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Born in Dungiven in 1975, surrounded and infused with the rich cultural heritage of her native County Derry, Cara has risen to become one of the finest exponents of traditional Irish song anywhere in the world. Possessing a rare and unique voice that has been lauded since her very beginnings winning the All Ireland singing trophy aged only 14. Together with her husband and musical partner, Sam Lakeman, she has successfully steered an eclectic musical path defying the typical pigeonholes that hinder most artists in her genre. Celebrated for entwining traditional and contemporary elements she has earned both commercial success and astonishing critical acclaim.

Recent years have seen her return wholeheartedly to her Irish roots creating fresh interpretations of traditional standards with stunning results. Her reach is truly global with fans to be found all over the world with her clear, Northern Irish voice even seducing giants such as Disney who, in 2010, asked her to sing the title song to the animated movie “Tinkerbell and the Great Fairy Rescue”. She’s won countless awards and accolades including “Album Of The Year” at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, The Meteor Music Award for “Best Irish Female”, and Tatler’s “Woman Of The Year in Music” and has appeared in prestigious concert halls and at festivals the world over. Always looking to introduce her voice and music to new listeners, Cara’s topped the charts with dance remixes, guest appearances and, more recently, presented her songs with full orchestral backing bringing her music to an entirely new audience.

Whether she's singing her native traditional songs of lost love and emigration, or original compositions, you will be hard pressed to find a more emotive and captivating performer. Cara Dillon is at the very top of her field and one has the feeling she'll remain there for a very long time.

One of Eastern Canada's best-known songwriters, Jimmy Rankin's heartfelt folk-rock storytelling is deeply ingrained in the fabric of Nova Scotia, where he began his career in the late '80s as part of Cape Breton's beloved sibling band the Rankin Family. He helped pioneer the group's Celtic-inspired folk-pop sound in the '90s, writing Rankin Family classics like "Fare Thee Well Love" and "North Country" before becoming a highly visible solo act in the 2000s. With albums like 2001's Song Dog and 2007's Edge of Day, Jimmy expanded his East Coast folk-rock palette to include more distinctive country and roots rock elements and picked up numerous SOCAN, East Coast, and Canadian Country Music Awards along the way. He even moved to Nashville where he made his Juno-nominated 2011 highlight, Forget About the World. Following a Music City tenure that yielded three albums, Jimmy eventually returned to Nova Scotia and recorded the Maritime homecoming album, Moving East, in 2018.

In the Cape Breton town of Mabou where he was born, music was the communal language of the Rankin clan, and like most of his 11 siblings, Jimmy played every month in the local ceilidh, learning the traditional Celtic tunes brought over from by the island's original settlers from Scotland and Ireland. Initially a loose coalition of various family members gigging around the island, by the late '80s, a core group including Jimmy, older brother John, and sisters Raylene, Cookie, and Heather had officially banded together under the Rankin Family name playing a mix of Celtic-inspired folk-pop originals and traditional Cape Breton fare. As a guitarist, singer, and songwriter, Jimmy's contributions were a core element of the Rankin Family's sound and subsequent mainstream popularity throughout the 1990's. He wrote many of the group's best-known songs including "North Country," "You Feel the Same Way Too," "Mull River Shuffle," and the Juno Award-winning "Fare Thee Well Love."

When the Rankin Family disbanded at the end of the decade, Jimmy launched his solo career with the 2001 release Song Dog. Led by the hit single "Followed Her Around," the album's mix of punchy roots-rock, country, and folk was an immediate success and picked up a bevy of awards including Album of the Year at the Canadian Country Music Awards and at the East Coast Music Awards. This trend would continue over the coming years as additional solo outings like 2003's Handmade and 2007's Edge of Day fared similarly well, picking up SOCAN and East Coast Music Awards as well. He also found work writing for other artists and was named 2008's Songwriter of the Year at the Canadian Country Music Awards for penning the 2007 Derek Ruttan hit "First Time in a Long Time." That same year also saw a revival of the Rankin Family which, following the 2000 death of eldest brother John, had slimmed down to a quartet for their 2007 Reunion album. Jimmy and his sisters released one more Rankin Family LP, These Are the Moments, in 2009, after which he relocated to Nashville and resumed his solo career.

