Judy Collins - folk legend returns to Galway

She gave Leonard Cohen his start

Judy Collins.

Judy Collins.

IN 1961, a young singer-songwriter, originally from Seattle, but now part of the thriving folk scene in New York's Greenwich Village, released her debut album, A Maid Of Constant Sorrow.

The singer was Judy Collins. She has since become a legend of American folk music, celebrated for her peerless interpretations and for bringing the songs of Leonard Cohen to the world's attention. She will play the Town Hall Theatre on Thursday January 30 at 8pm.

The closing track on that debut album was 'The Rising Of The Moon', an Irish ballad inspired by the 1798 Rebellion. The song was both a confirmation of deep Irish roots, and of a long association with Ireland that continues to this day.

"Our relatives came in the 1730s/40s, the Scots-Irish. I think they came from north of Belfast," Judy told me ahead of her previous visit to Galway in 2015. "They fought in the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. They were all Irish on my father's side, and half on my mother's side. They would sing these songs. I just picked it up without thinking about it. It's something I was born into."

And how did she give Leonard Cohen his start? "He came to my door in 1966," she said. "He said 'I can't play guitar or sing, I've just written a lot of these lyrics and put some music to a couple of them.' He played me 'Suzanne', 'The Stranger Song', and 'Dress Rehearsal Rag'. He was very determined that I be the one to hear them. I had a reputation for getting songs out. Leonard said to me that I put him on the map and that was great. He sent me a tape every 18 months with new songs, and would choose some to record for the next album, and he did that for years."

For tickets contact 091 - 569777 or see www.tht.ie

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