Tag Archives: 2013

Thoughts On Closing 2013 and Some Ideas for 2014 :)

Wow, what a year it has been! 2013 was very, VERY good to me and I really feel I have grown and found myself (at least a little bit anyway!) with interesting experiences abroad, another great year at college and more musical adventures.

I always tend to feel a little sad on New Years Eve, I get a bit nostalgic and the passing of time grows ever on my mind! Today however, I do not feel one bit nostalgic- HOORAY! I’m looking forward to some great company tonight and a few drinks!

Party tonight!
Party tonight!

I’m looking forward to 2014, I plan to wrap a few loose ends musically and put out some sort of release by the end of the summer! I have my thoughts on this and I’m very excited. It’s more of a personal goal than anything, something I’ve always wanted to do…

Stick around and you will be kept posted 😀

I’m ever grateful for a great year of friendship, love, health, family, education and music.

I wish all my friends and followers a great 2014 filled with blessings, positivity, creativity and good health. Have a rockin’ New Years Eve wherever you are!

Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters to everyone! Let’s celebrate the new galactic year! 😉

:)
🙂
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New Music: “Avradî” is an Instrumental For The Soul

I have been feeling compelled to create some new music lately, especially the last couple of days. In recent times I have been feeling a strain and somewhat hampered when it comes to creation but tonight I put all thoughts of negativity out of my head and let my creative mind wander.

I knocked off the click track and just played. I played what I have been feeling in my head and my heart. There are emotions and thoughts bound to this piece of music which I cannot disclose here.

This all sounds rather holistic and I suppose it is, my approach to creativity and music has always been focused on my Higher Self and expressing my inner-most thoughts.

So I’m putting this piece of music online because I feel it’s an accurate representation of who I am and what’s going on in my head at this point in my life.

New Song: “Close Your Eyes” feat. Fiona McErlane and Keith Caffrey

Today I’m sharing my latest music production project “Close Your Eyes” which features my guest vocalists Fiona McErlane and Keith Caffrey.

I talked about the creative and recording process in my previous blog post.

I finished the mix last night and I’m delighted with the response already to the song. This was yet another very personal and emotional project. I hope you enjoy it!

“Close Your Eyes” was composed by Stephanie Caffrey and the lyrics and vocal were written by Keith Caffrey.

Female vocals: Fiona McErlane
Male vocals: Keith Caffrey
Acoustic drums: Craig Sullivan
Traditional harp: Fiona McErlane
Acoustic piano: Stephanie Caffrey
Electric guitars: Stephanie Caffrey
Synths: Stephanie Caffrey.

Recorded, produced and mixed by Stephanie Caffrey.
Special thanks to studio assistant Gavin Clarke.

Recorded in Dundalk Institute of Technology Feb-May 2013.
Copyright Stephanie Caffrey.

Fighting the Loudness War: Dynamic Range Day 2013

Dynamic Range Day 2013 is nearly upon us! On Friday March 22nd audiophiles around the world will turn their sound systems up to 11 to raise awareness that overly-compressed music does not sound better than dynamic music just because it’s louder.

Louder? Isn’t louder music better? Ah well now, we all enjoy loud music… but the point is: make the music louder by turning up the volume on the car stereo (or whatever music reproduction medium you enjoy listening to- mind your ears though peeps, for God’s sake!) and not through heavy mastering compression, etc!

According to dynamicrangeday.co.uk, music has been getting more and more crushed through the use of heavy compression in recent years, for fear of not being “competitive” – and in the process removing all the contrast, all the light, shade and depth – ruining the sound.

Dynamic Range Day supporters want to trade the “louder is better” concept for an alternative message: “Dynamic music sounds better”.

http://www.dynamicrangeday.co.uk/
http://www.dynamicrangeday.co.uk/

There are some very interesting articles on the official Dynamic Range Day website including, What is the Loudness War ? and links to other interesting stuff: Winning the Loudness Wars | Stereophile.com.

A cool competition one may like to enter (if you’re not in you can’t win, right?!) can be found at Dynamic Range Day Competition 2013. Cool gear such as an SSL Bus Compressor (in a SuperAnalogue Mynx mini X-rack) and Bowers & Wilkins CM-1 speakers are such prizes. It’s well worth entering!

What can we do in the meantime? Read and share this: The Loudness War – An open letter to the music industry… Use the free dynamic range meter plug-in on your master track when mixing (download it here: tt_dynamic_range_meter_mac_1_0.dmg.)… get involved, support Dynamic Range Day on Facebook, Twitter etc. Wear a t-shirt!

http://masteringmedia.spreadshirt.co.uk/
http://masteringmedia.spreadshirt.co.uk/
http://dynamicrangeday.co.uk/
http://www.dynamicrangeday.co.uk/

“Every playback device in the world has an output gain control on it. Record and master the music at musical levels and allow the listener to play it as they wish. Do not fall slave to making all music sound equally loud on iPod Shuffles or the iTunes program itself !” – Bob Ludwig. (http://dynamicrangeday.co.uk/supporters/)

Getting Ready for the Flora Women’s Mini Marathon 2013 :)

I have just registered to run my 9th Flora Women’s Mini Marathon which takes place in Dublin on June 3rd! Anyone who knows me at all, knows I love running and especially love the buzz of the Mini Marathon every year!

