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The Corrs
When you’re an Irish band just starting out, you have some impressive footsteps to follow. U2 were already worldwide legends back in the 1980s, and the early 1990s saw mainstream rock and pop fans flock to the music of The Cranberries and Boyzone. While these bands have created some of the biggest hits in music history, it’s a group of four siblings that put Irish music in the spotlight.

Back with their fifth studio album Home, The Corrs’ sound has never reflected their roots so truly. Home not only reflects their Irish heritage but also their lineage. Their parents Gerry and Jean Corr always encouraged their love for music, and a major source of the material for Home was an old handwritten songbook owned by their mother who died in 1999. “We've always blended our Celtic influences with the songs we write,” says vocalist Andrea. “That's the root of one side of our music and our inspiration. It's a big part of who we are.” Home is dedicated to their mother Jean. “She used to play every weekend in pubs with daddy and she'd written all these Irish songs out in a book,” Andrea says. “They're songs we've loved over the years and because our parents played them in their band, they're very special to us.”

The Corrs were a little known band outside of their native Ireland when their debut album was released more than 10 years ago. They had already performed live in Boston and could boast US Senator Ted Kennedy as one of their fans, but the world at large was oblivious to this quartet. Then in 1995 they released Forgiven, Not Forgotten, and the strains of violin in its opening single Runaway caught people’s attention. Jim, Sharon, Caroline and Andrea, siblings from the town in Dundalk, Ireland, had their first taste of success in taking Irish culture to the rest of the world. But it was the track Erin Shore from the same album that reflected the true Celtic influences in their music as the 4-minute long instrumental, complete with the violin, bodhrán and tin whistle, blew away any criticism of The Corrs being just another pop band.

But The Corrs didn’t start out as a traditional Irish music group. They got their break in the movies when they auditioned for and won the part of a band in the 1991 film The Commitments. After the film, they decided to pursue music as a full-time career. With Caroline and Andrea still in school, The Corrs had a difficult time trying to cultivate their sound.

While they had strong lyrics and impressive instrumentation, they realised there was one large factor missing ~ a drummer. “We had the band going and were just writing together, but at the time Sharon wasn't playing violin in the band which is really strange,” says Caroline. “It sounds so hard to believe, but we were really experimenting with our sound and instruments. Nobody knew what they were doing.” Caroline played the keyboard, and with the help of her then boyfriend (and aspiring drummer) she learned how to play the drums as well. Sharon, already a skilled violinist, decided to incorporate the instrument into their sound. With the inclusion of the violin and the bodhrán (Irish frame drum played by Caroline), The Corrs were now completely equipped for their Celtic style.

You can read the rest of our feature on The Corrs in the February 2006 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.


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