Eleanor Shanley is one of Ireland’s most loved and respected vocalists. In her long and rich career, we have enjoyed Eleanor’s many solo performances and recordings in addition to her body of work from her wonderful collaborative projects both recordings and live performances. A beautiful career in itself with De Danann marked Eleanor’s baptism to her professional career, her fondly remembered period working with good friend and Irish icon Ronnie Drew, Mike Hanrahan and her work with Donal Lunny, Garadice and long-time friend and leading classical guitarist, John Feeley are just a few names from many. Across her collective projects, Eleanor Shanley has truly spread her wings and enjoyed mixing up the sounds within the folk and traditional music genres and on her most recent album, ‘Cancion De Amor’, with John Feeley we also get to enjoy some beautiful classical arrangements.
Renowned for her unique interpretation of Irish and Roots songs Eleanor has been at the top of her profession since joining De Danann and in addition to a number of collaborative projects since, Eleanor has recorded many solo albums including “Desert Heart”, “A Place of My Own” and 2015’s, “Forever Young” from which her single, the Thom Moore classic “Gorgeous and Bright”, was the most played track on RTE 1 Radio the same summer.
Before her most recent collaboration project, “Cancion de Amor” with John Feeley, possibly Ireland’s leading classical guitarist; Eleanor’s other recent works had a full-on traditional Irish focus. The collaborative, GARADICE features Eleanor, Dave Sheridan, Padraig McGovern and John McCartin; the same four-piece who originally collaborated in 2014 to co-create and ultimately perform in the fourth residency of The Leitrim Equation programme (Est. by Leitrim Co. Council in 2006). As a result of the time spent together in The Leitrim Equation residency and subsequent tour, the four-piece of Eleanor Shanley (lead vocals), Dave Sheridan (Flute, Accordion and Piano), Padraig McGovern (Uileann Pipes and Whistles) and John McCartin (Guitar), decided to work together. In October 2018 Garadice, the album was released. Eleanor and Garadice are currently recording its new album and some of her live shows this spring will be as part of this energetic four-piece!
Eleanor has worked alongside many other great musicians through the years and also recorded with The Dubliners, Sharon Shannon, Donal Lunny, U2 and too many more both at home & internationally to mention here. Her time working with Ronnie Drew was a very special time in her life, and this a friendship she treasured. They recorded two albums together, “A Couple More Years” and “El Amor De Mi Vida”, which was recorded shortly before Ronnie died, Eleanor and Ronnie performed live together on many occasions, also.
Other highlights in recent years include the release of her most recent solo album Forever Young in 2015, performing at RTE Radio’s 1916 Commemoration Concert in Dublin, performing at Here’s To You, Ronnie Drew – A Celebration, in honour of her dear friend. A recipient of the prestigious The Danish Folk Music Award in 2015, Eleanor is only the second Irish artist to receive this honour since its inception.
Eleanor’s happiest place is performing; to have an opportunity to perform with friends makes the experience even more special. The last two years of almost silent stages have been difficult, but this was a necessity. We needed to play our collective role in keeping each other safe.
With this in mind it brings us so much sweet, glorious new year joy to, at last, announce these new live shows for this spring. Head over to the LIVE page on this website to find out more and for ticket booking links.
At Eleanor’s upcoming shows this spring you can expect performances of a number of well-known favourites together with some newer material and in doing so ensuring an evening where the audience will enjoy a feast of music styles and the songs Eleanor holds closest to her heart. It will be an utter joy to gather and celebrate in music once more.
Ends: January 2022
The most recent album, ‘Cancion de Amor’
Recorded in the beautiful Meelick Friary nestled next to the River Shannon in Eyrecourt, Co. Galway, Cancion de Amor by Eleanor Shanley and John Feeley is now on release. “Completing the album and its subsequent release in December 2020 was a very fulfilling and positive outcome from a year we mostly spent in lockdown”, said Eleanor. She continued, “Trying to release an album during a pandemic is a challenge, but a good challenge. We adjusted and feel very privileged to have been able to see it through.”
The thirteen-track long play features so many beautiful songs including the Brendan Graham and Tim McCarrick original, Cancion de Amor, which also gives the album its title. Eleanor remembers “We both fell in love with Cancion de Amor on our first listen and were thrilled when Brendan gave it to us for the record. John is our country’s finest classical guitarist and we both believe Cancion de Amor is perfect and indeed enhances our creative partnership on this record.”
