Marjorie beats brain illness to release CD

Marjorie Cardwell
Marjorie Cardwell

FORMER Portadown Times journalist Marjorie Cardwell - now a singer-songwriter living in Melbourne, Australia - has just released a superb CD, even though the production was interrupted when she underwent major surgery for a brain tumour.

Marjorie emigrated some 20 years ago, via Canada with husband David, and is now a secondary school teacher, having undertaken a university study course in a life that has changed beyond recognition since she left these shores.

The CD, ‘In Another World’, ranges from the gentler ballads to 60s-type soul music, and what Marjorie describes as “indie gentle pop, something for everybody”.

The opening song, ‘A Hole in the Head’ reflects the trauma she went through before, during and after the six-hour surgery at Melbourne’s Monash Medical Centre. “Thankfully, it was a benign tumour,” said Marjorie. “But the recovery has been slow. I had no idea what state I’d be in after the operation, or whether I would come out of it at all. I was glad, though, that I was able to get something done on the CD beforehand and, at worst, leave some sort of legacy.”

In retrospect, she had no idea it would be released so soon and would be so well received, but perhaps the shock news acted as a catalyst when the two events became intertwined. And a further boon was that there was a musical contribution by legendary New Zealander, Don McGlashan, who readily added his distinctive euphonium sound to the opening track ‘Hole in My Head’.

Marjorie is a former pupil of Portadown College, like husband David, who is a talented singer-songwriter in his own right, having won the prestigious Australia-wide Catapult Song Contest in 2011 leading to the financing of his own up-coming album. When his sponsors heard Marjorie’s music, they also decided to finance the production of her CD – another unexpected turn of events. David and Marjorie have two sons, both in their 20s, Portadown-born Joel and Canadian-born Samuel.

Said Marjorie, “Everyone has been so kind to me and the response to the CD has been amazing. David and I worked hard to put out the very best representation of my songs that we could, so it’s thrilling and actually a bit humbling that people seem to be enjoying it so much.”

In Northern Ireland, Marjorie worked as a journalist for the Portadown Times and Ulster Star in Lisburn, while performing regularly in venues throughout the province with David. Since leaving Portadown, the Cardwell family lived in Canada, where Marjorie performed her music for a number of years, before settling in Melbourne.

There she completed university studies and is now working as a secondary school teacher while always continuing with her music. David is a former medical scientist who is now full-time in the music industry, while Joel and Samuel are both at university studying law, and history and French respectively.

“People from Northern Ireland have been contacting me about the CD,” said Marjorie, “It’s great that nowadays you can buy it easily from anywhere in the world.” You can hear three of the songs and buy the album at and it is also available on iTunes.