German duo found inspiration in the hills of Donegal

THE long-awaited debut album from German songwriting team of Jule Heidmann and Paula Stenger has just been released.
The folk duo from Frankfurt, who are known as ‘Romie’, recorded ‘Trust in the You of Now’ at the renowned Attica studios in Termon.
Speaking to the Donegal News from Germany this week, Jule explained that the album, which has been two years in the making, took its inspiration from the hills of Donegal.
“We started the album in Donegal 2018 before returning to finish out studies in Germany. We returned to Donegal for mixing in the middle of 2019 and it was released last Friday,” she said.
The album’s name was inspired by Oblique Strategies, a card-based method for promoting creativity devised by well-known musician and producer Brian Eno.
“Whenever you have a mental block you just pull out these cards and they tell you what to do. They say things like ‘trust your gut’, ‘don’t be ashamed to show your flaws’ or just ‘drink water’.
“One of the cards said ‘Trust in the you of Now’ and I was blown away by the message. You are who you are now and that’s okay. It doesn’t matter who you’ve been or who you will be. It’s what you sound like now and that fits in perfectly with the album,” she said.
Romie have been regular visitors to Ireland ever since they were first introduced to a booker for Donegal band ‘In their Thousands’ at a Rolling Stones concert in Germany.
“He invited them over to Germany to tour in 2015 and we played a few gigs together. They said that we should come to Ireland and play the Swell festival on Arranmore and we did,” she laughed.
“We’ve fallen in love with Donegal since and it’s ripping my heart out that I can’t be there now due to the pandemic. It’s horrible,” she said.
It hasn’t all been bad news however as Romie recently signed a record deal with Bauer Studios (Chaos Records) in Germany.
“Lockdown has given us the opportunity to play a lot more of the bigger venues here at home because there are no touring bands. We’ve played some really big venues here in Frankfurt and my phone is ringing all the time,” she said.
Jule and Paula first met as students at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Frankfurt.
“We’re qualified to teach now but all we want to do is make music. Teaching can wait,” Jule said.
A talented artist, Paula’s painting of the mountains with Glenveagh National Park in the background is depicted on the album cover.
The album has been produced by Orri McBrearty from Castlefin who has brought together the talents of many local session musicians.
“We’re a harmony band who are mostly indie folk but we also lean towards other genres that we like. We listen to a lot of blues and rock and you’ll find all sorts of little notions on the record,” she said.
From its opening track “Heading South”, to the slow blues of “34 Cigarettes”, then the heavy ambience of “Once a year I Fall In Love” to “Rosewood Man” and “All is gold and green”. the album is full of little gems.
“We look forward to playing again in Donegal in the not too distant future. Our dream would be to have a release party in Rathmullan,” she said.
A video promoting the album, recorded by Charlie Joe Doherty, will be released in two weeks time.
Jule and Paula are joined on the album by Kevin Herron: electric guitar, acoustic guitar; Marty Smyth: electric bass; Eamon Ferris: drums, percussion; Declan McClafferty: electric guitar; Ted Ponsonby: dobro, hammond organ; Laura McFadden: cello; Seamus Devenny: violin; Donal McGuinness: trombone; Sarah Cullen: accordion, backing vocals, choir; Philipp Stenger, Rosie Carney and Ruairi Friel: backing vocals, choir and Tommy Callahan, Valerie Bryce, Kate O’Callaghan, Karen Kelly, Charlie Joe Doherty and Sean Feeny: Choir.

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