A Book Launch, A Co-Write and A Rediscovered Song

Hi There.  I hope this finds you well.  Did anyone else blink and miss the Summer?  With a five year old about the two months of Summer Holidays seemed like a crazy whirlwind with a bit of sleep here and there to break it up….to me anyway.  There were beaches, parks and late nights, but no lie in’s strangely enough.

In between the mayhem I was lucky enough to be involved with some great events.  The first….being asked to play at the Book Launch of brilliant Crime Fiction Novelist Stuart Neville.  His new Book “The Final Silence” was launched in ‘No Alibis’ Book Shop, Belfast, in July.  Stuart asked me to play a few songs at the launch and I was so excited.  Not least because he and I played a few songs together.  (Quite) a few years back Stuart played guitar along with me and we had many adventures all over the country, including playing Glasgowbury Festival, The Ruby Sessions (Dublin) and performing live on Radio (U105 etc), so I was really looking forward to the reunion, and I had a ball.  A picture tells a thousand words…….

66137_10152168096572060_965393602453492977_n Stuart and Nina Harmonica Stuart and Nina Laughing Stuart and Nina Serious

 

And a video gives a bit more insight. Click here to catch a snippet of Stuart and I.  Thanks to Gerard Brennan (Author) for capturing some of the craic!

The pictures are courtesy of Ruairi O’Hare, and talking of Ruairi, himself and myself have been writing together a bit over the Summer.  Fingers crossed there may be a wee preview in the next blog post when we get it recorded….I love recording (sorry that was uncalled for sarcasm but it’s seriously the only experience that gives me sweaty palms and I get all grumpy and cry and there is hair and tears everywhere….I wish this were an exaggeration)  Aside from that it’s been really good co-writing with Ruairi.  It’s not something I’ve done a lot of.

However!  I was recently sorting through my medium sized, rather random CD collection (found some Destiny’s Child and Justin Timberlake in there) and I came across a CD in a see-through case.  The handwritten information on the CD read “Broken Wings Broken Hearts : IMRO : Feb 2004 : Ian Smith : Nina Armstrong” When I first started singing and writing songs I (nervously) attended a few IMRO Songwriting Workshops.  They were brilliant and I have some class memories.  So I thought, for a laugh, I would include a link to this wee tune I found.  It was written and recorded in one day, in a hotel room, 10 years ago.

Broken Wings Broken Hearts

In August I was lucky enough to take part in the Maiden City Festival as part of Culture Bites.  During the week Singer/Songwriters play over lunch time in several different Cafe’s throughout the City.  This is the Third year I’ve taken part and I absolutely love it.

Anyway, I reckon that’s all the gossip for now…

Thanks for reading/listening/looking.  Enjoy the leaves turning all sorts of lovely colours 🙂

Nina x

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I’ve been a bad Blogger

Sorry, it’s been ages since my last post.  I have been so busy I have let a few things slip…

On 17th January I released my new EP “Disappear” and things before and since have been hectic….in a good way!

The launch for the EP was held in Groucho’s Music Lounge.  The venue is amazing and the atmosphere on the night was fantastic.  I really appreciate all the support I have received.  “Disappear” is available from Amazon and itunes….and for the first time in this post I’ll say….follow the link to find out more.

Disappear by Nina Armstrong on Amazon

Disappear by Nina Armstrong on itunes

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The day before the launch I was at U105 with the lovely Carolyn Stewart playing live and having a chat…….and you know, I wasn’t nervous at all…huh (sarcasm).  It’s been a long time since I’ve played on radio.  You can hear the interview by following the link below..

Nina Armstrong U105 Radio Interview – 16th January 2014

So of course there is no rest for the (I wish I was) wicked (but I’m too soft) and on 30th January I went to Belfast to launch the EP there in the Black Box as part of the Chicks with Picks songwriter night (what a class name for an all female singer/songwriter night).  Also performing on the night was the brilliant Rowena Cairns and the wonderful Wookalily…..  We all had a really fun night, and again the support was amazing.

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At this point I’m thinking I could put my feet up and have a cup of tea (or bottle of wine/vodka) but an opportunity came up to film a video with the lovely Donna and Joseph Murray at Sessions in the House.  So off I went with my friend Adele (Wookalily) and yet another brilliant days fun followed.  I’m starting to feel a bit guilty…it’s all too much fun!  Thanks so much to Donna and Joe for their hospitality…link below!

So, now I’m sitting here with wine/vodka/tea in my peripheral vision but I can’t submit just yet.  I have been writing new songs and over the next few months I have quite a few gigs so I’ll just keep on having fun, getting no housework done and possibly neglecting blog posts….details of up coming gigs are below..

2nd March Olympic Concert Room, Holiday Inn Belfast (Part of the Belfast Nashville Songwriter Festival)

Sharing the Bill with  Six Miles North, Aaron Shanley and Warren Attwell

13th March Sunflower Folk Club, Sunflower Public House, Belfast

1st April Songwriter night, Maverick Bar, Belfast

Sharing the bill with Rowena Cairns and Adele Ingram (Wookalily)….(I’m getting bored looking at these two!)

24th April The Purple Sessions, Boyles, Slane

Thanks so much for reading and thanks again for all the support!

Nina x

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Album? I’m sure I said EP?……

Hi there

Yeah, I know I said I was recording an album, and that was not a lie.  It is taking longer than expected.  So I though in the mean time I would release a three track EP which includes two original songs a and a sneaky cover….Oh I do like the 80’s, don’t you?

