Celtic Thunder is an Irish singing group and stage show which is frequently featured in concert specials on PBS.
Celtic Thunder is known for its eclectic, theatrical style show. The group is backed by the Celtic Thunder Band on their concert tours, and their live shows are known for the use of dramatic set pieces (often invoking symbols of ancient Celtic mythology), visual effects, and highly choreographed staging.
Since the original group's formation in 2007, Celtic Thunder has released eleven albums: Celtic Thunder, Act Two, Take Me Home, It's Entertainment, Christmas, Heritage, Storm, Voyage, Voyage II, Mythology and Christmas Voices, as well as ten live performances on DVD entitled Celtic Thunder: The Show, Take Me Home, It's Entertainment!, Christmas, Heritage, Storm, Voyage and Voyage II, Mythology, Live And Unplugged
Celtic Thunder debuted in August 2007 at The Helix in Dublin, Ireland. They are accompanied by the Celtic Concert Orchestra under the direction of Phil Coulter, the musical director of the group.
In December 2009, Billboard magazine named Celtic Thunder Top World Album Artist. Their first three albums also placed in the Top 10 for World Albums.
In March 2009, Celtic Thunder opened the Saint Patrick's Day Parade in New York City.
On November 28, 2010, Celtic Thunder member Paul Byrom announced his resignation from the group to begin a solo career. He left the group when the 2010 concert tour was over. Byrom released his album "This is the Moment" in November 2011, which went to number one on the World music charts and embarked on a solo tour of the United States and Toronto, Canada, which spanned the continent from Portland, Oregon, to BB King's in New York City. He has also appeared as a singer of the National Anthem at Boston Celtics' games. In March of 2013, he recorded his first PBS special to be aired later in the year.
In 2011, Damian McGinty (the group's youngest member) entered and won the Oxygen reality show The Glee Project. On August 21, 2011, Damian McGinty announced on The Glee Project's Live Viewing Party, that he would be stepping down from Celtic Thunder due to his new role on Glee.
During their 2012 tour, Colm Keegan was asked to stand in for Ryan Kelly who was hurt in a fall. After Kelly returned, Colm was asked to become a permanent member of the group.
On October 15, 2012, Celtic Thunder performed at The Pentagon.
In December 2012 Celtic Thunder performed an unplugged concert at the Sullivan Hall, New York, in front of a small audience of just over 300 people. The concert was in aid of the victims of Hurricane Sandy and resulted in approximately $50,000 being raised.
After 3 years with Celtic Thunder, on January 13, 2014, via his Facebook fan page, Emmet Cahill announced his decision to leave Celtic Thunder.
The current members of Celtic Thunder are (in alphabetical order of family name):
Neil Byrne, (born November 16, 1977) is from County Wicklow, Ireland. After playing guitar and singing backup on the previous albums, he became a featured soloist beginning with the show and album Heritage. He and fellow Celtic Thunder member Ryan Kelly collaborated on a solo album entitled "Acoustically Irish" in 2013, inspired by the success of the duo's "Acoustic By Candlelight" shows outside of Celtic Thunder.
George Donaldson (born February 2, 1970), is the oldest member of the group and is a well-known balladeer, guitarist and flautist from Glasgow, Scotland. Donaldson is a bus builder by trade and is self-taught as a musician. At Scotland's Celtic Park, Donaldson played to 65,000 fans at the opening match of the 2000-2001 season. Donaldson is married and has one daughter, Sarah. George released his new solo album "The World In My Mind" in April/May 2013.
Keith Harkin (born June 10, 1986), is from Derry, Northern Ireland. He plays the guitar and piano and has written several songs featured in the Celtic Thunder shows, including the songs "Lauren and I" and "All Day Long". Keith released a solo album in Canada on September 4, 2012 and in the United States on September 18, 2012.
Colm Keegan (born August 2, 1989) is from Dublin, Ireland. He attended University College Dublin on a music scholarship, graduating in 2011 with an honors degree in Music and Irish. Colm auditioned for and was selected for Celtic Thunder in May 2012 as a new vocalist, becoming a sixth member of the previously five-man group. He was formerly a member of the Aontas Choral Ensemble, who are known for their work with Celtic Woman. Colm appeared in the Celtic Woman DVDs 'Songs From The Heart' (2009) and 'Believe' (2011).