FWMM
FWMM

In the past I’ve run for many causes including the Gary Kelly Cancer Support Centre, Irish Lung Foundation, Irish Deaf Youth Association and more recently Irish Autism Action.

This year I’m running for the Sunni Mae Trust. Lily-Mae Morrison is 4 years old, she likes dinosaurs and dancing, she lives in Claregalway with her parents Jude and Leighton (who also like dancing). Lily-Mae also likes her little brother Evan, she is very sick at the moment but hopes with your help to be dancing again soon. The Sunni Mae Trust was founded in June 2012 shortly after Lily-Mae’s diagnosis. Any money I raise through kind donations will go directly to Lily-Mae’s family to help them during this extremely difficult time.

Donations can be made at my fundraiser page below, absolutely every penny counts! If you see me in college or out and about, don’t be afraid to stop me either, I can take donations in person as well 🙂

iDonate.ie | Support Stephanie Caffrey’s fundrasing page | iDonate.ie – Online Fundraising and SMS Donation

Thank you so much in advance! As well as fundraising I will be training hard, I’m really looking forward to this year’s event!

Don’t forget ladies, this year the Mini Marathon starts at 2pm, not 3pm like previous years! See you all then!

Want to register for the event? You can do so at this link: Flora Women’s Mini Marathon.

FWMM 2012. Photo by the Irish Times.
FWMM 2012. Photo by the Irish Times.

More info about the Sunni-Mae Trust: FrontPage » The Sunni Mae Trust.

The Sunni Mae Trust
The Sunni Mae Trust

Thank you 🙂

Adventures Begin in Norway Erasmus IP!

Today was class! I’m exhausted! Sleeping pattern is still messed up (I can never sleep properly during college holidays- I know this isn’t a holiday but I’m not in my regular college routine, if you know what I mean!), I got about 4 hours sleep again last night and I’m still not ready to hit the hay yet! I can’t switch off! (I need to sit in lectures or the studio to actually get tired haha!).

Anyway I’m in my cosy room in Norway, chilling out on my super-soft bed, in my pj’s, nibbling some dark chocolate, thinking about today’s adventures! Homesickness has passed and I’m starting to feel settled in!

Adorable wooden figures our host makes for a hobby!
Adorable wooden figures our host makes for a hobby!

This morning we started the workshops, first up was drama! Whenever I hear the word “drama” or “acting”, I have a tendency to become extra rigid! But this morning was different, the atmosphere was warm, friendly and for once in my life, I didn’t feel silly! I don’t think I should blog about the group activities in case I spoil it for the students who will have this workshop on Thursday! It was great fun and it felt good!

After lunch we had the next workshop which was a freestyle painting and improvisation musical collaboration. Basically we put on sexy boiler suits (lol) and prepared to get messy with buckets of paints, using our hands, feet, bodies, sticks and brushes to express ourselves on a canvas on the wall.

We're sexy and we know it! ;)
We’re sexy and we know it! 😉

I was horrified at the thought of getting filthy with smelly paint and felt a bit claustrophobic in the small room. It was a bit much for me actually! We were joined by our fellow students who performed an improvised piece of music on various instruments (congas, wood blocks, keyboard, acoustic and electric guitars, ceramic jug, shakers and an upright piano with the back taken off to expose the strings).

Workshop
Workshop

It was decided by the group that the colours we would paint would reflect the music, each student would listen to a particular instrument and paint however they felt. The purpose was to build communication between the two disciplines, the art on the wall and floor being a direct emotional response to the music.

Art inspired by improvised music
Art inspired by improvised music
The floor was also a canvas..
The floor was also a canvas..

I recorded the audio from the second set, where I was playing a woodblock. I found this more enjoyable than actually painting because it was chaotic! I got a chance to take pictures too… It was an interesting experience.

Belgian student Hannah clearly enjoyed herself!
Belgian student Hanne clearly enjoyed herself!

Following this we had a massive clean-up operation and a group reflection with discussions about this exercise. We suggested ways it could be improved and what was inspiring about it.

Seán now has unique runners!
Seán now has unique runners!

Pizza time! We had the best pizza ever delivered, thanks to the organisation of lovely Oded! Everyone was mixing really well, all tables in the Kantine were actually a mix of international students, everyone was laughing, joking and sharing pizzas.

Taking a peek around the classrooms in the music department :)
Taking a peek around the classrooms in the music department 🙂

And after this we had a concert. The Norwegian students performed a half an hour set of rehearsed ensembles which included traditional tunes, rock, folk, guitar and duets. The stage was then open to everyone for an jam session, songs were sung, more traditional tunes were played, there was dancing, laughing and chatting. I recorded some of this on my Zoom Handy recorder!

Concert :)
Ensemble performance 🙂
Irish, Norwegian and Belgian musicians jam
Irish, Norwegian and Belgian musicians jam

And so here I am! It’s almost midnight already and I should at least try to get to sleep! 🙂 Looking forward to tomorrow’s field trip and free time to explore Leirvick! (I haven’t gotten any snaps of Norway’s incredible scenery yet!).

