ROBBIE O'CONNELL BAND
Full Spectrum Celtic Music Experience
ince 1977 Robbie O'Connell has performed both solo and as a member of the Clancy Brothers & Robbie O'Connell, Moloney O'Connell & Keane, The Green Fields of America, Clancy, O'Connell & Clancy, and Aengus.
e has recorded fourteen albums for such labels as RCA, Vanguard and Green Linnet, and he has appeared on an additional seven compilation albums. Winner of the Boston Music Award as Outstanding Celtic Act, he has appeared at almost every major venue in the USA from New York's famed Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center to the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts in Los Angeles. He has played almost every major festival, from Milwaukee Irish Fest to the New York Guinness Fleadh and from the Skagen Festival in Denmark to the Los Angeles Irish Fair. He has played on international stages in such countries as Ireland, England, Scotland, Denmark, Germany, Uruguay, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.
e now brings his vast experience and remarkable repertoire to the Robbie O'Connell Band. With fiddler George Keith and multi-instrumentalist Dan Isaacson, this trio covers the full spectrum of the Celtic music experience. Dan was unavailable for this evenings concert, so his talented son filled in on bass. This was a superb show, with Robbie's warm, clear voice filling our hall with his interpretations of Irish laments, interspersed with George Keith's fluid renditions of jogs and reels.
obbie O'Connell was born in Waterford, Ireland and grew up in County Tipperary, where his parents had a small hotel. He began to play guitar and sing at age thirteen and soon became a regular performer at the hotel's weekly folk concerts. He spent a year touring the folk clubs in England before enrolling at University College Dublin where he studied Literature and Philosophy. In 1977, he joined the Clancy Brothers and two years later he moved to Franklin, Massachusetts.
With the release, in 1982, of his first solo album, Close to the Bone, Robbie emerged as an artist of major stature. Soon after, he began touring extensively with Mick Moloney and Jimmy Keane, and also with Eileen Ivers and Seamus Egan in the Green Fields of America.
In 1985, the trio's first album, There Were Roses, was released. Robbie also participated in The Festival of Mountain Music and Dance on a five nation tour of Latin America. In 1987, the trio followed up their very successful first release with the album, Kilkelly, the title track of which was voted "Best Album Track of the Year" in Ireland. 1989 saw the release of a live concert recording of the Green Fields of America.
Robbie has taught songwriting at the Augusta Heritage Arts Workshop in Elkins, West Virginia, the Catskill's Irish Arts Week, the Gaelic Roots Week at Boston College, and at the Summer Acoustic Music Week in Boston. His album of original compositions, Love of the Land, was voted the #1 acoustic album of 1989 by WUMB in Boston. In 1991, he won a prestigious Boston Music Award as Outstanding Celtic Act and was also featured in the highly acclaimed TV series Bringing It All Back Home. In 1992 he performed at Carnegie Hall with the Clancy Brothers and was also seen by an estimated 500 million people worldwide on the telecast of a live tribute to Bob Dylan at Madison Square Garden, a performance which Rolling Stone magazine described as "breathtaking."
Never Learned to Dance, his 1993 album of original songs, was critically acclaimed on both sides of the Atlantic. In 1994 he headlined a celebration of Boston based Irish Music at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Older But No Wiser, his last CD with the Clancy Brothers was released on Vanguard in 1995, followed in 1997 by Clancy, O'Connell & Clancy and in 1998 by The Wild & Wasteful Ocean, with Liam and Dónal Clancy. Robbie O'Connell Live, Humorous Songs and All On A Christmas Morning with the group Aengus, were released in 1998.
Praises for their performances:
- "a writer of timeless-sounding, emotionally powerful and often hilarious songs" ... "among the most respected guitarists, singer and songwriters in Celtic music."
- "While alternating songs of heart breaking tragedy, with those of sidesplitting hilarity, he defined the Irish condition, both for natives and American-born, in intriguing and enthralling ways."
- " ... he made it quite clear ... that there is more to being Irish than filing stereotypes. And through his music, he's bringing an inspired vision and a new voice of Ireland to American audiences."
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