For Valerie Armstrong 2019 commenced with a lovely surprise. James Blake’s label sent a courtesy email letting Valerie know her 1971 version of ‘Fil, Fil A Run O’ had been sampled for James Blake’s ‘Barefoot In The Park’ on his new album, ‘Assume Form’.
Dubliner Valerie recorded ‘Fil Fil, A Run O’ in 1971 when she was just 13 on RTÉ show Come West Along The Road. The single was subsequently re-released and given prompt thumbs up by James Blake.
Having planned a return to the recording studio anyway this year, the James Blake addition to Valerie’s credits was well-timed, especially when one considers the hugely popular English singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and record producer has also worked with the likes of Bon Iver, Kendrick Lamar, and Beyoncé.
Valerie is currently in studio working on the new album with producer Kenneth McHugh of Lefthand Productions (Cathy Davey, David Kitt, Jon Bon Jovi, Celine Dion, Mundy, Donovan, Moya Brennan, The Dublin Gospel choir and many others). The album will include these new recordings and we hope it to be completed by later this summer.
From July 22nd, you can enjoy one of these tracks, the new single, Valerie’s reworking of ‘Bridget O’Malley’.
Valerie’s last long-play was 2011’s ‘Time Has Told Me’. The album was the manifestation of a long-held ambition and with her children now grown up this was the perfect moment! It also gave us the stunning, ‘Teardrop’, Valerie’s inspired cover of the Massive Attack original.
Valerie began singing and playing the harp at twelve, and quickly advanced to an accomplished level, winning many competitions including the All Ireland Feis Ceol in 1972, performing ‘Fil Fil, A Run O’ also!
At 15, Valerie joined Jury’s Irish Cabaret as part of the Sion Hill Harpists, performing alongside the likes of Hal Roche and Ray Mc Anally. For three years she remained in the Cabaret, studying for exams backstage and after finishing school was chosen to join the renowned musicians at Bunratty Castle.
After two years in Bunratty, Valerie decided to pursue a career of her own. In the subsequent years, she worked as a session singer with numerous artists and producers including Bill Whelan (Riverdance) and Shawn Davey (Brendan Voyage etc.) before taking time out to raise her children.