Leahy is the name of a Canadian folk music group. The eight band members, all from the Leahy family of 11 siblings, are from Lakefield, Ontario and have been touring Canada and internationally since the early 1980s when they were known as The Leahy Fami...
Leahy is the name of a Canadian folk music group. The eight band members, all from the Leahy family of 11 siblings, are from Lakefield, Ontario and have been touring Canada and internationally since the early 1980s when they were known as The Leahy Family. In 1985, they were the subject of a short film entitled Leahy: Music Most of All which received an Academy Award in the category of "Best Foreign Student Film". The members of Leahy take great pride in their Irish roots and their Canadian upbringing.
The line-up of the group varies depending upon the availability of its members who come and go due to marriage, raising children, and other commitments. During the 1980s and early 1990s, the band recorded a number of privately released LPs and cassettes (most of which used the same title, The Leahy Family) which were sold at their concerts and they were frequent guests at the Big Valley Jamboree concerts in Saskatchewan and Alberta.
In 1997, the band resumed recording with their "relaunch" album, Leahy which also introduced the group's new branding. Leahy was an instrumental album, but the band also includes vocal performances in their live performances and subsequent albums have included both vocals and instrumentals.
Despite their established history, they were awarded two Juno awards in 1998, for Best New Group and Best Instrumental Artist. The following year, Leahy took a third Juno Award, for Best Country Group or Duo. Also in 1998, Leahy were added as the opening act for Canadian country singer Shania Twain's 1998 Come on Over Tour and were featured in two television specials from the tour, Live and The Specials, performing with Twain on the song "Don't Be Stupid (You Know I Love You)".
The group's members are both instrumentalists and dancers, with several members skilled in fiddle-playing (most notably the group's best-known member, Donnell). The female members of the band often perform step-dancing-style routines and do most of the singing.
All members of the band are siblings. Each member has a main role to play in the band; although most play more than one instrument and all step dance. Interesting side-notes are that Donnell Leahy is married to Cape Breton fiddler Natalie MacMaster and Frank is married to champion step dancer Chanda Gibson.
In 2008, Donnell Leahy and wife Natalie MacMaster were awarded honorary doctorate degrees by Trent University.