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Arts Council New Music Award : Christine Tobin

June 2020 to June 2021

The Returning Weather

The Dock has been awarded a New Music Commission Award for The Arts Council and over the next year we will be be working with jazz musician Christine Tobin. This commission marks a move into new important musical territory for her.

The Returning Weather is a deeply personal project inspired by Tobin’s return to Ireland, having lived abroad for many years. After leaving Dublin, her hometown, she spent most of her adult life in large cities, notably, London and New York, but this is her first time to live in a rural environment of farmland, water meadows and peat bogs. The enigmatic and historically rich landscape of Northwest Roscommon and beyond, has awakened in Tobin a profound sense of belonging and a desire to explore, through music and poetry, the powerful connection between home, dwelling and the land. Although she made her mark internationally as a jazz artist, her style has always been eclectic. However, this project marks a move into new musical territory, as it is her first time to work with Irish traditional musicians. Her band for this project is made up of uilleann pipes David Power, violin Aoife Ni Bhriain, guitar Phil Robson and piano/keyboards & electronics Steve Hamilton, so it will combine elements of both worlds. This commission also provides an opportunity for Tobin to focus on writing her own poetry and lyrics, as opposed to composing musical settings for the work of others such as Paul Muldoon, W.B. Yeats and Leonard Cohen, whose texts she set for her last three highly acclaimed albums.

Tobin is drawn to diverse artists such as Joseph Beuys, Seamus Heaney and Aaron Copeland, for whom the landscape was central to their work. She feels there is a wealth of treasure to be mined in the boglands, woods and lakes which weave through the rich terrain of Northwest Roscommon.Sometimes the ‘returning eye’ sees beauty that is often unnoticed.


Christine Tobin  was born in Dublin and studied at the Guildhall School of Music, London taking the jazz course. Tobin is a regular performer on the UK jazz scene, working with musicians such as Jean Toussaint, Billy Childs, Kenny Wheeler, and Django Bates, and has established regular slots at Ronnie Scott’s and the South Bank’s Purcell Room. She also tours Europe regularly, appearing at festivals in Austria, Germany, Bulgaria, Spain and Hungary. Her repertoire is wide-ranging, rooted in jazz but drawing on Irish folk, world, and Latin influences. Tobin’s recorded output for the Babel label has focused on her own melodically-complex compositions, although the highlight remains her languorous and husky vocals. Deep Song concentrated on interpretations of jazz standards such as ‘Little Girl Blue’, ‘I Can’t Get Started’, and ‘How Deep Is The Ocean’.