The Colin Vearncombe Memorial Bursary is a €1,000 award for a singer songwriter studying at Cork School of Music who is chosen by the faculty as being outstanding in their year. The bursary started in 2016 and has been awarded annually since then. Read on for information on each year’s recipient.

2020: Kevin Codd

2019: Sarah-Beth O’Mullane

Sarah-Beth is a singer-songwriter based in Cork, Ireland. She places her voice in the centre of her songs that combine elements of Alternative, Pop and Anti-Folk. Her lyrics, derived from personal experiences and observations, weave stories of insight and vivid imagery.

She started playing piano as a child and wrote songs as a way to pass the time, then moved to guitar and experimented with electronic music to suit the mood of her lyrics. She released her first EP Your Muse, a collection of ethereal piano songs based on the themes of beauty and escapism, in Summer 2017.

She formed the alternative-pop band Luunah while studying in music the CiT Cork School of Music in 2018. The band incorporates acoustic and electronic elements into their live set creating a sound that is retro but contemporary. Their influences include St. Vincent, Metronomy, Bat for Lashes, The Gorillaz and David Byrne.

As of Winter 2019 Sarah-Beth is working on a solo EP with Portuguese producer, Eduardo Moreira. Anticipated release: Spring 2020.


Sarah-Beth’s Instagram page and Facebook page

Luunah on Spotify, on Soundcloud, on Facebook and on Instagram

2018: Dylan Howe

As a singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and composer, Dylan Howe has established himself in the world of music from an early age. With his performing career starting on Mandolin and Clarinet from the age of 8, he has gone on to play tours around New York, UK, Germany and all around Ireland. From a background in Irish Traditional music, he has gone on to study jazz and classical music and share the stage with artists such as Badly Drawn Boy, Duke Special, Ariel Posen, Adam Neely, Jack O’Rourke and many more. He has studied Piano, Clarinet, and Saxophone, but is self taught in Mandolin, Trumpet, Cello, Guitar, Theremin, Kalimba and Fiddle.

Previous to releasing their debut EP with Rowan, he has received songwriting awards from Gael-Linn’s Scléip, Bank of Ireland and is the recipient of the Colin Vearncombe songwriting award for 2018. His multi-instrumental abilities have been hired by artists such as The Frank and Walters, The Stunning, Jack O’Rourke, Tiz McNamara, and many more. As a session musician, songwriter, musical director, recording artist, there are few roles Dylan hasn’t played in the world of music. His own style lies primarily in Folk and Jazz music, while occasionally skimming the surface of Irish Traditional music with Clare Sands, who has been collaborating with Dylan for a number of years now.

After being awarded a first-class honours Bachelors degree from the CiT Cork School of Music, he is ready to work and collaborate with many more artists internationally. As at January 2019, Rowan are about to release their second EP, recorded in Attica studios in Donegal. Their first single “Sunrise” was play-listed on RTÉ Radio 1 for 2 weeks and their second single “Everytime” has been played on stations nationwide.

Check out Rowan’s Bandcamp page.

2017: Sinead Murphy

Sinead Murphy is a singer-songwriter/performer originally from Athenry, County Galway but has been based in Cork for the past few years. She has written songs mainly in a folk and soul genre. The arrangements for her song vary between full bands right down to acoustic settings.

Sinead is in the process of recording her debut EP “The Golden Book” and is hoping to launch the  EP at the end of March 2018.

You can find Sinead on Facebook @ https://m.facebook.com/ShinMusic/ for more information about her musical career.

2016: Ophelia McCabe

Ophelia (McCabe) began hitting the stage as a HipHop MC in 2002 Dublin, Ireland. Jamming and Freestyle rap with her brothers developed into finished songs which she eventually laid over beats produced by Exile Eye, DJ Moschops and G Frequency for many years to come.

Dennis Cassidy and Ophelia struck up in 2006 at party and Ophelia & Redsquare was born as MixtapesFromTheUnderground formed simultaneously. Ophelia’s need for potential chaos and for the sensation of risk created by publicly performed improvised music was being fulfilled by MFTU while tending to her need for developed, rehearsed and finished songs with Redsquare.

DJ Moschops was a significant and brilliant partner for many years providing music for and inspiring Ophelia to write and perform as a soloist.

Ophelia thread the boards as often as possible and hustled many a great show while booking, rehearsing, leading, managing and promoting her musical works – supporting Acts such as Pete Rock, Ice Cube, De La Soul, Pharaohe Monch, Tony Allen, Ultramagnetic MC’s, Robert Glasper, Saul Williams & Maverick Sabre. Ophelia thrives in a live collaborative context.
Irish artist Damien Dempsey took an interest in Ophelia and invited her to tour in 09 which she humbly executed in support of an artist she loves. As a result of her persistent gigging she has played regularly and often with the unfathomable talent of her Irish brothers and sisters and chooses to Base herself in Ireland while remaining globally minded.

In 2010 all of her efforts to cut quality records and break overground, collapsed. Ophelia became seriously ill and has been blessed to survive what she had to face. Thankfully her discipline and dedication to her recovery has been paying off ever since.

In 2012, Cork, Ophelia was accepted onto the first degree in Popular Music in Irish History – Graduating with first class honors in 2016. That process has naturally lead to pursuing a Masters in Music Performance from the renowned Cork School of Music.

Ophelia was invited to register as a Rap Tutor with the Cork ETB/YWIC/Music Generation in 2014 following years of involvement with community music groups and has recently become an apprentice voice coach studying under Dr. Trish Rooney.

Ophelia currently performs and collaborates with the following groups: –

Barry Wilson Music, Eduardo Moireira, Elayne Harrington… More to be announced!

‘Coco Baguettes’ (Alan Pentony, Tomas Gall, Rory O’ Brien, Roberto Carazza) – Live Improvised Electro Instrumental music & vox

‘Mindsets’ (Rory Mc Govern) – Experimental Electronic Vocal focused Beats & Bass Tunes released in Mixtapes

‘Chocolate Vanilla’ (Ophelia solo) – DJ sets with live vocals – while being developed as a live band

“So here we are. I am so excited to be returning to stage as a skilled performance professional. I have a team of brilliant people behind me. I have accepted my black and white sides and will give both their deserved spotlight. My rap side is strong and my singing voice has been being trained leading me to become the vocalists I always desired to be. 360 style.

I have newly composed and produced music and I’m fired up on a daily basis by simply being creative. There are opportunities arising and I am more ready than I ever was. I hope to see you at a show or to hear from you by mail. Enjoy my feelings on wax and live in peace with love.”

To listen to some of Ophelia’s music, head over to her Reverbnation page here: https://www.reverbnation.com/0phelia/songs.

And watch some of her videos here: https://www.youtube.com/user/0pheliaMc.