Bernadette Morris
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Bernadette Morris

Everyone at some point or another dreams of the luscious rolling green hills of Ireland. For Bernadette Morris it’s an everyday reality in her hometown of Dungannon. Sitting in the lounge room with a hot cup of tea looking out the window, a hare majestically hops along outside the front door. Coming out of a cold winter spell, things are looking up on this dry Wednesday April morning. In a family of six girls and four boys, it’s been quite a challenge to stand out from the crowd, however music has always been a mainstay of Morris’ life.

“Growing up music was always around, my sisters played viola and violin and my brothers played trumpet – so we were always playing at a school concert or around the community,” she says.

“My first musical memory was playing at the opening of the Dungannon community centre – of which they are celebrating 25 years in late May. It’s funny to think that it’s been a quarter of a century yet I remember it as if it was yesterday. I wore a little blue silk dress and everyone in the community was there and really proud of our playing.”

In 2013, Morris released her debut record All The Ways You Wander, and she still needs to pinch herself to believe she is about to tour Australia for the first time, three years later. Comprising traditional Irish songs, in a moment’s notice you are transported to the rolling majestic hills as the sun cascades down your face. Morris’ vocals sound bright and, on more than one occasion, will make the hairs on your arm stand on end.

“I am really proud of how that album turned out and I am working on the second release now. I’m starting to collaborate and write some original songs – which is a very different experience for me because I have never done it before. It is incredibly rewarding and I think that we are going to be starting production on that one in October, so hopefully we should have it out towards the end of the year,” Morris says.

Fluent in Gaelic, Morris spends her time away from performing as a music producer on an Irish television network. Due to ongoing work commitments, the Australian tour is a short two-week trip, however it is assured that there is a return on the cards in the not too distant future. Out here performing for the National Celtic Festival, a generous smile spreads across her face as she talks about visiting her brother in Sydney.

“I don’t know how much time I will get for sightseeing, because I need to get back here for work, yet I have always wanted to go and it’s going to be a very eye-opening experience. I have a childhood school friend that is now based in Sydney and family in Sydney as well, so in a matter of speaking, it’s a little like a homecoming,” she beams.

From meeting actor Jeremy Irons as he learned to play violin for a television show, to touring around America, India and Europe with her music, Morris is incredibly thankful for all of the opportunities that have arisen since the release of All the Ways You Wander.

“I’m incredibly lucky to be able to travel the world with my music and I can’t wait to get out to Australia. It’s going to be a lot of fun playing for you all, so come down to the Celtic Festival and boogie!”

Written by Tex Miller

When & Where: National Celtic Festival, Portarlington – June 10-13

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