Ryan 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. In the fall of 2010 Ryan released his first solo album "In Time". His second solo CD, "Life", was released in late 2013. He and fellow Celtic Thunder member Neil Byrne also collaborated on an album entitled "Acoustically Irish" in 2013, inspired by the success of the duo's "Acoustic By Candlelight" shows outside of Celtic Thunder.
The past members of Celtic Thunder are (in alphabetical order of family name):
Paul 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. Paul resigned to pursue a solo career in the US and left the group after the 2010 Celtic Thunder tour was over. He was replaced by Emmet Cahill. In December 2011, he released a CD "This Is The Moment". He released the DVD two years later with a PBS Special. Paul and long time girlfriend Dominique Coulter were married August 30, 2013 in his hometown of Blackrock, Ireland.
Emmet Cahill (born October 18, 1990) is from Mullingar, County Westmeath, Ireland. He received a university degree in Music Performance from the Royal Irish Academy of Music. Emmet auditioned for Celtic Thunder in June 2010 and was asked to join after Paul Byrom announced his resignation. After 3 years with Celtic Thunder, on January 13, 2014, via his Facebook fan page, Emmet announced his decision to leave Celtic Thunder.
Daniel Furlong (born January 3, 1998), is from Taghmon, County Wexford, Ireland. He was a guest member for Celtic Thunder during the 2011 Voyage Tour. He is a boy soprano and he was discovered when he entered a talent competition ("The All Ireland Talent Show") at the age of twelve and won. He won his first singing contest at the age of seven. In November 2011, Daniel released his CD "Voice of an Angel".
Damian McGinty (born September 9, 1992), had been the youngest member of the group until being replaced by the 13-year-old Daniel Furlong. He is from Derry, Northern Ireland. He won his first singing contest at the age of five. He recorded the first Celtic Thunder album when he was fourteen years old. McGinty lists Michael Buble, Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra among his inspirations. On April 29, 2011 it was announced that Damian was chosen as one of 12 contenders for The Glee Project, a reality series on the Oxygen Network. He tied for first and had a guest starring role in the third season of the Fox hit TV show Glee. He debuted on Glee season 3 episode 4 Pot o' Gold. Though originally awarded a seven-episode arc, his run-time was later extended to 16 episodes including a guest appearance in season 4's Glee Actually. In the summer of 2013 Damian joined Paul Byrom for "The Me and My Shadow" Tour.
Celtic Thunder is blessed to have a band touring with them. It is such an amazing element to their performance.
Nicole Hudson violin Laura Durrant cello / double bass Seána Davey harp / concertina Dave Bakey guitar Kiran Brady pipes / whistles / bodhran / mandolin Declan O'Donoghue drums David Munro Piano / Musical Director
Concerts, tours, and discography
On December 17, 2008, Celtic Thunder completed their 2008 US tour of fifty cities. They also toured the United States extensively in the fall of 2009. For spring 2009 they focused on touring Canada, while also playing some concerts in the northeastern US.
During their 2008 fall tour, Celtic Thunder sold over 125,000 tickets in 49 shows and placed twentieth in the poll Star Tour Poll.
Celtic Thunder's first studio album and first concert special DVD were released on March 18, 2008. The album was titled Celtic Thunder and the concert special was titled The Show. It was filmed at The Helix in Dublin, Ireland, on August 2007.
The second studio album was released on September 16, 2008, titled Act Two. It included the rest of the songs from The Show.
The third studio album and second concert special DVD, both titled Take Me Home, were released July 14, 2009. Take Me Home was filmed at Casino Rama, Orillia (north of Toronto) while the group was on tour in 2009. It is considered a live concert DVD rather than a studio production.
The fourth studio album and third concert special DVD, both titled It's Entertainment!, were released on February 9, 2010. It was filmed alongside Storm at the Toronto International Centre Hall 5 (aka Arrow Hall), Toronto, Ontario, on October 1, 2009, and October 2, 2009.