I am hoping it will be ready in the next couple of months.  The tracks were recorded as I would play them live and include vocals, guitar….and that’s all.  I think it makes for a lovely chilled feel to the EP.  I’ll let you know when it’s ready to roll.

Meanwhile, I played a gig in a local venue back in August.  The crowd in Sally McNally’s were great and I really appreciated the support.  If you were there, thank you!  If you weren’t, maybe we’ll get to catch up in Love Coffee in October…

Love Coffee in Lurgan is hosting several live music events over the coming month so check out the listings and see who is playing….and put 24th October in your diary.  That’ll be me.

Image

As well as gigging and organising the recording, I have been taking songwriting workshops in the local school with P2/P3 children.  It has been great fun.  I think it’s important to let children know that writing songs is something they can do if they choose.  It took me a long time to figure it out!

So that’s all for now.  If you want to keep up to date with gigs and what’s happening and just the gossip in general you can join my mailing list by following this link…..

http://eepurl.com/AHXL9

Hope things are good with you.  Bye for now…..

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It’s gone a bit Pete Tong…..but it’s cool…….

In my last blog post I mentioned a plan…..A plan to have an album recorded by the summer….as I type, that plan I suspect, is flying over head in a plane, probably looking down at me with a look of smug sarcasm and possibly even making some kind of rude or derogatory gester at me……..that’s ok plan…..that’s cool…. As I keep seeing on Facebook, there are 25 other letters in the alphabet so “Plan A” deciding to”jog on” is not a problem.  Ah, I love Facebook inspirational quotes.  They help me get things in perspective, you know?

So recording is going ahead, infact I was with Tom and Emma a few weeks back…..Emma has a Magic Cupboard and if you think of a musical instrument, the cupboard produces it…class.  Saxaphone was my favourite…

Emma                     Tom

…And as always there is usually something happening.  I am going into the studio with Wookalily at the end of the month to record on their album, which I suspect will be good craic, as Wookalily antics usually are and I have other little projects to keep me going while the album takes it’s time to come to fruition.

What I thought I’d do in this post is put up some pictures of drawings I have done over the past few months.  I thought it would kind of be like when a programme goes off the telly and while they are trying to figure out what is going on, they stick up a picture of a girl playing naughts and crosses with her slightly scarey looking doll……

Woman Flowers Man Mountains

Catch you again soon…keep in touch!

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Album, Tour….and some fun with the Wooka’s…

As a Female Singer/songwriter and single mum based in Northern Irealnd, life is rarely dull.  A bit surreal at times, maybe…but I like that. I love that one minute I am lost in a world of creative bliss wondering where are these words coming from….and the next I am galdering a chorus of “get your shoes please, get your shoesp please, get your shoes, GET YOUR SHOES!”

The reason for writing this blog is I suppose is to document my recent return to all things music because I have been away for quite a while, what with having a wee’un and all. I am enjoying it so much I thought I’d share……

In September last year I went into a studio and like a woman possessed, recorded eleven songs in one go. As is usual for me, I thought, “job done” and put my feet up and enjoyed Christmas. However since 2013 started my feet have hit the ground running, and I have realised the “job” has only begun….here’s why…..

I asked about to see if anyone knew of a cellist to play on my songs and I was so happy to be put in touch with Emma….she is a great cellist and we do a lot of laughing during practice. We have pondered whether the likes of Mumford and Sons or Rhianna for example grunt out of tune ideas in the form of “meh, meh, meh” as I do, or whether they have what I have termed “a bit of the Les Dawson’s about you” as Emma (very rarely) does….we play some music too…..

It’s an exciting process and I am loving every minute of it….I also now want a cello, so if you are reading this Santa….

This is how it's done

This is how it’s done

I want one!

As well as my own projects I have been doing a bit of singing with local female led, bluegrass influenced band, Wookalily.  Last January they were  between singers so I filled in for a bit and we all travelled to Shannonside Winter Music Festival in Clare.  My son who was three at the time joined us and is still considered an honorary member…..the reason I mention this is because over the weekend I joined Wookalily and Friends as one of the Friends (I hope, I’m only assuming!).  We played in the John Hewitt, Belfast as part of the Belnash Festival and had a great time.  I will be recording with them later in the year as will all the “Friends” as they embark on their album…

Wookalily and Friends

Wookalily and Friends

Singing with Wookalily means I can put my guitar down, belt out a song and maybe even dance about a bit….seriously, it has been done…Adele is a talented songwriter, and I am sure I have seen smoke coming from the bands instruments…

This is how all the pro's remember their words, honestly...

This is how all the pro’s remember their words, honestly…

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So, anyway,  the plan is that I will have my album finished for the Summer and I intend to embark on a House Concert Tour around Ireland.  I think this will be a lovely way to tour the album because I enjoy the intimate nature of a house show, it allows for interaction which I love, and it will suit the songs. So if you, or anyone you know, would be interested in hosting a house concert please get in touch and I can give you more details….there are so many ways to get in touch it’s not funny…..

Good “old-fashioned” email – contact@ninaarmstrong.com

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nina-Armstrong/8477852059

Reverbnation

http://www.reverbnation.com/ninaarmstrong?profile_view_source=profile_box

Twitter

https://twitter.com/NinaJArmstrong

Thanks for reading….

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