Senita Appiakorang, Lead vocalist, ‘Shookrah"
Senita Appiakorang, Lead vocalist of the neo-soul band ‘Shookrah'
Shookrah. The group have just released their first single, ‘Don’t Wanna Doubt You’, from their upcoming debut album. With a sound that blends R&B, funk and electronica, the Cork band have been hailed as Ireland’s answer to The Internet. Senita has come a long way from her home county of Kerry to performing at music festivals and supporting Billy Ocean on his Irish tour. She looks back on her time at UCC and how it influenced her music career.
Course/subjects studied in UCC and year of graduation
BA Music & English. Music was my major.
Best memory of University College Cork
It was all amazing really! If I had to pick one stand out memory, it would have to be the Music/Drama Department's 20's themed ball which took place in the Metropole Hotel. I think that happened sometime in February or March 2010, but it was my first college ball and everyone really committed to dressing up and playing along. Additionally, the music was played by all our peers, so it was a complete takeover, our own little periodical orbit.
How has your time at UCC helped you to get to where you are now?
Well it was very much the foundation of my performative career. We mingled with different musicians of various inclinations in Pop and Jazz ensemble, which is where I really flourished and began defining my performance preferences and tastes. It was the perfect melting pot of interested and talented, hard-working musicians willing and needing each other for recitals, and to try out new musical outfits, to share notes on discoveries...it basically opened up my relationship with music both in an academic sense as well as on a personal level. UCC's Music course has the unique advantage of inviting students to discuss music's compositional but also cultural influence and importance, and that for me was so refreshing. I learned to critically think about music outside of its compositional idioms.
What is your advice to current UCC students?
Get involved in everything that takes your fancy, try to resist your hesitancy and go and dig into the things around you. Join societies, talk to people you may never otherwise encounter, spend an afternoon watching some of the movies in the library (if you're looking for a good break from study that still feels like an education). I never did this, and I wish I did but go to lectures unrelated to yours- widen your perspective on things if you can.
What person/people at UCC had the most positive influence on you?
I did a module called 'Difference & Otherness' in 2nd year of Music which tied in with a lot of the kinds of discussions we were having in English around critical thinking, dissecting culture and society in modern times. I think the lecturers I had for both of these modules were probably my favourite of all time, to the point where I thought I wanted to lecture - who knows, maybe I still might. Christopher Morris, Heather Laird and Lee Jenkins are their names and they just awakened a sense of growth, understanding and questioning in me that really made want to do well because what they were teaching was relevant to the now while referential of the past. I really took enjoyment in assessing the things that interested me of antiquated arts and weighing in on their impact and resonance in society now- so that time of study was probably my most engaged and nourished.
Were you involved in any Clubs or Societies?
Yup, I was part of UCC Dramat, Capriccio and the Fashion Society at one point.