Miss my friends, family and lecturers back home but not enough to want to leave just yet! 😀

Hej! Yoe! Well!!! Erasmus IP Trip to Norway Starts!

Hej! Yoe! Well!!!

Yesterday 18 excited students from Dundalk Institute of Technology, Ireland travelled to the beautiful island of Stord, Norway. The trip is a 2 week intensive programme (CREAL- Creative and Aesthetic Learning Processes) in which international relationships are formed through creative collaborations, workshops, group work, activities, cultural experiences and performances. Part 1 of the programme took place last year when the students from Stord Haugesund University College, Norway and Artesis, Belgium came to DkIT.

giddy in terminal 2, Dublin ;)
giddy in terminal 2, Dublin 😉

Our journey was 14 hours long, starting from the bus that brought us from the college to Dublin airport. We got the plane from Dublin to London and transferred there to catch the 5.00pm flight to Bergen (the 2nd biggest city in Norway). I actually slept through most of that flight after a reading a few chapters of Hitchhikers Guide…, though I had some strange, half awake dreams!!! 😀

travel!
travel!

We arrived in Bergen “The Gateway to the Fjords” (some snow still there and crazy huge icicles clinging to the sides of the rocky hill walls that lined the roads) and caught 2 buses (one of which was called a flybussen! I like that word!!!). The 2nd bus journey was 2 hours long but it didn’t feel so long because we got the ferry to the island of Stord in that journey. We were allowed to leave the bus and walk around the ferry as we pleased! I haven’t been on a ferry in YEARS and I loved it! I loved the fresh, cold air, the wind would take your breath away… I loved the sound of the waves crashing against us, I only wished it wasn’t 11pm at night! It was so dark, all I could see was the dark water around us and an even darker island in the near distance 🙂 Onboard it was warm and spacious! The ferry did sway a lot near the end of the journey and some students were looking rather green, I actually felt sleepy! I would have sat there for longer but we actually arrived at Stord after 35 minutes! (hopefully we’ll get the ferry again in daylight!).

Ferry! :)
Ferry! 🙂

We arrived in Leirvick just after midnight in the pouring rain and brought to the home were will we send the first week! I’m lucky to have my own room and share the house with Amy, my music production classmate! The couple we are staying with are soooooo lovely, they made us tea and light sandwiches and chatted with us until at least 1.30am! Their house is simply beautiful, I love Norwegian decor, so much timber and lovely angles and windows and little, soft lights! I want a house like this! 🙂

Bergen at night (not a great snap but you can see the city on the mountain... amazing in reality!)
Bergen at night (not a great snap but you can see the city on the mountain… amazing in reality!)

After a good nights sleep, we met the entire IP group (Belgian students and Norwegian students) in the auditorium. Following the welcome talks and introductions we had a tour around the beautiful campus in small groups. The music rooms look super! (Personally delighted that the studio runs Logic Pro!) It was great to see the arts rooms (woodwork, ceramics, textiles to mention a few) and the students brand new gym!

We had lunch in the Kantine and then we had ice breakers. These were lots of little games so everyone could meet each other, there were many laughs as we lost our inhibitions while acting as cowboys and geisha girls! It was a different way to meet people, something I had never done before! Any worries or awkwardness that there may have been were washed away after all the little games!

Hej! :)
Hej! 🙂

After that we had interesting presentations about our home countries and an energetic Zumba class!

My favourite moment was the icebreaker game when we made a little pretend film and performed it for the entire group! It was completely improvised! Everyone was laughing and smiling and there was a lovely, warm atmosphere. It was great to take part in a group and do something I wouldn’t normally do! (Let myself go!)

Having fun!
Having fun!
yep, thats me looking rather silly but it was good fun!!!
yep, thats me looking rather silly but it was good fun!!!

I also enjoyed learning the childrens nursery rhyme “Lille Petter Edderkopp”! Really cool to sing in Norwegian, hehe!

Tired now, can’t  wait for the workshops tomorrow! I’ve made lots of new friends already and I’m looking forward to getting stuck in!

Check this out: Bringar europeisk kreativitet saman – nyheter fra HSH.

Happy out! 😉

Happy New Year 2013 :)

Thanks to all my friends (‘real’ and ‘online’!) and family for supporting me and my music in 2012 🙂 Thanks to my new friends and thanks to those who continue stick by me all these years!

I’m thankful for a loving family, amazing boyfriend, great friends and wonderful education, I’m really enjoying this academic part of my life and I’m super grateful for the opportunity to learn what I love. I feel blessed.

I had great fun in 2012 and developed further my skills, passion for music and got to know ‘me’ a little better. I made new friends and deepened existing friendships. 2012 inspired me loads!

Wish you all a Happy New Year 2013! Hope you all are blessed with creativity, inspiration, health, happiness and love 🙂

Happy out…

Steffy x

Fond memory of 2012 :) Partying with my audio grrrls :)
Fond memory of 2012 🙂 Partying with my audio grrrls 🙂