Raimonda Masiulytė-Ramchurn

Raimonda bringing jazz twist to Fleadh’s end

Mullingar-based singer Raimonda Masiulytė-Ramchurn will take to the stage at the Cúige Studios, 17-23 Dominick Street, Mullingar this Sunday night, August 7 (8pm) to bring something different to the final hours of Fleadh Cheoil 2022.

Jazz and swing will be the order of the evening, as the Lithuania native is joined by Lee Meehan (guitar) and Daniel Rorke (saxophone) for a two hour session of soulful and sassy tunes in Mullingar’s newest arts venue.

Raimonda – a celebrity in Lithuanian who once reached the final of the Baltic state’s Eurovision Song Contest qualifiers – moved to Ireland in 2010 and has since settled in Mullingar with her husband Vimal. As one of Ireland’s musical capitals – the home of the likes of Joe Dolan, Niall Horan, Tanya O’Callaghan, The Blizzards, The Academic and of course the Fleadh – Raimonda was naturally drawn to it.

The arrival of Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in town has only intensified her love for her adopted home.

“This is my first time ever at a fleadh, and I think it’s such a wonderful opportunity for someone who is from outside of Ireland to get yourself immersed completely in the culture,” Raimonda said. “You could go into any spot in town and there will be something happening in every corner.

“It’s really cool and I'm enjoying it so far. There have been too many pints of Guinness! But I’ve met so many people, not just from Ireland but from Lithuania, America and beyond.”

Although the Fleadh is on a much larger scale, it reminds Raimonda of Baltic Day in Temple Bar, an event she was involved in some years ago which introduced Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian culture to Dublin through music, traditional dress and street entertainment. It also reminds her of Lithuania’s own version of the Fleadh – the Dainų Šventė (Festival of Songs), a “massive annual cultural event” involving Lithuanian traditional musicians and choirs.

“The Fleadh is very special however, because it’s Irish, and I don’t think there is a culture as distinctive and yet so widely celebrated as Irish culture,” said Raimonda. “If you go to Paris, you will find traces of Irish culture somewhere.

“I’ve also never seen anything like the Fleadh before. It’s really enjoyable.”

Since arriving in Mullingar, Raimonda has been busy writing new material and recording, as well as performing with local artists. She was part of the state-funded Midland Voices Live in June, which brought together a host of local artists at Mullingar pub Canton Casey’s for a live performance produced by Wolfshire Productions.

She hopes to do more jazz and swing gigs going forward, and with that in mind, Cúige Studios is her next port of call.

“I met Andrea [Cullen] at Cúige during one of their art classes; I was her model. We got talking, and she found out I was a jazz singer. So we decided to do something different for the end of the Fleadh,” Raimonda explained.

Doors for this Sunday night’s gig open at 8pm on Sunday night, with the show starting shortly afterwards. Tickets are €20, and can be purchased online or at the door.

“You just walk upstairs, and there’s a little stage. It’s a very intimate, so it’s first come, first served – and it’s ‘bring your own bottle’!” she continued.

“We’re expecting something very cool. With me I’ll have Lee [Meehan] – who has Mullingar connections – on guitar, and Daniel [Rorke], an Irish-Australian on saxophone. They’re wonderful musicians, and I’ve had some great feedback putting out the word.

“So, it’ll be something new, and maybe an intro to something else happening in the future!”