Celtic Thunder is a Celtic music group, composed of five Celtic male soloists who perform both solo and ensemble numbers. Celtic Thunder debuted in August 2007 at the Dublin City University in Dublin, Ireland.
Since the group's formation, Celtic Thunder has released two albums: Celtic Thunder and Act Two and a live performance DVD entitled Celtic Thunder: The Show, with a new album titled "Take Me Home" to be released on July 14, 2009.
Celtic Thunder is known for its eclectic style with songs ranging from a soloist to an ensemble focus. The group is backed by the Celtic Concert Orchestra, and their live shows are known for the use of dramatic effects via lighting and choreography as well as a stage set resembling an ancient stone pathway suggestive of those referenced in Celtic lore.
In March 2009, Celtic Thunder opened the Saint Patrick's Day Parade in New York City, and later that day performed for President Obama, Mrs. Obama and Taoiseach Brian Cowen (or Irish Prime Minister) at the White House.
The members of Celtic Thunder are (in order of youngest to oldest):
Damian Joseph McGinty, Jr. (born September 9, 1992) is the youngest member of the group and is from Derry, Northern Ireland. He recorded the first Celtic Thunder album when he was only fourteen years old.
Keith R. Harkin, (born June 10, 1986) is also, like Damian, from Derry, Northern Ireland. He plays the guitar and has written one of the songs for Celtic Thunder: "Lauren and I". In 2008, a new solo album by Keith was rumoured to be in the working stages but has not yet been released as of early 2009. Keith enjoys surfing and has written a song called Chasing Dreams that articulates his love for it.
Paul Michael Byrom (born April 11, 1979) is from Dublin, Ireland. In addition to Celtic Thunder, he has also performed at major sporting events in Ireland and abroad, including singing at the All Ireland Finals in Dublin's Croke Park and at Heinz Field for a Pittsburgh Steelers game in the USA. He has also performed for Ireland's President, Mary McAleese, and for Emperor Akihito of Japan. Paul has released two albums: Velvet and I'll Be Home For Christmas.
Ryan John Kelly (born November 6, 1978) is from The Moy, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. He holds two degrees from the Queen's University Belfast, having earned a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and also a Graduate Diploma in Advanced Accounting, qualifying Ryan to be a chartered accountant.
George Donaldson (born February 1, 1968) is the oldest member of the group and is a well-known balladeer, guitarist and flutist from Glasgow, Scotland. At Scotland's Celtic Park, Donaldson played to 65,000 fans at the opening match of the 2000-2001 season.
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Individual BiographyDamian McGinty
Damian is 14 years old, in his third year at a grammar school. He lives with his parents, brother and sister in Co. Derry. He loves playing football and supports Manchester United along with his local city team. He has loved singing from a young age and won his first singing competition at the age of 6. Damian is in a drama society and the City of Derry Choir. He has entertained teachers and pupils alike in school with his star performances. He is also in his local church choir and has recently recorded a gospel C.D. In 2006 Damian won a competition where the prize was to record 2 tracks on C.D. This was his true beginning. After singing in the Millennium Forum at a concert for Derry City football team, Damian recorded a CD of 14 tracks, profits going to the local Foyle Hospice, he has raised a £1,000. His participation in this project had greatly increased Damian’s profile and songs from his CD have been aired on radio. He also performs at concerts for the Red Cross. Damian sent a copy of his CD to Phil Coulter, who passed it to Sharon Browne. From this Damian was invited to Audition as a singer for Celtic Thunder. It is a dream come true for him to have been successful. Damian’s excitement and enthusiasm for Celtic Thunder is infectious!
At forty years of age, George Donaldson is a long and well established singer in the vibrant Glasgow and West of Scotland Folk scene. His attributes include folk sessions for BBC Scotland and appearances at Glasgow’s own Celtic Connections and the Glasgow West End Festival. George has played alongside many folk musicians and singers, including Jim McCann and others from the Dubliners and has performed at the famous Glasgow Barrowlands.
As a self taught, accomplished musician, George plays the Guitar, Flute, Mandolin, bodhran, and Banjo, and has recently become the proud owner of a Violin…. in a bid to help his six year old daughter as she learns to play. Georges’ love of traditional Celtic music stems from his childhood in Glasgow, his main influence being his late father Bernard who had a love and appreciation of all kinds of live music played from the heart. Nothing more pleased his father than George becoming a successful musician and Playing at his beloved Celtic Park
in front of 65,000 fans at the opening match of the 2000/01 Season.
One of his main attributes is his charm and personality. He loves meeting new people and has many friends from all over the world. He is first to admit his first love is his Family, and knows how lucky he is to have Carolyn, his lovely wife and Sarah, his beautiful daughter, who are his inspiration…. this along with his
mother Helen and eight brothers and sisters who all share in his love of the Folk scene keeps George focused and never short of an audience.
To date, George has toured in America, Canada and Europe, and has developed a fondness for Germany, where he has a great following. His love of the country, its people and its culture has encouraged him, as an eternal student, to attempt to master the language….!
George loves being a part of and a performer in CELTIC THUNDER, it is a new direction for him and the most exciting of his career to date.
George can be found at his favourite gig in Jinty McGintys in the west end of Glasgow, where he is renowned for his ballad singing. He has been resident singer at Jintys for the last 15 years and has established a fond following of support, people are known to come here from all areas of the world to hear him
Keith is 21 years old and comes from County Derry. Keith has been singing and winning the Derry Feis on numerous occassions since the age of 4.
Keith is a talented Songwriter and excellent Guitar player as well as an amazing singer. He played at the Tavistock Festival in the UK in September ’05 and then played the Lead in BBC’s “Dha Theanga” in 2006 and also composed and recorded songs for the show. Keith was the support act in Concerts for both John Martyn and David Kitt in 2007.
