Brian Duffy and Mayo Concert Orchestra at Westport Town Hall

Popular Westport singer Brian Duffy is to perform a concert of original songs on Friday June 23 next at Westport Town Hall Theatre, in collaboration with Mayo Concert Orchestra and Musical Director, Kathy Fahey.

The orchestration of his music and the opportunity to share his contemporary folk creations with family, friends and guests on such a grand scale on the night, marks a new turning point for Brian, who over the last few decades, has gradually built up a strong and loyal following among fans of his soothing, soulful compositions.

"It is a dream come true to collaborate with an orchestra, as for any singer-songwriter this is the ultimate goal", Brian told the Mayo Advertiser, adding: "It really is the icing on the cake, because it brings your music to another level, and just adds an extra dimension of beauty to the whole thing."

The youngest of a family of nine children, Brian has travelled and lived abroad over the years, with eight years spent in the north west of Spain, which he says brings an influence of Celtic music from various Celtic regions to his music, 'and certainly a Latin interest'.

After several decades playing to small and medium crowds in local gigs and at various music events, Brian reveals that while his first rehearsals with Mayo Concert Orchestra were 'a little scary', "once I got to explain who I am and what I am about and my music, everyone was on board and put me at ease; with this understanding of my songs, the orchestra was able to get more involved as well."

The 18-song repertoire that Brian will perform on the night, consists of all original songs, from the heart, with his own particular highlight, the very beautiful 'Baby don't you cry' - dedicated to 10-year-old daughter Uisce.

Providing background, Brian explains: "I started writing music when I was 17, and this concert is based on three albums, which would have been recorded over the last 10 years up to six months ago. The songs are very personal, especially those from the last album, 'The Walk', which I wrote through lockdown. They cover themes of loss, love, family bereavement, and all manner of human experience. Music is a healer for all experiences and to share these will hopefully benefit others also and help them on their own journeys."

Brian said that he and MCO Musical Director Kathy Fahey agreed on the concert date of June 23rd, as it is the Summer Solstice, and a magical time to do it and celebrate. Nonetheless, after months of rehearsals, he admits to feeling a sense of vulnerability as the big day draws nears.

"This is me completely laying my cards on the table, showing transparency and sticking my neck out way beyond what I have ever done before, on a level of playing with an orchestra. But it is very exciting, sharing my music, my thoughts and my experiences.

"My hope is that people will be able to relate to my music and take something from it; the realisation that we are all human and trying to do the best we can, because there are ups and downs and peaks and troughs in life for everyone, but I do feel music is a healer, and in this concert, the music is soft, and soothing, to ease the soul."

As a local talent going for gold, Brian is tremendously grateful to all in Westport who have been backing and supporting him as he takes this next big step into the limelight.

"I am being stopped on the street, with people saying they are really looking forward to the concert, fair play, which makes me feel I am being backed by the community and coming together with it. I am really humbled as I walk around town and see this feedback, and sense that everyone is rooting for me. As well as that, there are friends and people in the music industry coming from overseas just to be here on the night. So I am fulfilling my dream.

"I think through Covid, a lot of people struggled. But no matter how difficult it was, I disciplined myself to get up and write music every day, with no expectation or destination in mind; just writing every song as it came. But where that has gone now, it has exploded into something massive; there are other things happening now, and collaborations coming up, so this has already expanded my sense of self, helping me to grow, as a musician wants to grow."

Mayo Concert Orchestra Musical Director, Kathy Fahey, added: "It was March 2022 when I first discovered a song by Brian composed in memory of his mother who passed away in the previous months, a song about dementia, called 'would I lie to you'. I listened to it, and then several more times, and could not get it out of my head; the lyrics, the layered melodies, the timbre of Brian's euphonius voice and wondered, why on earth I hadn't stumbled upon this singer-songwriter before.

"Fast forward to July 2022, Brian and Seoda were guesting at a concert by Castlebar Concert Band, following which, we both decided a collaboration was necessary. Brian was thrilled at the idea of being accompanied by a full orchestra, and I was delighted to accompany such a true talent and such beautiful, moving melodies. Mayo Concert Orchestra is really looking forward to this concert as we finish our season on a high."

For a taste of Brian's music see his website at www.brianduffymusic.com and for tickets to the Brian Duffy Concert with Mayo Concert Orchestra, at 8pm on June 23, log on to https://westporttownhall.ticketsolve.com/ticketbooth/shows/873645383 or call in to the Box Office.

 

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