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Archive for April, 2013

Sephira Dedicate EP “Eternity” to the late Larry Hagman

Sephira Eternity

After completing 2012, with a star-turn as “Bond Girls” performing at the pre-premiere bash of the Bond movie, Skyfall, the string-driven vocal sensation, Sephira have announced the release of their brand new EP, Eternity.  Dedicated to the late Larry Hagman, star of hit TV series Dallas, Eternity is a nod to the friendship they shared with the star, and his unwavering belief in their music that has been invaluable in their rise to stardom.

Known to audiences from their many US TV appearances, Sephira, the creation of Irish siblings Joyce and Ruth O’Leary have broken away from their classical influences and have become known for their self-described “fiery fusion of dueling violins and ethereal vocals.”  Their sensational live show has taken Sephira across the globe, performing both public and exclusive private events for elite audiences, most recently a performance in Monte Carlo for Prince Albert of Monaco and another for Donald Trump at his Palm Beach resort in Florida.

Eternity, a five track EP, includes signature Sephira tracks; “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen and “Misirlou” from Pulp Fiction. The opening track is a cutting edge re-working of “Danse Macabre” by Saints-Saens and both “Palladio” by Karl Jenkins and “Danse Macabre” give the listener a glimpse into the powerful visuals of the new Sephira show.

Furthermore, the Eternity artwork cannot go unmentioned; a feast for the eyes and an invitation into the world of Sephira’s custom couture gowns. Their heavenly collaboration with Irish designer, Jacqueline Quinn, has resulted in Sephira performing live at World Fashion Week in Paris, November 2013.  Nominated as Haute Couture Designer of the Year, Quinn has commissioned

Sephira to compose the music for her runway show in Paris.  The personal strength and dynamic presence of Sephira are clear indicators of musicians who have fully arrived and are here to stay.

Eternity is available for digital download at iTunes on April 9th, currently available for pre-order.  Eternity Limited Edition physical copy will be released on May 27th and is now available to pre-order from

Find Sephira online at, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Reverbnation.

The Hit is back – and looking for songwriters!

After a successful pilot last year, RTE’s songwriting talent show ‘The Hit’ is back for a series and the show’s producers Vision Independent Productions are seeking more great new songs and songwriters to shine a light on.the hit

In the pilot show Royseven chose Stephen Walker and Ed Kelly’s ‘Sidelines’ and Brian McFadden picked Ian Colgan and Shane Butler’s ‘Invisible’ to record as their latest singles, and suddenly these two sets of unknown songwriters found their songs flying up the charts and playing all over the radio.

Each show in the new series will have two different artists competing to find their next hit, and – since the shows are being broadcast during the summer – producers need to hear your songs NOW!

Interested songwriters should download the following questionnaire and send it – together with a copy of your song lyrics – to vt.gmpiv@tiheht along with an mp3 or mp4 recording of your song (or link to where the song can be streamed/downloaded) before the closing date of May 17th 2013

The Fastnet Maritime and Folk Fest Songwriting Contest Now Seeking Entries

Song Contest Terms and Conditions

The theme of the song must be the sea or have a maritime connection.

Participants must send a copy of the song lyrics by May 31st 2013 to:- moc.liamg@77selimkcid

or by post to:-

Richard Miles
Co. Cork

Participants must be prepared to perform their songs on the day of the contest.traditional

The songwriting contest will take place at Vincent Coughlan’s Bar, Ballydehob, Co Cork. on Sat 15th June at 3.00 p.m

Entrys restricted to two songs per participant.

Participants must be aged 18 or over.

All participants must provide a lyric sheet on the day of the competition.

Prize fund €250

Sponsored by IMRO

Niall Thomas ‘Breathe Easy’

Niall Thomas Press ShotNiall Thomas will release his debut album Breathe Easy in April 2013. It was engineered and produced by Karl Odlum who has worked and performed with artists such as Gemma Hayes, The Frames, Declan O`Rourke. The album was mastered in Abbey Road Studios by Steve Rooke Mastering Engineer for The Beatles, The Cure and Wilco.  Breathe Easy is a collection of ten songs and features Karl Odlum, Martin McCann, Petra Odlozilikova, Scott Davis, Kevin Murphy, Aidan Courtney and Christophe Capewell  all of whom have lent their time and talent to the recording.

 A recent review from a live performance:

“See him live when you can folks. You forget how good a guitar player he is when his good songs distract you, then you forget how good a songwriter he is when his good guitar playing distracts you. Something pure in it.”

The first single from the album “Spillin` Diamonds” will be available on 8th April on iTunes with the album launch taking place in The Grand Social 12th April. Niall will be performing with a full band ensemble on the night.


O Emperor Tour Details

O Emperor Picture: Miki BarlokO Emperor have just announced some tour dates for June – The Forum, Waterford on 15th –  Bourkes, Limerick 20th and Whelans, Dublin on 21st. The band will also play a special Cork show and add support slots very soon.

Their second album Vitreous is out on 14th June.