Released in 2011, Jimmy's fourth album, Forget About the World, was another career high point, earning critical accolades, a Juno nomination, eight East Coast Music Award nominations, and Roots Artist of the Year honors at the Canadian Country Music Awards. It also yielded the hit "Here in My Heart," a co-write with fellow Canadian Patricia Conroy featuring guitar work from Keith Urban. A Christmas album, Tinsel Town, followed in 2012 and featured a mix of holiday standards and original songs. His next all-original set, 2014's Back Road Paradise, included yet another hit in "Cool Car" and featured a guest spot from Americana star Alison Krauss. After seven years living in the U.S., Jimmy left Nashville and returned to Nova Scotia, assembling a band of East Coast stalwarts like J.P. Cormier and Ashley MacIsaac to help him make his next album. More tonally diverse than his previous few outings, 2018's Moving East was very much a homecoming album devoted to the Canadian Maritimes and reintroduced some of the Celtic and folk-rock elements particular to the region.

                        The Helplink Show May 2020 - Sunday 10am
Ruth Fagan, Volunteer Galway (Volunteer Ireland): Sharon Vard, Anam Cara: Maeve Mullaney, Rutland Centre.

Ruth Fagan talks to Lochlann Scott:
At Galway Volunteer Centre people interested in volunteering can find out more about volunteering without having to make a commitment, get information on a wide range of volunteering opportunities; and get advice and support on opportunities to suit you. Galway Volunteer Centre wants to encourage people who wish to volunteer, but may feel anxious or want some support in getting started. We want everyone to experience the benefits of volunteering. We believe that it is vital that people approach volunteering at their own pace and that they are supported to do this in a welcoming and friendly way.

Sharon Vard, CEO chats with Lochlann Scott.
Anam Cara Parent Bereavement understands we don’t live in an ideal world, we live in a world after our precious children have died before their time. Bereaved parents have set up this organisation to help themselves and all bereaved parents cope with their grief and loss and journey on.

We have done this in memory of our children. The loss of a child is every Mum and Dad’s worst nightmare, the pain goes deep. Family and friends try to understand, and indeed are going through their own grieving process, but the only person who can really understand your loss is someone who has experienced the death of a child. No matter how your child has died, through an accident or long term illness, at Anam Cara we respect that your grief is your own. It also does not matter how old your child was, they could have only been minutes on this earth or grown up to be adults with a family of their own. What matters is that they are your child and the bond between a parent and child is the strongest bond of all. The breaking of that physical bond is the hardest grief to cope and come to terms. No one at Anam Cara feels that their loss is worse then that of someone else. We know that we are all bereaved parents trying to cope with what life has thrown at us and face the future, even if only one day at a time. We know our lives have not ended just changed since our children have died. We also have a choice now, we can either try and find new purpose and meaning in life. We can even do that by helping each other along this journey. Or we can choose the other route which we are all familiar with, from those dark early days of grief and bereavement. There are no solutions or answers to your grief or pain on this website, but there is a huge amount of understanding and empathy. Everyone copes with the loss of their child in different ways. With Anam Cara Parent Bereavement Group, we aim to take a holistic approach to bereavement, We mean by holistic, an all-inclusive universal approach, that will appeal to everyone who has lost a child, (See Self Help Page) There will be opportunities for you to share ideas, talk about your child and your lost hopes and aspirations for them( See events page). We endeavour to talk and listen at Anam Cara because they are both powerful healers in their own way. We will not pass judgement or dole out advice as we are experts only in our own grief. From time to time we will organise events, which will offer you a chance to put a face to the name, have a cup of coffee and maybe try a new activity. Who knows maybe even discover something that will help us journey on together… “Tread softly to journey on.

Maeve Mullaney talks to Lochlann Scott.
The Rutland Centre is a registered charity and since it was founded in 1978 it has grown into the largest and most respected private addiction rehabilitation centre in Ireland. Our residential programme is drug free meaning that no mood altering medication is used. Thousands of people from all over Ireland have turned to us to find expertise, quality care, and experience on addiction, mental health, and recovery issues. Our mission today remains the same as our founders – to help those affected by addiction towards recovery. We help people transform their lives by providing the highest quality addiction treatment, psychological and continuing care services. We are based in South Dublin and our team of experienced counsellors, psychotherapists, psychologists, and nurses have years of expertise in dealing with addiction and psychological issues. We specialise in helping individuals and families struggling with a range of addictions including alcohol, gambling, food, sex, and drugs.