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Multi-instrument­alist, composer and songwriter Clare Sands spoke to us about the scene in Cork, as she gears up to release her new EP at the beginning of summer.

“Topping the list of my favourite venues to play in Cork would be Coughlan’s (7 Douglas Street). It’s a beautiful venue. It holds about 60 people, so it’s probably the most intimate venue in the country. It’s an excellent place to launch an album or single.

“In general, I love more local pubs and venues, like the Corner House (7 Coburg Street). They have trad music or bluegrass sessions every evening, and again it’s really intimate. You can do a crossword at the bar – it’s a beautiful, special place. The owner lives upstairs. Another fantastic venue is Charlie’s Bar (2 Union Quay). There’s live music Thursday through Monday, and it’s all free. That’s where I got my love of blues and rock ‘n’ roll, because I was actually the bartender there for ve years.

“As far as studios go, I’m currently at Wave eld Recording Studios in West Cork, and it’s a beautiful space run by Brian Casey. It’s partially in the woods and it’s very tranquil and peaceful. In Cork city, there’s one real music hero and his name is Hank Wedel. He’s been based here for years, and he plays every single weekend. When I was 17 or 18, he introduced me to everybody on the Cork music scene. He took me to all his gigs to play violin and other instrument­s: he does that for everyone, really, starting out.

“Local journalist­s who have been helpful to me personally include Pearse McCarthy on 96 FM, and Alan Donovan on Red FM. They’re great supporters of Irish music. It’s important when you’re starting out, to be able to do live sessions on the radio and get a feel for the industry. Those guys gave me a great start a few years ago, so I’m forever grateful.”

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