Celtic Thunder is a new group and concert special featuring five Celtic male vocalists: Paul Byrom (age 28, Dublin, Ireland), George Donaldson (age 39, Glasgow, Scotland), Keith Harkin (age 20, Derry, Northern Ireland), Ryan Kelly (age 28, Moy in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland) and Damian McGinty (age 14, Derry, Northern Ireland). Taped August 2007 at the Helix in Dublin, the group’s debut performance is a celebration of Celtic heritage and men—their loves, attitudes, individuality, power and strength, throughout life’s journey. Celtic Thunder premieres nationwide on public television March 2008 (check local listings) and is distributed by WLIW New York.
From rousing ensemble numbers to solos showcasing each members’ vocal style and personality, Celtic Thunder performs powerful ballads, popular hits, and heartwarming songs of love and loss from across the Celtic music spectrum—Irish, Scottish, traditional and contemporary. Celtic Thunder creator/producer Sharon Browne teamed up with legendary Irish composer Phil Coulter (Elvis Presley’s “My Boy,” Sandie Shaw’s “Puppet on a String,” the now-classic Irish ballad “The Town I Loved So Well”), to audition men all over Ireland and Scotland for the group, and craft a representative set list. The eclectic mix of music includes traditional songs (“Mountains of Mourne,” “Come by the Hills,” “Love Thee Dearest”), pop classics (Paul Anka’s “Puppy Love,” the Eagles’ “Desperado,” The Moody Blues’ “Nights in White Satin”) and Coulter originals (Irish Rugby Football Union anthem “Ireland’s Call,” “The Old Man,” “Steal Away”), accompanied by The Celtic Concert Orchestra, a full band, bagpipes and monks. Choreography, dramatic lighting, visual effects, and a set resembling ancient stone steps and paths enhance the musical production.
“Heartland” – Celtic Thunder (written by Phil Coulter)
“Mountains of Mourne” – Keith Harkin (traditional)
“Raggle Taggle Gypsy” – Celtic Thunder (traditional)
“Ride On” – Ryan Kelly (written by Jimmy MacCarthy)
“The Old Man” – George Donaldson (written by Phil Coulter)
“Love Thee Dearest” – Paul Byrom (traditional)
“Heartbreaker” – Ryan Kelly (written by Phil Coulter)
“Nights in White Satin” – Paul Byrom (written by Justin Hayward of The Moody Blues)
“Come by the Hills” – Damian McGinty (traditional)
“The Voyage” – George Donaldson (written by Johnny Duhan)
“The Island” – Keith Harkin (written by Paul Brady)
“Mull of Kintyre” – Celtic Thunder (written by Paul McCartney and Denny Laine of Wings)
“Puppy Love” – Damian McGinty (written by Paul Anka)
“Lauren & I” – Keith Harkin (written by Keith Harkin)
“Steal Away” – Celtic Thunder (written by Phil Coulter)
“My Boy” – George Donaldson (written by Phil Coulter)
“Desperado” – Ryan Kelly (written by Glenn Frey and Don Henley of the Eagles)
“Ireland’s Call” – Celtic Thunder (written by Phil Coulter)
“That’s A Woman” – Paul Byrom, Ryan Kelly and Zara Curtis (written by Phil Coulter)
“She” – Paul Byrom (written by Charles Aznavour and Herbert Kretzmer)
“Remember Me, Recuerde Me” – Paul Byrom (written by Phil Coulter)
“I Want to Know What Love Is” – Keith Harkin (written by Mick Jones of Foreigner)
“Caledonia” – Celtic Thunder (written by Dougie MacLean)
About Celtic Thunder
Paul Byrom – Born 1979 and raised in Dublin, Ireland, the tenor has been singing professionally since his teens, recording as a boy soprano at the age of 14. Byrom released his first solo album “Velvet,” a collection of songs from the American Matinee era in 2005, and has performed all over the world.
George Donaldson – A well-established singer in the vibrant Glasgow and West of Scotland folk scene, the Scotsman has performed in folk sessions for BBC Scotland, Glasgow’s own Celtic Connections, the Glasgow West End Festival and at the famed Glasgow Barrowlands. A self-taught musician, Donaldson plays guitar, flute, mandolin, bodhrán and banjo, and has played alongside folk artists including Jim McCann and the Dubliners, across Europe, America and Canada.
Keith Harkin – The singer/songwriter/guitarist from Derry, Northern Ireland has been singing since he was 4 years old. Harkin played the lead in BBC’s “Dhá Theanga” (2006) and also composed and recorded songs for the show, and has supported John Martyn and David Kitt in concert. Harkin is has his own album in the works and plays frequently in London.
Ryan Kelly – Hailing from the Moy village in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, Kelly began singing at the age of seven in choirs. Actively involved in amateur dramatics, he played the lead in a production of “Blood Brothers” and Judas Iscariot in “Jesus Christ Superstar.” Kelly performed alongside Simply Red in the BBC televised “Children in Need” charity concert at the Odyssey in Belfast, and finished second in the BBC television “Country Cool” competition in 2003.
Damian McGinty – The youngest member of the group at age 14, McGinty lives and attends grammar school in Derry, Northern Ireland. Winning his first singing competition at the age of six, McGinty recently recorded a gospel CD, and performs in the City of Derry Choir, his local church choir, and the drama society. He has recorded a 14-track charity CD and performed at concerts for the Red Cross.
Additional Performers: Phil Coulter (conductor); Zara Curtis (dancer); Megan Sherwood (cello); Brendan Monaghan (whistles, pipes, guitar, bodhrán); Dave Cooke (keyboards); Neil Byrne (guitar, backing vocals); Nigel Wheatley (bass, backing vocals); Rory McCarron (drums); Audrey Bridgeman (percussion); The Celtic Concert Orchestra led by Niccola Sweeney; Bagpipes/Drums: Andrew Carlisle, Shane Culleton, Chris Mc Nicholl, David Stone, Mark Wilson; Monks: Alex Browne, Ian McKinley, Greg Howie, Killian Buckley, Andy Lawler.
Producer: Sharon Browne. Composer/Musical Director: Phil Coulter. Director: Julia Knowles. Musical Arrangement: Phil Coulter, Dave Gold and Michael Keeney. Presented nationally by WLIW New York. ST and CC.