Yana is a singer-songwriter from the Czech Republic who found her spiritual home in Ireland. She writes what can be described as atmospheric folk with Celtic influences. Her intention is to make the listeners think, read between the lines. She released her debut EP ‘Distant Shore’ in 2020 and worked with the likes of Liam Ó Maonlaí (Hothouse Flowers) and Colm Mac Con Iomaire (The Frames) in the process. The pandemic period brought her more time to be creative which resulted in her forthcoming debut album ‘Journey of the Soul’.
“The album can be described as a concept album. An intriguing concept in its own right. A friend once told me she feels I am creating concept releases and she mentioned Glen Hansard as an example of someone doing the same. It is a thrill to be compared to one of my heroes in that regard. I don’t really like to be put in the box, yet people have described my music as atmospheric folk in the past. You can undeniably hear the Celtic influences throughout. The unifying factor of the album could be vulnerability. The themes range from mental health, adapting to changes and coping with new reality, to romance, loss and celebrating heroes. It’s also a combination of collaboration placed and received.”
What are your favourite memories of writing and/or recording the album?
“There have been amazing moments during the recording, l loved everything about the process. My favourite studio moments were recording with my long-time friend Aidan O’Grady, drummer of Irish band The Pale. We go way back and it seemed to me Aidan was looking forward to the recording even more than I was. We had so much fun and both felt like this wasn’t the last time we did something together. I need to give a big shout out here to another good friend of mine and fine songwriter in his own right, Keith Burke, who added some cool electric guitar sounds to a song called ‘Reach Out’ and added some wonderful vocals to it, channelling the Celtic spirits in the process. But not only that, he let me play his gorgeous twelve string guitar on a very special album track called ‘My Anchor’ which is as close to a love song as I will ever get. I’ve been a big fan of twelve string guitar for many years, always had a soft spot for that wonderful sound. That song has an unmistakable Celtic feel courtesy of the harp played by Alannah Thornburgh and acoustic guitar and mandolin played by a guitarist extraordinaire and my dear friend and mentor J Eoin. He’s a golden soul who’s done a lot for me over the years and continues to do so.”
“Having the percussionist Éamonn Cagney in the studio was another memorable moment. He completely mesmerized us all. And of course, working with Maurice Culligan was something I will never forget. A real masterclass that gave me so much and made me discover things I had no idea I am capable of. Going out of your comfort zone is a necessary part of growth both as an artist and a human being.”
Do you have a favourite song on the album? Which one and why is it your favourite?
“It’s a tricky task to pick just one favourite song. I love them all, each for a different reason. But if I was backed to the corner to choose just one, it would be ‘The Traveller’. Why is it my favourite? Because it completes the circle in many ways. Why I do what I do and how I do. It is an homage to the late Fergus O’Farrell, frontman of Interference, who passed away seven years ago. And it was actually his passing that prompted me to throw myself in the music and never look back. And it’s the best thing I could have ever done. The song expresses the joy and gratitude of having such an inspirational human being in my life, as a dear friend and biggest inspiration, not just in music but in life in general. What makes this song stand out? I’m joined by Maurice Culligan, keyboard player of Interference, on piano and lead vocals. How often do you get to play with your heroes? Some never do. And I feel very fortunate I had this opportunity.”
‘Journey of the Soul’ is out 30th April. A pre-save is available.
Album cover photo by Dave Keegan
Artwork by Alan Tobin
Written by: leancool20
Aidan O’Grady Alannah Thornburgh Celtic Colm Mac Con Iomaire Czech Republic Distant Shore Éamonn Cagney Fergus O'Farrell folk Glen Hansard Hothouse Flowers Interference Ireland J Eoin Journey of the Soul Keith Burke Liam Ó Maonlaí Maurice Culligan My Anchor Reach Out The Pale Yana
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