Monday, April 15, 2013

Joe O’Donnell’s Shkayla


"The captivating sound of Joe O’Donnell’s Shkayla brings together the spirit of Celtic tradition and the
dynamic grooves of modern rock and jazz. It’s a unique and powerful sound that has evolved since band leader and ace electric fiddle-player Joe O’Donnell moved to Coventry in 1998.
Joe O'Donnell
Members - Joe O'Donnell, Si Hayden, Martin Barter, Adrian Litvinoff, Brendan J. Rayner

Joe's Website

Joe O’Donnell is one of the finest electric violin players performing in the Celtic tradition. He’s also widely acclaimed as a first-class mandolin-player, singer and composer.

Born in Limerick, Ireland, Joe began taking classical violin lessons at the age of twelve. After seven years of study he won two scholarships for the Royal Irish Academy of Music to study orchestral work. When Joe left the Academy, he took up playing lead guitar but returned to the violin two years later. During this time he played for various groups, including Decca’s Granny’s Intentions, who had also featured Gary Moore on guitar. This started a busy and productive period in the world of progressive rock music, with Joe playing a key role on both sides of the Irish Sea.

In 1971, Joe moved to London and joined Woods Band for nine months, featuring Terry and Gay Woods, founder members of  Steeleye Span. It was at this time that Joe started making electric violins for his own use, including violectra and 8-string violins.

In 1973, Joe joined East of Eden stepping into the shoes of their celebrated fiddle-player Dave Arbus. He was featured on their hit album Another Eden and toured Europe with the band until they split in 1978.

In 1977, Joe released Gaodhal’s Vision, a concept album of his own compositions, heralded as a fusion of Celtic music with jazz and rock. Drawing on Irish Celtic mythology, the music tells the story of the exodus from the Carpathian Mountains to Ireland by a race of people known as The Milesians. The project followed a deal with Decca after Joe approached Tubular Bells producer Tom Newman and Jon Field. Joe was joined on the album by Rory Gallagher, Steve Bolton, Theodor Thunder (Alan Price Band) and David Lennox (Ginger Baker, Blodwyn Pig, The Equals). The album was re-released in 2004 on Sony’s BMG label with three new bonus tracks.

In the 1980s, Joe lived in Guernsey. During this period he remained active in folk-rock music, and appeared
Martin Barter Keys
with various line-ups at festivals in Brittany and the Channel Islands.

In 1998, Joe moved to Coventry, to work with producer and musician Martin Jenkins, former member of acclaimed folk bands, Dando Shaft, Hedgehog Pie and Whippersnapper. Joe released his album, Shkayla and around this time formed the first line-up of the band, Shkayla with Martin and his guitarist son Ray Jenkins.

In 2004, Martin and Ray took up new projects and a new line-up of Shkayla was established, when Joe recruited guitarist Dave Perry (ex-US band, In Athens and Norwegian prog-rock band The Truth Monkeys) and keyboards-player Martin Barter (ex-Birmingham band, The Alliance).

In 2006, the expanded five-piece line-up of Joe O’Donnell’s Shkayla performed Gaodhal’s Vision at the Warwick Folk Festival. This introduced new band members, drummer Paul Johnston (of Midlands folk-rockers Meet On The Ledge) and bassist Mark Fulton. The
show also featured The Celtic Vision Orchestra conducted by Christopher Evans, plus dancers Sinead Lightley, Amardeep Nanra and Indigo Dance & Performing Arts. The show was recorded for later CD and DVD releases.

In 2008, Joe completed the long-awaited new Shkayla album Celtic Cargo. He is now touring with the band’s latest line-up in which Martin Barter and Mark Fulton have been joined by guitarist Si Hayden and drummer Brendan J.Rayner.

Joe uses Sonic Violins and a unique ceramic violin made by John Stevens.

Singing songs in English and Gaelic and playing soaring fiddle melodies and improvisations, Joe is accompanied by a team of first-class musicians who really understand and do justice to the dynamic spirit of Celtic and rock music.

This is such a beautiful track -

Si Hayden

And Watch this one on Youtube

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