It would be remiss of us to let International Women’s Day pass by without a shout out to all the talented women that Northern Ireland has in its midst.

The last decade in particular has seen an explosion of fantastic female musicians of all ages and genres make their mark. It really is exceptional and deserves comment – it’s as if suddenly Northern Irish women have found their voice, and the courage to sing out.

It would be impossible to give a shout out to all, but I’m thinking of those reviewed on Folk and Tumble in recent years, Mandy Bingham, Edele McMahon, Ursula Burns, Amanda St John, and groups such as the wonderful Wookalilly and Henry Sisters.

That’s just the surface – think of Bronagh Gallagher, Grainne Duffy, Ciara O’Neill, Brigid O’Neill, SOAK (Bridie Monds-Watson), Jealous of the Birds (Naomi Hamilton), Larks (Fiona O’Kane), REWS (Shauna Tohill), Rosie Carney, Gemma Bradley, Hannah McPhillimy, Hannah Peel, Una Clarkin, Katie Richardson, Kaz Hawkins, Cara Dillon, Mary Dillon, Juliet Turner to more recent arrivals such as Roe, New Pagans’ Lyndsey McDougall, Cherym. We’re really just scraping the surface – there are more, many, many more (and apologies to those women making music not on this list).

What’s beautiful about this overview of names is the diversity and differences in age, background, style, and format. What’s particularly inspiring is to see women who have come later in life to making albums and sharing their creative talents – often having raised families and had other careers – but driving themselves forward through sheer grit and determination – we applaud you! It can’t be easy. It must be a struggle, sourcing support and managing your way through an industry viewed as traditionally male.

One woman from Northern Ireland (now living in Canada) who has been making music for some time – initially under her own name Jayne Trimble, and more recently under the moniker Oxlip is going down the Kickstarter route for her next project. Her album ‘In the Morning’ was one of the first I reviewed for Folk and Tumble and I just loved the clarity and quality of her voice. Her more recent album was ‘Wolves! Cried the Maid’ – a collection of beguiling and mystical folk songs – and now, she’s off to LA to make a new album – a collection of songs about women under the working title ‘Your Mother was a Peacock’ based on historical and mythical stories of tragedy, scapegoating and betrayal – you can find out more on Kickstarter.

That’s just one example of how women are making it happen for themselves – so, on International Women’s Day, let’s celebrate and recognise all of this exceptional talent, and acknowledge their creativity, courage, strength and wisdom.

May you have a Happy International Women’s Day 2019.