Irish-American soprano vocalist and songwriter Cathie Ryan grew up in Detroit, Michigan, surrounded by traditional Irish influences. She is expert at the ancient art of sean nos (pronounced “shan-nos”) unaccompanied singing, and its traces can be heard in her delicate trilling and subtle ornamentation. The Detroit influences are also there in the form of blues and R&B beats.
“I would describe my music as coming from an Irish-American experience,” Ryan said. “I was raised by Irish parents in an American city setting, and my music comes from that, from all of that. But I always thought you had to do one or the other: you were either an American singer or you were an Irish singer. It has taken time to understand that I can be both. I just sing what’s in me.”
Cathie has released several solo albums and is featured on more than forty compilations of Celtic Music.
‘There is nothing like a live show, being with an audience, sharing the music. That is the best part of being a singer and writing songs ,’ she says.
In 2003 Cathie was included in the famous Irish music collection, A Woman’s Heart’ A Decade On placing her among Irish music’s finest female vocalists and songwriters. It was the first time Americans were featured in the series and she shared the honor with Allison Krauss, Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris.
Her original songs have been recorded by distinguished Irish vocalists such as Frances Black and Mary Black among others.
Cathie Ryan (Shanachie, 1997)
Mother, with Robin Spielberg and Susan McKeown (North Star, 1999)
The Music of What Happens (Shanachie, 1998)
Somewhere Along the Road (Shanachie, 2001)
The Farthest Wave (Shanachie, 2005)
Through Wind and Rain (Mo Leanbh Records, 2012)