I, Nóirín Ní Riain, have had the pleasure and indeed priviledge to have taught Kara a repertoire of songs from the Irish sean-nós tradition and here follows my brief assessment and observations of her over that time.
Kara is one of the most exceptionally talented students that I have ever encountered. Although the repertoire which I was assigned to teach her was completely new and foreign to her own previous experience, both on the level of language and singing style, she quickly adapted to it and made it her own in a highly unique, musical manner.
However, even apart from the talents and skills required to accomplish such mastery, Kara was first and foremost a beautiful student on every level; she is extremely diligent and always open to new learnings; her marvellous personality and presence is completely beguiling and brings out the very best in all of those blessed to be around her.
I would have absolutely no hesitation on any count in recommending Kara Matthias for what ever position she may see fit for herself.
Furthermore, I can guarantee that every person who comes into contact with her will be eternally grateful, as I am, for the gift of her exceptionally moving voice which cannot be separated from her equally moving and caring personality.
"On several visits to UL in the last year, I had the opportunity to listen to Kara Matthias singing with her M.A ensemble, and I was very taken with how at ease she was in the performance of vernacular song. While she avoided the possible temptation of adopting the obvious characteristics of indigenous styles, she brought her songs to life with an effortless and attractive rendition which was obviously her own, and all the more credible for it. I think Kara is a truly accomplished singer, and I look forward to hearing more of her."
~ Dónal Lunny
"Kara Matthias is a very fine singer and I have found her to be an excellent student over the past year in U.L. She has learnt over forty songs from the traditional canon, half of them in Irish, a new language to Kara. Her determination to completely immerse herself into a new society and culture so as to attain the songs would be overwhelming to most but she has displayed great social skills in grappling with all the challenges presented to her in the past while.
Kara would be an asset to any touring group with her great work ethic, her solid background in her own vocal classical style, in her commitment to her art and her new found courage in becoming a traditional singer.
I wish her the very best with whatever road she chooses to follow.
Kara will always have many options."
~ Karan Casey
"Kara Matthias has a unique approach to Irish traditional song. Blessed with a sweet and musical voice, she connects deeply with the repertoire and has benefitted greatly from interactions with diverse singers in Ireland during the course of her study for the MA Irish Traditional Music Performance. Kara is equally comfortable performing a capella or in the context of an ensemble. Her interpretation and her careful selection of the material she sings reflect her own musical journey from classical to traditional song, and the creative spaces that lie between."
~ Dr. Sandra Joyce
"Kara is an extremely musical singer. Although she is trained in opera, she is becoming a very fine folk singer, and has tuned her ear to traditional sounds. She is a quick study and picks things up without difficulty during our lessons. I also noticed she worked hard and progressed well between lessons too. I am very impressed with her."
~ Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh