Folk Alliance International’s 2021 Folk Unlocked Virtual Conference: Part 4 of 8 – Karan Casey

This article is the fourth of an eight-part series covering Folk Alliance International’s 2021 Folk Unlocked Virtual Conference, dedicated to Karan Casey and her festival performance as part of the four-artist Culture Ireland Stage showcase, a joint effort between Folk Alliance International and Culture Ireland (Irish: Cultúr Éireann). Culture Ireland is a division of the Government of Ireland’s Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media. Their mission is to promote the Irish arts worldwide.

Karan Casey is an Irish folk singer-songwriter born in Kilmeaden, Ireland and living in Cork. On the evening of Tuesday, February 23rd (CST), Casey streamed her previously-recorded set for the Folk Unlocked festival, which included a sample from her latest album, Hieroglyphs That Tell the Tale.

Image courtesy of

With a PhD in music from the University of Limerick, loads of experience singing jazz, and eleven solo albums under her belt, Karan Casey made it abundantly clear during her performance that she is a multi-dimensional folk artist with much to offer. She delivered dazzling, soaring, crystal-timbred vocals in both English and Irish, which were at times accompanied by the cello playing of a co-performer. But there was more to her music than simply gorgeous sounds, which Casey explained during a brief pause between songs. As a co-founder and the chair of FairPlé—an inclusive, grass-roots organization working to resolve the gender imbalance in Irish traditional and folk music—Casey imbues her songs with a sense of social responsibility, and some in particular seek to write women back into the narrative.

Note: Unfortunately, I was unable to secure an interview with Karan Casey.

Next, I will cover the performance of Irish singer-songwriter Dani Larkin, as part of the Culture Ireland Stage showcase. Make sure to visit Big City Folks to check it out!