SINGER Sharon Cuffe, daughter of the late legendary entertainer Mick Cuffe, is very much in demand as a performer at weddings and funerals, writes Tom Gillespie.
The Belcarra native, now resident in Parke with her husband, Jason, and children Taylor (12), Brian (9) and Charlie (2), is available for functions all over Connaught.
In 1996 Sharon and Jason moved to Galway, where they lived for 12 years. When they moved back to Mayo she worked in Baxter in Castlebar and when hubby Jason got employment in London she made the choice to remain at home and look after their children. Thanks to Knock airport, Jason gets home every weekend.
Of the musical move, Sharon explains: I have been doing the odd funeral or wedding for family and friends. Now I have decided to give it a good run as the kids are that bit bigger and I am able to focus my time on the singing now.
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I am looking at the wedding, both church and civil, and funeral market rather than pub gigs.
I usually play with Tom Lyons, who accompanies me on guitar, and I have a number of other musicians available, depending on the requirements of the clients. It depends on peoples tastes. If they are looking for just a singer and a musician or if they want something bigger, I can accommodate them, and, of course, it depends on their budget.
Sharon added: The wedding is the biggest day in a couples life so I like to plan the church ceremony and advise the couple on what is allowed, what is not, and what is appropriate. I like to get a feel from them about what their tastes are and what type of ceremony they are looking for and I will tailor-make the ceremony for them.
I would have had couples that were big into a song from a metal group and I can tone it down and sing it in a different way. It is usually the music that accompanies it that makes it loud but the words could be appropriate for the occasion.
During the Mass I would go with the church side, the hymns, the traditional type of stuff.
At weddings you do get more of an opportunity to spend a lot of time with the couple where you can go into a lot of detail. They will give you a list and often change their minds until we get it right.
Funerals, she said, are more immediate and there usually isnt time to plan for these things. A lot of people are in shock and very upset and they tend to leave it to me to sing what I feel is appropriate. There may be a particular song or a piece of music that is synonymous to the person that will make it that more personal.
Sharon has performed at many weddings, funerals and cabarets over the years, and is very aware of the high standards and attention to detail that people rightfully expect from their singer/musicians when they book them to perform for their special occasion or event.
She continued: From the very initial contact with prospective clients, through to the first meeting and subsequent booking, I endeavour to provide a personal, professional service, which includes the offering of suggestions for appropriate songs or music, a list of the songs and music available, and also the option of extra vocalists and musicians, if requested.
Your wedding day will probably be one of the most memorable and important days of your life, and the church/civil ceremonies are an integral part of this day. Choosing the most appropriate, special music for this part of the day showcases your own personal feelings and emotions and highlights to your family and guests just how much the day means to you.
I am there to assist and guide you as best I can as to what songs/music may best enhance your ceremony. I have a vast repertoire of songs and music, both traditional and modern, and while generally I am accompanied by a guitar player, I also liaise with a number of other vocalists and musicians, depending on the style of ceremony you would like, and the budget you may be working to.
Naturally, if there are songs which have a special meaning to clients which do not appear on my list, I can learn them on request. My primary role is to make the ceremony as magical as possible, and to offer every assistance I can.
Sharon admitted: I did get my voice from my dad. There is no question about that. When I was younger I would have sang with him in the pubs.
Sharon's father, the singer, musician and comedian Mick Cuffe, passed away in September 2002, aged 50 years.
He had an extraordinary voice and stage presence, which he shared with millions during his 30-plus year career. His voice has been likened to Roy Orbison and his wit to that of Brendan Grace. He was affectionately known in Mayo as Mickuf.
From Ballydavock in Belcarra, he was son of Tom and Margaret, known as Peggy. He began his working life with his father in the family garage business.
Mick Cuffes amazing talent on guitar plus his ambition to perform as an entertainer led to his many public performances in Ireland. He captivated audiences wherever he sang or played his low-slung guitar while he also entertained with his wonderful tales.
He joined the Brose Walsh Showband during the 1970s. In later years he was to appear on Hughie Greens Opportunity Knocks and the TV show Stairway to Stardom.
During the 1980s he was persuaded to perform in Dublin but returned to his home county where he continued his career.
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