Transforming her ruminations on a troubled past relationship into an elegant, exquisitely raw new offering, Irish musician and producer Constance Keane aka Fears has shared her latest single ’16’. Released via her own imprint TULLE, the track is a combination of meditative synth loops, tentative beats – inspired by the traditional Irish bodhrán drum – and the instrumentals of her late friend, classically trained cellist and trans rights activist Sophie Gwen Williams, which all mesh together to create a truly soothing, magnetic soundscape.
Accompanied by a beautiful video, shot in The Maharees in County Kerry in south west Ireland and directed by Zoe Greenway who performs alongside Keane in punk band M(h)aol, the visuals are a poignant tribute to Williams too.
“Sophie was an incredible artist and a very close friend of mine,” Keane explains. “We did a filmed performance together last March, thinking we’d get a chance to record it ‘properly’ in a studio, but she passed away before we could. Zoe and I dedicate the video for ’16’ to her memory. I had made her a dress for the original performance out of pink tulle – the same fabric I have with me in the video. She was a really inspirational and encouraging person, and I wanted to create something that shows how I carry her with me, even though I no longer have her physically here.”
Using her art as a canvas to express and process her grief, Keane’s soft vocals and candid lyrics – “It’s been a while since I cried / unusual for me / normally once a week / since we were 16” – combine to create a delicate, shadowy landscape for her listeners to dwell in. On her debut album Oíche, she underwent a significant and moving personal metamorphosis and now with ’16’ she continues to shapeshift and thread her own experiences into immersive, illuminating sounds.
Fears will perform live in London as part of a TULLE Collective showcase on 7th May at Chat’s Palace. Watch the video for ’16’ below.
Sophie Gwen Williams was an acclaimed performance artist, classically trained musician and trans rights activist from Northern Ireland who co-founded We Exist, a charity which raises vital funds to help trans people across the UK pay for healthcare costs. She was also the chair and one of the original members of The 343, a Belfast-based queer art collective. Here she also founded 343 radio, which is Ireland’s first ever queer radio.
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