In the West of Ireland at the foot of the Ox Mountains, a small village called Attymachugh (near Foxford) has given birth to a unique female voice that is turning heads and getting extensive airplay on radio stations throughout Ireland. Bernadette Ruddy is the girl with the golden voice and golden red hair. Her voice is a treasure with its rich vocal tones and touching delivery. It was these attributes that caught the attention of the prolific songwriter Pete St John. On hearing Bernadette sing at one of her concerts Pete St John recognised immediately that this was the artist he had patiently waited for to beautifully deliver a very special song.
Bernadette is steeped in the Arts and is very much in the creative field. She is a qualified secondary school teacher of Art and Design, has received awards for her song writing and is an accomplished artist. Her paintings depict scenes of County Mayo and the West of Ireland. She has a deep love for her homeland and this comes through in her artwork with rich earthy tones and warm hues capturing the heart and soul of the viewer. Her work can be seen on her website www.bernadetteruddy.com.
Bernadette has this to say about her passion for the West of Ireland and her connection with ' A Song for Mayo'
"I am very proud of where I come from in the West of Ireland. The natural beauty which surrounds me really inspires and motivates all that I do. When people visit my website they get to see the West of Ireland through my eyes. I like to get across the beauty and magic of Mayo to the viewer. When I sing a song I paint pictures in minds and when I paint I put song into hearts.
To create something makes us aware of ourselves, our gifts and abilities. Embracing the fact that we all are unique and loving the difference of each other’s talents is the key to appreciation of the arts. When I first heard the words of the song that Pete wrote, tears flowed down my face. The song 'A Song for Mayo' is close to my heart and when you hear me singing it you will hear the pride and hurt that happens in the delivery of the song.
Pride of one's County and Country comes with the knowledge of its history. My pride is rooted back to when my grandfather his neighbours, friends and family members had to endure the hardship of long journey across the water to distant shores in order to make a living for their families back home. The woman worked very hard in the bogs and the fields. The food was scarce as the land was barely arable but these brave people had a wonderful resilience and faith which carried them through very difficult times but they never gave up and always kept the faith.
I look at the landscape and I appreciate its secrets and stories.
My love for its people who have gone before me and my admiration for their determination inspires me.
They worked at one with the West of Ireland's rugged terrain and never gave up. Never giving up on someone or something is the meaning of true love and the people in the West of Ireland have that never-say-die attitude which has brought them to achieve great things overtime. Even though they had to emigrate they never gave up their dreams of their culture. To get them through their home sickness they remembered the pure fresh mountain air the open space they had been brought up in and of course the song that brought them right back home to the side of the fire where their loved ones were lovingly gathered. It was these thought and memories that gave life to their soul and seen them through hard times.
Pete St John through his lyrics has the ability to capture people’s emotions and help connect them to their human experience. I was always a big fan of Pete's work and his song
'The Fields of Athenry' was always a favourite in our house. 'A Song for Mayo' captured my heart straight away and I connected with every word and every line. I knew that when I was singing it I was singing it for all the people of and from the West of Ireland.
Emigration happened and is now sadly happening all over again and this song relates to all those torn apart by these distressing times. Families are been torn apart by the wave of emigration but this song brings us all together as a people. I believe I have put my heart and soul into 'A Song for Mayo'.
I hope you listen and enjoy this beautifully penned Pete St John song, it is truly a treasure".
Bernadette Ruddy is one of the most experienced concert artists in Ireland and her talent was recognized at the 2012 Irish Entertainment Awards when she won the category ' Irelands best Singer/ Songwriter.
She worked as Special Guest on the Brendan Grace Show for 10 years and will now pursue a career as a solo artist in her own right. It should prove resounding success and it couldn't happen to a more professional artist.