Singer/songwriter/guitarist and poet BeRn, calls her stuff ‘Frock’ – an eloquent mix of folk, punk angst, rock ‘n’ roll, feminism, ire, laughter and irrepressible spirit. Raw and uplifting, she takes to the stage with a fiery presence offering a heady mix of emotion and rebellion.
“A real colorful individual with her saucy, unusual, punky, spicy, joyful songs”
In October 2020 the wonderful wordsmith and talented songtress took a moment to answer some questions for the Music Daily Show.
What is the title or tell us about the writing of your first song?
My first song was called NOTHING AT ALL. Written in my bedroom in Drogheda, Ireland when I was 17/18 years old and since lavishing on the dung heap of disregarded songs. However on closer look 30 years later I think it might have something… “Nothing at all, no one at all, people may call, buildings will fall to the ground but, no one will care, no one will come, people will all run away, away…”
Tell us a bit about your travels? Where are some fun places you have performed?
I have travelled far and wide always with guitar in tow. One of my favorite times playing was in the main square in Havana, Cuba. On learning that I was a performer from Ireland I was given a guitar and I walked around the packed square singing and playing to all the punters in the bars and restaurants. It was amazing the response I received. I also played twice on the same bill as Patti Smith at the Fillmore West in San Francisco in the 90’s. Wowser!
What is your full name? Where did Bernzymac come from or how did that come about?
My performing name is BeRn. My give name is Bernadette which i felt was too long and had such religious overtones. I actually like it now. Bernzy Mac is an in-family joke and is too long and arduous to expand on here.
Have you always had cool wild hair?
Yes, I’ve always experimented with my hair from a very young age I’ve been a rebel much to my parents dismay and subsequently, admiration.
Is there a fav project you have participated in that you could tell us about? And/or You are also a poet, can you share a poem with us?
I am the founder of the critically acclaimed Eastrogen Rising: a rebel cabaret. A feminist response to the centenary celebrations of the 1916 rising, where the Irish rose up in arms against the British Empire.
Yes, I am also a spoken word and page poet who has been published in many journals over the years.
Here’s a poem I wrote about my lovely mother Tess:
A shirt in Goodwill on Van Ness
The label: Tess.
You walked by
A ghost in the aisle
It was vintage
You would’ve worn it
If you were American,
BeRn ©2015 Published ‘Headstuff’, poem of the week 18/05/2015
Do you recall when you first had the desire to be a musician or get up on the stage? What do you think inspired you, or who?
I grew up in a family of singers and performers and did my first ‘party piece’ when I was about 8 years old. The combination of tingly nerves and applause had me hooked from the word go. My mother Tess who was an exceptional singer and my many talented Aunts were my first and biggest inspiration with Bob Dylan and Janis Ian hot seconds.
While I’ve gotten used to live performance now, I must admit I was a basket case pre-performance for many years, aways on the verge of throwing up before hitting the stage but I seem to have mastered that now but I still get nervous to varying degrees before a performance. Nerves produce good necessary energy for a dynamic performance.