After It's Entertainment!, Celtic Thunder fans sent many requests to Sharon Browne for a Christmas-themed album and an album containing more Irish music. Through these efforts, Christmas and Heritage came to be, postponing the release of Storm.
The fifth studio album, titled Christmas, was released on October 12, 2010, and the concert special DVD, also titled Christmas, was released on November 22, 2010. Christmas was filmed alongside Heritage at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie, New York, on September 17, 2010.
The sixth studio album and fifth concert special DVD titled Heritage was released on February 22, 2011. Heritage was filmed alongside Christmas at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie, New York, on September 17, 2010.
The seventh studio album and sixth DVD, titled Storm, was released on September 20, 2011 (originally recorded in 2009). Storm, unlike Celtic Thunder's other DVDs, is not just a filmed concert but has a storyline, an elaborate set establishing a location, and costumes which help to define the singers' and dancers' characters within the story. It makes use of the It's Entertainment cast which is Celtic Thunder's largest to date (25) and adds singer Dierdre Shannon.
The eighth studio album and seventh concert special DVD, titled Voyage, was released on February 28, 2012. It was originally set to be filmed on September 27, 2011, but due to changes, this filming was cancelled. The search for a new venue began on October 3, 2011, and resulted in a filming date of October 18, 2011, in Kansas City, Missouri, at the Midland Theater.
The eighth concert special DVD, companion DVD to Voyage for online purchase only, is titled Voyage II and was released on June 25, 2012. The CD of the same name was released on September 1, 2012, not available in stores.
The 2012 Celtic Thunder North American tour was called a "best of" or "greatest hits" tour.
The ninth concert DVD special is called "Mythology". It was filmed in early 2013 at the Helix Theater in Dublin, Ireland. Featuring a Celtic Cross, the stage setting is one of the most ambitious. The tour began in August 2013, with stops in Canada, the United States, Australia and Tasmania.
Other bands by the same name
The Celtic Thunder played its first show in May 1977 at the Harp Pub in Baltimore, and went on to become one of the most influential traditional music groups in the U.S. Called "a great Irish band" by the Village Voice and "one of the best Irish folk acts in America" by The Washington Post, Celtic Thunder has released three albums. The band's second album, The Light of Other Days, won the Indie award for Best Celtic Album.
The band's founders are brothers Jesse Winch (bodhran, bouzouki, guitar, harmonica) and Terry Winch (button accordion). The Winches, first generation Americans, learned their craft alongside their father, Patrick Winch, and his friend P.J. Conway, as they played for traditional Irish ceilis in New York City in the 1950s.
Along with another original member, Linda Hickman (flute, whistle, vocals), the band has featured Laura Murphy (lead vocals), Regan Wick (piano, Irish step-dance), Nita Conley (vocals, guitar, piano), Steve Hickman (fiddle, harmonica, vocals), Tony DeMarco (fiddle), Dominick Murray (vocals, guitar), Rob Thornburgh (fiddle, vocals), Marty Somberg (fiddle), and Patrick Orseau (fiddle).
The original Celtic Thunder was able to retain rights to the name after submitting to a non-competition agreement with the Celtic Thunder Production.
The show was fantastic as I thought it would be! We have seen 5 shows and have never seen a bad one yet. This one rated at the top!!! Th e new young man was great!! Enjoyed meeting a long down the way cousin in Neil Byrne!!! He is a very talented, and handsome young man.Vicki Jones Ok.
I talked to Sharon at the concert in Atlantic City and she told me we were on the calander this year for them to be here. Could you please check and see if we are really on for this year. I would really appreciate it. I think you have guessed by now i'm talking about Celtic Thunder. If you could please e-mail me I would greatly appreciate it. I was disappointed last year when we hade the meet and greet only to find they weren't coming back. My e-mail address is email@example.com and if you can't tell me yes or no can you give me a hint. THANK YOU SO MUCH YVONNE ACTON
Saw Celtic Thunder preform in Jacksonville, Florida and they were really an awesome group. I love the way that they inter act with each other from the youngest to the oldest one and the different types of music that each performed. the settings were just beautiful and made you really think you where back in time with them.