Vocalist and songwriter Sue Rynhart is releasing a single We Are on Time (Flower Seeds) ahead of her appearances at this autumn’s Galway, Cork and London Jazz Festivals. She spoke from Inis Oírr in the Aran islands off the west coast of Ireland to Stephen Graham for LondonJazz News:
“The song conjures up memories. It is a sort of a mission to awaken the senses in people.”
Sue Rynhart wrote the lyrics and music for We Are On Time, and the performance features jazz pianist Huw Warren, known for his work with June Tabor, Quercus and Maria Pia De Vito, accompanying. He also co-arranged the setting.
Sue speaks of recording her improvisations as part of her composition method, allowing the music to develop naturally, the words and the music arriving at the same time.
The Dublin jazz scene is diverse, she says, and lively: “It’s hopping”. She mentions the IMC (Improvised Music Company), who are the main jazz promoter active in the Irish capital, and says that jazz and blues venue Arthur’s is “a hub” as too is DCU Jazz Degree Course where she taught vocal technique for two years, lecturing on the degree course, stopping only when her third child was born. She continues to balance writing and performing widely and bringing up her family with composer Dylan Rynhart. Her mother, she tells me, used “to sing everywhere: singing was part of our culture”. Her father was a guitarist in a beat group. Referring to her siblings she continues, “we were singing before we could speak, mimicking. When we were older, singing was normal over the dishes.”
A lyric soprano, as she later in the conversation describes her voice, particularly in terms of performing with the choir of Christ Church Cathedral, she mentions some names randomly of music she listened to while growing up: The Carpenters, Bach, Poulenc, Emma Kirkby.
She refers to wordless singing as an “individual language” and mentions singing Ligeti in a choral setting – “all about open vowel sounds”.
Sue Rynhart took jazz singing lessons and built up her percussive, instinctive side through this process. She is known for her appearances within Dylan Rynhart’s Fuzzy Logic Ensemble since 2002. She explains: “There is a new Fuzzy Logic album coming and I will be singing at the launch.”
Her interests are wide-ranging and span centuries, from contemporary groups and jazz back to early music. She has studied classical singing at the Royal Irish Academy of Music and a BA Mus and MA Mus (historical studies) at Maynooth university in Kildare. A teacher there suggested that her voice would suit early music, a direction she pursued by later participating in masterclasses with Emma Kirkby, Evelyn Tubb and counter tenor Nicholas Clapton. She also became interested in the music of John Dowland (1563- 1626) an interest that she shares with Huw Warren.
Sue met Huw at the Galway Jazz Festival and after travelling to Wales where he lives began a collaboration. Most recently the duo has toured in Ireland appearing for instance in Sligo Jazz Festival in late-July.
When asked if she listens to her albums Crossings and Signals, she replies: “rarely”. “Listening to different music is all part of the flow of creativity. Today I am listening to the Waterboys and Anne Briggs. I do revisit my albums in performance and improvisation and in this sense, the past is never arriving and never leaving.” (pp)
Sue Rynhart / Dan Bodwell / Matthew Jacobson / Galway Jazz Festival
Sunday 6 October 2019 15:00
Mick Lally Theatre Galway Jazz Festival
Sue Rynhart and Rob Luft / Liverpool Irish Festival / UK
Sunday 20 October 2019 20:00
Opening act for Kilkelly at LEAF Liverpool Irish Festival
Sue Rynhart and Huw Warren/ NQ Jazz/ Manchester
Monday 21 October 2019 21:00
NQ Jazz at the Whisky Jar, Manchester
Sue Rynhart & Huw Warren
Friday 25 October 13:00
UCC FUAIM Series, Cork
Sue Rynhart / Dan Bodwell/ Cork Jazz Festival
Saturday 26 October 2019 22:00
Sue Rynhart/ Dan Bodwell/ Cork Jazz Festival
Sue Rynhart and Huw Warren / EFG London Jazz Festival / UK
Friday 22 November 2019 13:00
Pizza Express (Soho) EFG London Jazz Festival
LINKS: Sue Rynhart’s website