In september 2019, Canadian Blues singer Kalyna Rakel finished a European tour by visiting Ireland to play two shows at the Clonakilty International Guitar Festival. On arrival in West Cork the weather was bleak. I was introduced to Kalyna in De’Barra’s Folk Music Venue, base camp for the festival. I couldn’t help but tell her all about West Cork when the sun shines. “You won’t believe it down here when the weather is good. It’s like nowhere else in the world” I talked about the pseudo subtropical coast, the turquoise sea, ancient megalithic sites, luscious green fields, cows. “If it’s sunny tomorrow, we should make a video”. Not expecting it to be the sunniest day of 2019, which it became. I had to put my lens where my mouth was. We made a video, and thanks to our drivers Vic, Ronan and Jules, turquoise sea, megalithic ruins, green fields and cows all manifested before our eyes. The perfect day out in West Cork.
“The dozen originals on Before & After You announce a new roots-rock voice has arrived. Whether she is tearing up the highway on Yellow-Blue or crooning like a mix of Amy Winehouse and Rickie Lee Jones on My First Love Song, Rakel sounds completely in control of her voice and message.” – VANCOUVER SUN
“Her velvet voice and soulful melodies are as pleasing as it gets, and her lyrics are both intimate and inspirational.” – KEEP WALKING MUSIC, MADRID
“She sings in a way that feels so raw and natural and that is entirely unique to her. With every note she sings, the listener gets a feeling of unbridled authenticity…. real without ever alienating listeners; something I haven’t felt since Lily Allen.” – STEREO STICKMAN
“Kalyna Rakel sent out soul shivers into the hearts of her intent listeners” – FOLK MUSIC ONTARIO (WEBSITE 2019)