Jennifer Byrne was born in Dublin and in County Wicklow before moving to County Wexford. Though not from a particularly musical family, she began piano lessons the day she started school, trying her hand at a range of instruments before discovering her voice much later. She later studied music at University College Cork.
Several years of living in London and working in the folk/trad department of MCPS further opened her ears to traditional music: English, Welsh and Scottish this time and, on moving back to Ireland, Jennifer turned to music education and began to marry her love of teaching and performing with her interest in world music. The need to perform in her own right became more pressing and in 2009 she set about instigating in earnest the process of writing and collecting material for a record.
During the course of a song-writing trip to Boo Hewerdine’s home the following summer, a friendship, and plan of action, emerged. Mark Freegard’s 3kyoti Studio, Glasgow, January 2011. Material was chosen, musicians were called in, biscuits were bought. And Suitcase was the result. Among the musicians featured are Kris Drever, John McCusker, Alan Kelly and Brooks Williams.
It was Boo who asked us to work on a design for the packaging for Suitcase which he decided to release through his own Haven label. We came up with a concept based around the theme of the album, both Boo and Jennifer loved what we came up with and it turned into one of the easiest and nicest project we have worked on to date.