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Trad to the bone

By Staff Reporter

Ballynafeigh-based folk musician Caroline Pugh is a lover of all things ‘trad’, and combines Scottish and Irish tunes, with her own unique electronic twist, using sound feedback and samples. Having performed across the globe, in shows incorporating creative ‘pinhole’ photography she now holds weekly folk sessions in Belfast where she’s lived for the last five years.

I was born in Edinburgh, Scotland

I grew up in Edinburgh

I now live near the Ormeau Road in Ballynafeigh

I was educated at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow, where I studied Scottish Traditional Singing, was at Glasgow, while I did a Masters in Vocal Performance of Folk and Experimental Music at Newcastle University, England

My earliest memory is the family cat, who was a black and white tom, fighting and chasing a dog in our back garden. I think he won

When I was a child I wanted to be a singing, dancing, acting performer on telly

I actually became a singer and composer of eccentric new music

Worst job I’ve ever had – cleaning hotel rooms for £3 per hour. You don’t want to know what people leave in hotel rooms

Best job I’ve ever had – what I do now. Being a musician is hard work but great fun

The bravest thing I’ve ever done – a group of friends and I once helped break up a violent fight and looked after the injured man until the ambulance and police showed up. But that happened so fast that I didn’t get a chance to think about what was happening. It’s actually scarier to get up on stage and sing

The stupidest thing I’ve ever done – as a teenager, I thought that being a musician was just something everyone wants to do. So I didn’t start taking my own music seriously until I was in my 20s. Looking back, it was obvious that I couldn’t live without making music

The biggest thing I’ve yet to do – I hope I’m going to do things that are so big I can’t even imagine them right now. Perhaps I’ll be the first singer on Mars, or project a hologram of myself into thousands of living rooms and simultaneously have a cup of tea with everyone in Belfast

The people who inspire me most are whenever a shy person is convinced to sing at a party, I think it’s the most beautiful, fresh, natural performance. The best singers have no idea how good they are

The most important thing in the world is the connections between people, whether it’s friendship, love, or just trying to understand each other

I’m very bad at knowing when to be quiet

I’m very good at making things up as I go along

I’m most proud of my Mum, who can do anything she sets her mind to

My best friend would say I am still capable of surprising her

I like to relax by making cakes at 3am in a stranger’s kitchen without using a recipe

My favourite saying is ”Performance art is having the craic without words”

The last book I read was Jorge Luis Borges’ ‘Fictions’

My favourite movie is Tree of Life was my recent favourite, but my all-time is Disney’s Fantasia particularly the bit where they animate abstract coloured shapes to music

The actor that would play me in a movie of my life would be Miranda July

The song that makes me dance is anything that Paul Acroplane plays. Or Bad Romance by Lady GaGa

The song I would have played at my funeral would be Who Wants To Live Forever by Queen

The best place I’ve ever been is The Tenochtitlan pyramids in Mexico. Loch Lomond is really beautiful too

The place I have to visit before I die is Melbourne, Australia where my best friend lives

The last person I talked to on the phone was my Dad, checking the timeline of my earliest memories so I could answer this interview

The last text message I received was from the glamorous Rachel Austin

If I was a politician I would be infiltrating the system to bring it down from within

If I won the lottery I would pay off all my friends’ debts, and have a wild party where everyone has to dress up as their favourite insect

If I could describe myself in five words they would be interstellar, friendly, turquoise hug monster

If I could invite five people (living or dead) to a dinner party they would be Helena Blavatsky, Oscar Wilde, Emma Hart, Judith Butler and Reggie Watts

If I could change one thing about South Belfast it would be I would make all the shops open 24 hours, particularly the Vineyard on the Ormeau Road

My favourite thing about South Belfast is everyone is so friendly and helpful, particularly Michael the grocer and all the people in the Ballynafeigh Post Office



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