Brendan Graham says, “I am very excited about this, my first recording by Eleanor, whom I’ve long admired and in tandem with the brilliant John Feeley, whom I know from my youth in Ballinasloe.”
“The lyrics are to a tune by Tim McCarrick, a dear friend from Pennsylvania, who loved Ireland and Irish music. Tim sadly passed away in December some years back but I’m sure he is casting a listening ear to this beautiful recording of our song. Eleanor and John have graciously dedicated their recording of Cancion de Amor to Tim’s memory while according us the honour of making it the title track to this collector’s item album.”
Eleanor and John first met in London in the 1990s, when Eleanor was touring with De Dannan. “It was a chance encounter at Liverpool Street Station when we were both passing through.” Eleanor reminisces. They did not meet again for nearly twenty-five years, when John was doing a show in Eleanor’s now hometown of Ballinasloe. They almost immediately started chatting about doing some work together. They have since worked on some live shows together (Clifden Arts Festival, The Seaview Sessions, The Unitarian Church, Jung Symbols and Songs Of The Soul and many others), and Cancion de Amor is the result of their recording collaboration. “I have been an admirer of John’s work for so long and love all of his performances on this record. However, I think his playing on the track Coolin is sublime,” says Eleanor. They both love how John’s classical and Spanish influenced guitar styles work with Eleanor’s voice. The resulting long play is a beautiful body of work to listen to.
While this new album’s recording started some time ago, 2020 gifted both the time needed to finish the album. John was born in Ballinasloe and now lives in Co. Wicklow and while born and raised in Co. Leitrim Eleanor now lives in Ballinasloe so both were familiar with the church where the record was recorded. St. Francis Church, Meelick Friary has been in use since 1414 AD, making it the most continuously used Roman Catholic Church in the country. To our joy, Fr Declan McInerney kindly gave us permission to record our album at this historic and beautiful location and when Covid restrictions allowed we set about completing the album also in the same location.
Together with its title track, Cancion de Amor, the album features many other original songs including the gloriously gentle and beautiful, Child Of Mine by Bernadette McGuigan (John’s sister in law), the divine Sand and Water by Beth Nielsen Chapman together with some newly composed pieces of music by John, including The Cloths Of Heaven and The Immigrant’s Song. Others include Siúil A Rún, MyBonny Light Horseman and Dumbarton’s Drumsall new arrangements by John and Eleanor. The ConTempo String Quartet also features strongly on this album.
Eleanor and John share a meeting of musical minds, loves and styles and out of this has come Cancion de Amor. It is a privilege to now be able to have this beautiful body of work born out of a unique and very special collaboration.
CHILD OF MINE
Bernadette McGuigan (Cop/Con Bernadette McGuigan)
2. ALL ROADS LEAD TO YOU
Boo Hewerdine/Findlay Napier (Chrysalis Music Ltd/PRS0
3. CANCION DE AMOR
Music: Tim McCarrick (Alfred Music - ASCAP)
Words: Brendan Graham (Peermusic (UK) Ltd)
4. THE COOLIN
Trad. Arr. Feeley
5. MY BONNY LIGHT HORSEMAN
Trad. Arr. Feeley / Shanley
6. CAROLAN’S FAREWELL (to music)
Trad. Arr. Feeley
7. SIÚIL A RÚN
Trad. Arr. Feeley / Shanley
8. THE CLOTHS OF HEAVEN
Words: W. B. Yeats; Music: John Feeley
9. THE IMMIGRANT’S SONG
10. DUMBARTON’S DRUMS
Trad. Arr. Feeley / Shanley
11. SAND AND WATER
Beth Nielsen Chapman (BNC Songs; ASCAP)
13. SHANNON WATERS
Gerard Donovan/John Feeley
Eleanor Shanley – Vocals
John Feeley – Guitars (Stephen Hill 2016 Ceder Guitar, Ariel Ameijenda 2018 Ceder Guitar)
Bogdan Sofei - Violin 1
Ingrid Nicola - Violin 2
Craig Pecherek - Viola
Adrian Mantu - Cello
Accordion - Dermot Dunne
Violin - Lynda O’Connor
Cello - Gerald Peregrine
Percussion- Dave McCune
Produced by John Feeley
Engineer at Meelick Church – John Feeley
Engineer at Ventry Studios – Dave McCune
Engineer at Beechpark Studios– Daire Winston
Editing and mixing by Dave McCune and John Feeley
Mastered byJim Salamone at Cambridge Sound Studios, Philadelphia, Pa, USA