“So, where are you from?” Always one of the first questions you ask, isn’t it? And one you get used to answering almost without thinking. My standard answer: “The west of Ireland, County Clare. A small town called Ballyvaughan. An area called the Burren. Limestone. Beautiful. Beside the Atlantic ocean.” But of course, that doesn’t begin to cover it.
Meet Archie Simpson – teacher, mentor, soul father and my inspiration for every day.
There are some people you meet in life who have a light shining inside them and cannot help but bring joy to all those they encounter. Archie is one of those rare and wonderful people. He taught me kindness, open-hearted singing, how to breathe, and to live in the moment.
How Archie became a singing teacher and founder of the Lismorahaun Singers is a three-cups-of-tea story, best heard on a November evening curled up in an armchair in the house where it all began. But since we can’t always have it all, the next best thing is to hear him tell the story in this interview: Archie Simpson on The Wild Hour. The choice of tea is completely up to you but I recommend Lyons, Barry’s or Yorkshire Gold.
The Lismorahaun Singers are a wonderful choir that come together to rehearse every Sunday evening in North Clare. Their story begins with a small singsong around Archie’s piano fifteen years ago; today the Lismorahaun Singers number over one hundred members, ranging in age from 7 to 65. The choir sponsored my singing lessons in the years before I went to college and continue to foster young singers today. My first performance experiences were as part of the choir and I could not have asked for a more inspiring baptism in song. There is simply no better way to bookend your week than by getting together and singing glorious music with your friends and neighbours raising their voices alongside you. There is no audition – if you want to sing, you join. This spirit of inclusion is instilled in every performance and they sing with full voices and open hearts.
Want to hear them? You can listen to their latest album Séada (Jewels) on Spotify here: