From Moscow to midlands, mezzo soprano keeps it country

A Russian classical pianist and mezzo soprano who left Moscow to live on a beef farm in Kilbeggan, Co. Westmeath, and who has made a name for herself on the Irish country music scene, is taking part in two big events shortly.

Larissa Tormey who left behind her career in Moscow after meeting her husband Christy is looking forward to participating in what she describes as the biggest country music event of the year; the Hot Country TV awards night is set to take place in the Slieve Russel Hotel, Cavan, on April 29.

Another just around the corner is the big night of country music with Michael Commins at the Lough Rea Hotel, Galway, on April 30.

“I will also be performing at the Tullamore Show; the National Ploughing Championships; and a few festivals around the country,” said Larissa, who helps out on the family farm and butcher’s shop.

Larissa, who is originally from central Russia – the Ural mountains region – met Christy when he visited Moscow in 2001 for a stag weekend.

After college, she became a professional singer and songwriter and had a vocal school for musically gifted children. She then spent five years based in Moscow, singing, touring and teaching.

Having married Christy in September 2001, she contemplated abandoning her music career to adjust to her new life when she and her daughter moved to Kilbeggan.

However, after a year she was invited to be a choir conductor in Tullamore College and she started to sing again.

The death of her mother in 2014 prompted her to return fully to her music career, and she released her first album ‘Perfect As I Am’.

A sign

This was followed by the release of a charity Christmas single, dedicated to her late mother, which was well received. After the release of her first album, ‘God Loves A Trier’, she built up a strong following on social media.

She noticed many followers were country music fans and decided to step into that area.

When ‘Only a Woman’, released as a single, went to one of the 100 most downloaded country songs on iTunes in the first week of its release, I took it as a sign and continued to record and sing country music.

She hasn’t looked back since. “I received a cultural crossover country artist of the year award at the Sunday World country music awards last year and was nominated as the best Irish country singer in 2018 by IMRO and the Irish Post newspaper along with Nathan Carter, Cliona Hagan and Derek Ryan,” she said.

In March, she took part in the annual fundraising dance for the Carmelite Church in The Well, Moate, and the Country At The Court Gig in Tullamore Court Hotel.

This month she performed at the night of dancing with country music stars for Pieta House in Athlone.

New single

“I am planning to release a next single ‘Only My Heart Knows’ on May 10 in aid of Irish charity Women’s Aid and will organise a fundraiser on Facebook.

“I recorded the song by big songwriter Chris Eaton from the UK who wrote songs for Cliff Richard and many more. It will be available to download on iTunes, Amazon and Google Play.”

Her third album, ‘Cowgirls Don’t Cry’, hit stores in March 2018 and her take on ‘Danny Boy’, in which Larissa sang part of the song in her native Russian, won her new fans. She plans to release a fourth album in October.

When she’s not performing, she enjoys working on the farm. “I am very much involved on the farm. I am looking after farm papers, medications and register. We again received Bord Bia quality assurance this year.

I help Christy to herd cattle and go with him around the fields every weekend. A connection with nature helps me to get inspired and write more songs. It is a very healthy and balanced lifestyle and I love it.

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