Roisin El Cherif – Sea Sessions

Winner of one of the two “Unsigned” slots at Sea Sessions, Roisin El Cherif is fairly new on the music scene, but already making waves. With her haunting vocals and distinctive traditional edge to her music, it’s easy to see why she and her band accumulated a nice crowd in the small North Shore Stage tent.

We caught up with Roisin after the weekend and had a chat;

Roisin 1.jpg

Was this your first time at Sea Sessions?

Yes, it was so much fun!  The organisers and stage crew were very nice and accommodating. Big thanks to Ray O’Donoghue, Brian Barnes, Suzie Shorten and Niall Barrett.

Congrats on winning one of the “Unsigned” slots – how did that come about?

I submitted my music to the Sea Sessions website for the unsigned slot, I think. Didn’t think much of it at the time. It was a great surprise 🙂

How long have you been playing with the band that you played with at Sea Sessions, and how did you guys come together?

Our first gig together was April, so we haven’t been a unit that long. But we’ve managed to play a lot of gigs in that short space.  I’m lucky to have found them. They’re great musicians and hilarious guys. I played a few acoustic sets with the acoustic guitarist Cappy, who is a solo artist in his own right and goes under the name Kolumbus. He has been a supportive friend on my musical journey. The guys (David-Paul Niland, Darragh O’Brien and Diarmuid O’Brien) are from Galway where I’m a blow in. I contacted Jimmy Moran who plays with Amazing Apples in relation to performing with a full band. He used to be in a band with the guys and has played with us at a couple of gigs. He set us up! A great match maker 🙂

You seem to have hit the music scene just in the last year or so, yet you’ve done really well in a short space of time… How did it happen for you?

Thank you! I don’t really know what’s happening, is it happening??  I’ve spent 4 years writing songs, maybe more. On and off. They weren’t for anyone but me. They were demos or just ideas. Most aren’t even produced! I like writing lyrics. I got a few songs produced at Orphan Recording Studios – by Gavin Glass, Scott Haliday and Peter Ashmore. “Kerosene” being one of them. I decided to make a music video for “Kerosene” and see what happens…?  The gigs and band came after that.

Roisin 4.jpg
You have quite an impressive TV and film resume – what made you want to make the change? Or is it something that you see yourself going back to?

Thank you 🙂 I don’t see it as too much of a change. I still work in Film/TV. Music isn’t really paying the bills just yet. I feel they overlap. I have written stories to most of my songs, in my head. Getting them on paper is a struggle. But music videos are part of the package, how you express yourself – lyrics and visual art. Atmosphere. It’s part of the process that I love. Most of the time I’ve got an idea for a music video before I’ve even finished song! I’d like to do both.

You wrote and co-directed the video for “Kerosene”, yes? How did you come up with the concept? 

Correct. But I got a lot of help and encouragement from friends in the film industry. A big shout to Niall O’Connor, the DOP/Camera man who helped me from start to finish and understood what I was trying to achieve. I actually can’t remember in depth the first draft. Kerosene went through a couple of different concepts before I decided on the finished product. Essentially it’s about letting go. Walking away from something you invested a lot of time in. I incorporated that notion in the story of a girl haunted by her demons or other selves. The voices of reason. Apparently in my head they have antler masks? Haha.


Are you working on any new releases at the moment? Or are you just concentrating on gigging?

Will be recording at end of month. I’m writing another music video for next single “Addiction”.

More antler women. Oh god, I’m obsessed.

Do you have any advice for anyone who is feeling a little lost/lonely and are having trouble finding somewhere to fit in?

Keep going. You’re stronger than you know. Find your hunger and go after it. Life can be lonely sometimes. And being lost is confusing and disheartening but it’s all part of it. Nothing lasts forever. X

Words by Aoife, Photos by Lissa ©


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