Having grown up near a small village in West limerick, Catherine recalls being aware from a young age of both the power and the futility of words.
She developed her creative writing skills while taking minutes for the Legion of Mary, and her earlier musical ventures were in the areas of trad and classical, playing accordion and piano.
Catherine left college with a degree in philosophy and moved to Boston, where one Sunday afternoon, the words of a subway poet inspired her to quit her office job and take to the subway with her accordion.
One evening, she decided to sing a verse of a song a capella and was amazed to discover a dollar bill floating into her accordion case. Encouraged by this, she laminated the dollar bill, exchanged her accordion for a guitar and took to the roads.
In the time-honoured tradition of the folk singer, Cunningham hitched around the U.S. and Canada, sharing music and stories with truckers, gurus, ex-cons and evangelists – around campfires, on street corners at protests and at festivals.
As unpredictable as the roads she has traveled, Catherine’s songs twist and unravel through the most unexpected of landscapes, to paint pictures and stories full of longing, humour and power.
Mischievious and highly irreverent, Cunningham’s performances are intimate affairs, where the audience is regaled with stories of the road, the heart and the Legion of Mary.
And then there’s her fascination with moving statues and nursery rhymes . . .
After her recording her first CD “Circles of Crazy” in 2000, she returned to Ireland where she now works on music and education projects.
In 2013, she produced a second CD/Book – “Do You Remember Me?” with Cork artist, Spark Deeley, and is currently in the process of recording a third album “Stronger for the Flame”.
“I receive hundreds of albums each year and I think there is something very special in what she does.” Colm Sands, BBC Radio Ulster
“A remarkable songwriter” – John Moriarty, writer/philosopher
“I like the way you sing” – Christy Moore
“Sad, funny, angry, political, you name it! She’s one of the wittiest, cleverest songwriters I know.” Paul O’Colmain singer/songwriter