Vitreous is a follow up to the debut album Hither Thither released in October 2010.
It was self-recorded and produced in the band’s very own studio (Big Skin HQ) in Cork. Big Skin was (literally) built from the ground up and everything from label administration to recording happens inside its grubby, fire-stained walls. The resulting recordings are a direct representation of this operation, being the band’s most potent and distinct work to date; a stamp moulded from their many meandering sessions there.

While debut Hither Thither could be described as a lush tapestry displaying a classical use of depth and shading, Vitreous presents the listener with a starker, polychrome and pixelated picture. Heavily distorted drums take their place alongside syrupy analogue synths and disgusting fuzz guitars sounding like bees buzzing inside tin cans. Beautiful landscapes are destroyed with disparate, abrasive sounds in perverse displays of artistic self-destruction.


1. Grandmother Mountain / 2. Holy Fool / 3. Whitener (Part 1) /  4. Brainchild / 5. Contact / 6. Minuet / 7. Land of the Living /  8. Soft In The Head / 9. This is it

O Emperor are: Paul Savage, Alan Comerford, Phil Christie, Brendan Fennessy and Richie Walsh.

A Good Kind of Stress by James Linderman

What we communicate to our listeners with our lyrics has as much to do with “how we say it”, as it has to do with “what we say”.

Like in a conversation, our tone, inflection, pitch, decibel level and general attitude will influence the impression we leave on our listener and therefore completely influence the impression they will have of our art, especially our songs lyric and its message.linderman

When it comes to impacting the listener, one of the most important, yet underrated elements in lyric writing, is the placement of the stress syllables.

A stress syllable is the location of the strongly accented beat in the rhythm of a phrase.

The stress is often placed where there is a chord change and is also commonly found on the first and third beats of the bar or the second and forth beats of the bar.

If we use an underline to denote the stressed beats it would look like the examples below and we would use more volume and emphasis to make the stressed beats dominant.

1 2 3 4 or 1 2 3 4

It might seem like the simplest thing in the world to just place the important words on the stressed beats assuming that the less important words would naturally be left to the weaker locations and the job of placing the stresses would be done… sadly it is not so easy.

It all depends on exactly what specific words in our lines help to emphasize the message we are trying to express.  

Consider the impact of the following example by reciting it aloud and determining its precise meaning and emotional power based on the stress placement

1     2       3      4      1       2  3     4

She never even gave me a second look

When you stress “she”, which is the subject in your phrase, you are telling your listener that it is imperative that they know you mean “she” and no one else. The same is true of the stress on the word “me”, meaning me and no one else.

If this is what we want to communicate in this line then the stresses will communicate that perfectly to the listener, but if we are actually trying to express the hurt of being passed over in this phrase, then the stress need to be shifted away from subjects and objects and onto verbs, or action words and the quantitative or qualitative adverbs.

In other words, any words that express an action or measure the amount of an action will induce the greatest emotional response in the listener in this kind of phrase.

Read this example aloud and see how much more impact it has in expressing this hurt.

1        2       3        4      1     2    3     4

She   never even  gave   me a Second  look

By shifting the phrasing over the count in this way we also get to put a stress on the word “second” which is a quantitative word that has some emotional value as well.

From the start of this phrase we can appreciate that “never” is a great, quantitative measurement word because it is so absolute, and therefore emotionally charged.

“Gave” is a powerful emotion word and we might use it as a bookend word for our next line by writing the word “stole” into it. Here is an example,

1       2      3      4      1   2     3     4

She never even gave me a second look

1       2           3            4         1           2      3       4

But with every glance I stole that night I read her like a book 

Also notice that there are words in our example that precede the first beat of each of these lines.

In musical terms these are called anacrusis and to make these preceding words fit there will have to be a restructuring of the rhythm of the melody and we may also have to rework the pitch selections because we will help emphasize the stress sylables by singing the highest pitches of each phrase there.

Four well known artists that instantly come to mind who are exceptional at stress placement, and the alignment of all the supporting words in a phrase would be Sting, Joni Mitchell, Jann Arden and Alanis Morrisette.

Some artists that are just as skilled at this, that would be worth checking out would be Suzie Vinnick, Wendy Lands, Blair Packham and Michelle Rasky.

I’m also working on getting good at it too.

Another essential element of songwriting that helps to maximize the emotional impact of the lyric, is to make certain that the lyric, the melody, the rhythm, the tempo and the chord progression are all moving the song forward in a single unified direction.

When all of the elements of a song are all working together, and the most powerful words are being stressed, there is no telling what kind of incredible effect songs can have on listeners and how powerful the listener’s enthusiasm will have on how we write and, ultimately, on the personal and social impact of our art.

That is the best use of stress I could ever possibly imagine.


About James Linderman

James Linderman teaches guitar, piano and music theory and coaches songwriting, in studio and over Skype to students from all over the world from Newmarket, Ontario, Canada.

He is a member of an international, off campus, academic advisory board for The Berklee College of Music in Boston known as Berkleemusic Ambassadors and is Berkleemusic’s Worship Music Advisor.

James has had 4 top 10 singles on Canadian Christian radio and songs published in Nashville.

He is a guest presenter at music conferences all over Canada and writes songwriting articles for music magazines all over the world.

James has a Canadian University (York) and American College (EOSC) education in music theory, composition, and journalism.




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