Reclaiming St. Patrick’s Day: Joe O’Donnell’s Shkayla

“Joe O’Donnell is one of the finest violinists playing in the Celtic tradition” — Living Tradition

With St. Patrick’s Day coming up on 17th, people are sure to be making plans already, even if they aren’t Irish. There’s normally a few images that come to mind when you think of St. Patrick’s Day and I can bet that they are probably drunkenness and overindulgence. But clearly, this is not what the day is really about.

Renowned Irish Musician, Joe O’ Donnell, has strong heritage to the origins of the country, being related in lineage to the people who originally brought St. Patrick to Ireland and consequently, he wants to make sure the day is celebrated in the right way.

How you may ask? Well, through Joe’s one-of-a-kind celtic-rock music, he is aiming to help people remember the true meaning of the day of the Patron Saint. Of course, Joe doesn’t want to take the fun out of St. Patrick’s day, but he feels it has lost its original significance in the commercialism of the modern day. He said ‘ St.Patrick, with his Egyptian hat and Graeco-Egyptian crozier, became the adopted Father of the Irish Nation. The celebration of that event on St. Patrick’s Day used to embody the spirit of Irish creativity and culture. We need to bring some of that back to redress the balance.’

This year also marks the 40th anniversary of Joe’s acclaimed album, Gaodhal’s Vision, which received praise upon its release for its innovative compositions and because it featured the talents of guitar hero of the day, Rory Gallagher. Joe and Rory became good friends through their shared love of music and they mirrored this relationship when performing together.

Although Gallagher sadly passed away in 1995, Joe is resurrecting their musical chemistry on stage when Shkayla celebrate the 40th anniversary of Gaodhal’s Vision by playing two live shows in Coventry. Along with dancers and narration, Shkayla’s performance of the entire album will be accompanied by the original recordings of Rory’s solos, so he can be there in spirit and sound, if not in person.

Whilst Joe was classically trained as a musician, he quickly began to understand the links between Celtic modal and Indian music from his early experience working in rock bands. Now, Shkayla bring together elements of these styles along with rock, jazz and orchestral sounds, subsequently creating a unique sonic experience. Shkayla generate great energy and excitement through their music, channelling the sensitivity and delicacy needed to keep Celtic music faithful to its roots.

The live shows will be performed at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, on 31st March and 1st April.

Buy tickets for the shows here: