporary classical with people like Kate Ellis, Elizabeth Hilliard, Mick O'Brien. In terms of religion, very early on we went to church but then we stopped believing in the whole thing which was definitely a relief. It's still a nice lazy day.

How do you feel on Sunday night about Monday morning?

I have a thing about Mondays which isn't that great. Now, though, I am excited about my work. The award has enabled me to create an album and I'm pushing the boundaries by mixing traditional music with electronic music which I love. I am also composing a piece for The Ulster Orchestra. It's eclectic, I haven't got a title yet but it uses the full orchestra with me as soloist, playing piano and singing, and it can be heard online from March 21.

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