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John Feeley and Fran O Rourke
John Feeley and Fran O’Rourke have until recently specialised in traditional songs (in both English and Irish) that feature in the writings of James Joyce. They have given concerts in Shanghai, New York, Philadelphia, Princeton, San Diego and Washington. In 2012 they gave a series of recitals with James Joyce’s guitar, repair of which they sponsored. Their CD “JoyceSong” is a live recording of a concert in Monaco on St Patrick’s Day 2015. Earlier this year they recorded a CD of traditional songs in Irish, “Casadh na nAmhrán / Turning the Song”.
John Feeley was described as ‘Ireland’s leading classical guitarist’ by The Washington Post, which also judged his CD “The Immigrant’s Song” to be the best classical guitar CD of 2013. He has won several prizes in international competitions and performed with major orchestras throughout the world. In recent years he has specialised in arrangements of J.S. Bach, which have been viewed over seven million times online. He has been awarded a PhD from Maynooth University for a dissertation on contemporary Irish music. His performances of Irish airs have been praised for their subtlety, brilliance and originality.
Fran O’Rourke acquired a love of Irish songs as a schoolboy during a three-month stay in the Connemara Gaeltacht. His first public performance was on the popular children’s television programme, “Seoirse agus Beartlaí”, hosted by a ventriloquist’s dummy. While studying on the Continent during the ’70s, he took part in major festivals in Belgium, Germany and Holland, as well as appearing on radio and television. He is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at University College Dublin. While researching philosophical influences in James Joyce, he discovered the importance also of traditional songs in his writings.