Co Tyrone teenager Cara teams up with Afghan Women’s Orchestra

A teenage musician and peace ambassador from Co Tyrone, who has battled a heart condition since birth, has teamed up with members of the Afghan Women’s Orchestra during the pandemic to star in a collaboration music video with the support of the Community Relations Council.

Wednesday, 14th April 2021, 11:14 am
Young musician Cara Monaghan (16), who has batted a heart condition since birth, has teamed up with members of the Afghan Women's Orchestra during the pandemic

Cara Monaghan from Cookstown features on a video with Afghanistan’s first women’s orchestra - also known as Ensemble Zohra - as part of an international partnership with local intercultural arts charity Beyond Skin.

Cara has been working with Beyond Skin ever since she met its founder, Darren Ferguson while attending a summer scheme in Cookstown on music and peace-building and wrote her own song ‘What If’ which ended up being performed by young musicians in Sri Lanka as part of a music project with Beyond Skin.

“Since we met Cara she has performed in concerts, music videos, film projects and at prestigious events with local and international professional musicians - using music to connect communities and doing events that bring us together with our neighbours around the world. All this, and Cara only turned 16 last October - she is only getting started,” said Darren.

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Cara has battled health problems since birth, when she was diagnosed with a rare heart condition called pulmonary arteriovenous fistula which can shunt blood flow in the wrong direction around the body.

She underwent a series of life-saving surgeries in the first months of her life and in P5 underwent major surgery in the Royal Victoria Hospital for pectus excavatum, a hole in the breast bone.

Mum Jacinta said it was at this stage that she developed her passion for music, said mum, Jacinta.

“She found her love of music and we discovered that she had a voice. She’s very shy until she gets on stage, but when she gets there, she turns into a different character.”

Cara performs on the collaboration song based on the tune of “In Gham be Haya” and says she is thrilled to have teamed up with professional musicians for so many peace-building projects.

“It was really nice to meet Darren and he has got me involved with so many things. I’ve really loved it and I loved playing with the orchestra,” she said.