Biography (Courtesy of Tara Music site, 2005).
Rita was born and raised in Dublin in a family where singing came naturally to all. She cut her teeth on the Dublin music scene at the age of 14 with two of her sisters. Three years later The Connolly Sisters made their recording debut with the McGarrigle sisters 'Heart Like a Wheel'. Thus began a long career as a performer and session singer.
It was through performing in Dublin that she met her husband Shaun Davey. For many years they worked together on recordings and TV and radio commercials, eventually broadening their horizons to include theatre and film. Rita has recorded songs for many films including 'Waking Ned' and John Boorman's must recent film 'The Taylor of Panama'.
Rita has performed in many venues including London's Albert Hall, The Stad de France and the Chicago Symphony Centre, and many countries including England, Scotland, France, Germany, Spain and the United States of America.
As well as collaborations with Shaun Davey - 'Granuaile', 'The Pilgrim' and 'The Relief of Derry Symphony'- Rita has also recorded two solo albums: 'Rita Connolly', and 'Valparaiso'. She recently recorded a new anthem for the Special Olympics world games 2003, composed by Shaun Davey, which Rita performed (with Ronan Tynan) at the opening ceremony in Dublin's Croke Park in June 2003. The song 'May We never have To Say Goodbye' also reached no. 1 in the Irish singles charts in June 2003.
One of Rita's most requested songs 'The Deer's Cry' was originally recorded for the closing titles of the Granada film 'Who Bombed Birmingham', a film which was instrumental in obtaining the release of the Birmingham Six. The song was later included in Shaun Davey's 'The Pilgrim' which has been performed widely - most recently in March 2003 at the Chicago Symphony Centre, Chicago.
Rita's first solo album, simply titled, Rita Connolly, was released in 1991. The album served to underscore her ability to cross musical borders effortlessly, on it she included songs ranging from a sea shanty, through The Beatles to classic blues linking them all together by the simplicity and purity with which she sings." The Vocal and instrumental accompaniment - from such luminaries as Liam O'Flynn, Davey Spillane, Mairtin O'Connor, The Voice Squad, Noel Eccles and Eoghan O'Neill - certainly strengthens and enriches this recording. While a truly great singer like Connolly could doubtless rise above uninspired accompaniment, when she's joined by Ireland's finest, well, it's simply the difference between a good album and a fantastic one."
Valparaiso, her second solo album, reaches out to the world and draws themes and musical influences from far off places but always returns to Ireland as home. It highlights her versatility as a singer and a songwriter and features some of her own compositions, such as the title track Valparaiso, as well as some songs specially written for her by Sebastion Barry and Shaun Davey and songs by Sonny Condell, Leo O'Kelly and Irving Berlin. It also features a re-recording of the Granuaile's 'Ripples in the Rockpools' and Shaun's 'The Quite Land of Erin'. As with all of her work Rita delivers with a natural ease and clarity that never fails to please an audience.
You can listen to short samples from some of the tracks from this artist using the player below.