His only ambition is to be a full time singer/songwriter and musician, an ambition he is dedicated to, having worked for the past year and a half just to make trips over and back to Metropolis Studios in London to begin recording tracks for his own album. He has done many of his own gigs and has been interviewed many times on Radio Foyle in Derry about his adventures in London recording songs and gigging.
Keith only heard about the auditions for Celtic Thunder late on the day of the Auditons in Derry as he was just back from another trip to London. He called into the Auditions on spec just as they were finishing, he auditioned and was very happy to be asked there and then to attend the final Auditions in Dublin.
Which brings Keith up to now….. A Soloist in this new CELTIC THUNDER Show, hopefully the start of a long and successful career in Music.
Dublin born Paul Byron has been hailed as Ireland’s premier young tenor and it is easy to see why. Singled out at an early age as having a special vocal talent, Paul was encouraged to pursue his dream and began voice
study and training at the tender age of seven. He studied under Dr Veronica Dunne, Ireland’s leading lady of Opera and renowned vocal teacher. A professional singer by his early teens, Paul recorded his first album as a boy soprano when he was fourteen.
From this illustrious debut, Paul Byrom’s star has continued to rise. He released his album VELVET in Ireland in 2005 to great critical acclaim and sales of this album placed him firmly at number #2 in the music charts.
VELVET also made Paul Byrom a household name in his native country. Since then Paul has gone on to sell out concerts at the prestigious National Concert Hall in Dublin in 2006 and again in 2007.
Being also an avid sports fan, Paul has taken great pleasure in performing at major sporting events in Ireland and abroad. His appearances at such events include singing at the All Ireland Finals in Croke Park in Dublin, the Six Nations Rugby tournament in Lansdowne Road, Dublin and at Heinz Field for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the USA.
Paul’s talent has taken him far, and the highlights of his career to date include performing for many dignitaries such as Irish President Mary McAleese and Emperor Akihito of Japan. His vocal style and range have
brought him to the attention of illustrious fellow Irish musicians, composers and singers such as Bono, Phil Coulter and Shay Healy.
Ryan is 28 years old and comes from The Moy in County Tyrone. A qualified Chartered Accountant, he has a Batchelor of Science in Accounting from Queen’s University, Belfast and a Graduate Diploma in Advanced Accounting.
Ryan has been singing since the age of 7 in Choirs but most enjoys singing Irish Traditional and Folk Music. He finished second in the BBC television “Country Cool” competition in 2003. Ryan has performed alongside Westlife, Girls Aloud and Simply Red in the televised “Children in Need Live Charity Concert” at the Odyssey in Belfast to an audience of over 8,000.
Throughout this time Ryan continued performing Traditional Irish Music and became Tyrone’s Singing Champion at the SCOR competition in March 2007.
Ryan is actively involved in Amateur Dramatics and has played the lead in “Blood Brothers” and played “Judas Iscariot” in “Jesus Christ Superstar”
Auditioning for CELTIC THUNDER seemed an ideal way to take Ryan’s passion for Traditional Irish Music to a professional level and now having been successfully chosen as one of the 5 vocal soloists Ryan is delighted to be on the path to a career as a professional singer.
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Listener CommentsMember Name:
I attended a CT show earlier this month with my sister, mom and aunt. The guys were even better than last year. I loved the format for the show and the fact that the guys were able to interact more with the audience. It was the first CT concert for my mom and aunt and they both loved it. My mom was already a fan, but the concert converted my aunt. Colm is a great addition to the group and Emmet seems to be much more at ease on stage this year. It was wonderful to see Ryan so healthy and happy after a difficult year. (He's my favorite ) It's always nice to see and hear George, Keith and Neil as well. I'm looking forward to what the guys have in store for us in the new show coming out next year.
Member Name: surfersully13
Date Posted: 11-Sep-2012
An amazing group of talented young men (3 of my girls are older than George, so he will always be young to me) individually & as a group. While I think the original group had a magical sound, I do like the new lads. Their live performances are outstanding. These lads enjoy their work! I found Celtic Radio through them & in turn found more Celtic music to love.
Member Name: behartnett
Date Posted: 20-Mar-2012
I left my house at 3:30 AM to drive to the NBC Today Show to hear "my boys" sing one song, and it was more than worth it. Have a friend at work who starts every day with a different CT song because she says it makes her feel good all day. This is a very special group. Their music is a lifesaver, making me smile even when smiling seems impossible.
Member Name: allenlg
Date Posted: 14-Mar-2012
Celtic Thunder is the best group of artists in the world today. Individually they are beyond talented...together they are unequaled. I had the pleasure of seeing Neil Byrne and Ryan Kelly perform live in three acoustic shows last week. They are amazing! These guys can sing and sound even better live. Neil Byrne is the best guitarist I've ever heard. They are also two of the nicest guys I've ever met. Celtic Thunder is all about their fans and go out of their way to meet us, sign autographs, take pictures or just chat. If you get a chance to see them in concert, don't miss it...I promise you'll be a fan for life. And if you get to meet them you'll fall in love! Neil is my favorite....but I love them all!
Member Name: jmparrish
Date Posted: 12-Mar-2012
Ahh Celtic Thunder, what can be said about such a fabulous grouping of talented men by a famous composer and brilliant producer? I discovered them a few years ago not long after they got together. They've had a few changes, but they are still one of my favorite groups. Ryan Kelly is definitely my favorite All of the lads are nice, but something about the sweet "bad guy" gets me everytime! I'm eagerly awaiting their new album, I'm hoping to get it for my birthday in a few weeks!
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