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Brendan O'Dowda


Brief Biography:

Brendan O�Dowda, tenor, was born in Dundalk, Co Louth, on October 1, 1925. He died in Southampton on February 22, 2002, aged 76.

The Irish tenor Brendan O�Dowda was held in great affection in his home country for his quirky interpretations of the popular composer Percy French, whose biography he also wrote. He was a gifted singer, who featured on BBC Radio, the Royal Command Performance and the Ed Sullivan Show, and appeared on the night of Irish television�s very first transmission.

One of nine children, Brendan O�Dowda was educated by the De la Salle Brothers in Dundalk. One year, on a boating holiday on Carlingford Lough, his singing was heard by residents of an hotel across the water. A guest invited him to meet a priest who was a cousin of the director of the Palestrina Choir. A successful audition in Dublin followed.

O�Dowda soon crossed the water to further his career, where he became founder member of BBC Radio�s Four Ramblers. On the strength of his performance, Val Parnell signed him for the London Palladium.

His first album, Emerald and Tartan, a collection of ballads, was followed by a season heading the bill at the Theatre Royal, Dublin. His second album, in 1958, was devoted to the works of Percy French. His versions of French�s The Mountains of Mourne, Phil the Fluter�s Ball and Are You Right There Michael Are You Right? ensured his popularity in Ireland and further afield. O�Dowda�s biography, The World of Percy, was published in 1981.

O�Dowda�s voice became a constant to listeners of Radio �ireann and in 1962, he appeared on Telefis �ireann�s first night of broadcasting. He was a promising Gaelic footballer as a youth for CoLouth.

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