John Spillane - Biography (Courtesy of the Artist's site, 2005)
John is a native of Cork, the county he lovingly describes as 'the centre of the universe' and it has been a huge influence on this singer / songwriter. Vocally, Spillane is quite unique with an almost sean nos like element and has been described as having a voice 'full of honesty, commitment and sensitivity'.
His debut solo album 'The Wells of The World' (1997) was described by Hot Press's Oliver Sweeney as, 'not only a striking and individual musical statement, but one of the albums of this or any other year.' His compositions have been described as, "highly original in concept, full of imagery and wonder".
Before embarking on his solo career, John honed his 'live' skills playing for over seven years with Cork based "The Stargazers" and more recently toured the globe for five years as singer with trad giants, Nomos.
The hugely successful album 'Éist' featured two of Spillane's works, one of which was 'Eist do Bheal' performed beautifully by Sinead Lohan and written by Spillane and the Gaelic poet Louis de Paor. It's follow up, 'Éist Arís' (or 'Son of Éist' as John calls it!) again features one of John's songs.
Spillane and De Paor, have often paired up on projects, John refers to their collaborations as 'The Gaelic Hit Factory'! At the end of 2000, following an invitation, the 'GHF' performed in several universities on the east coast of America and they got the year 2001 off to a good start by winning the prestigious Realta 2001 Irish song contest. With the prize involving one piece of Galway Crystal, the GHF decided to re-enter in 2002 and again won the competition. So now both mantelpieces are adorned with the Galway Crystal!!
John's latest album title 'Will We Be Brilliant Or What?' , which entered the Irish album charts at number 14(!) is a collection of thirteen songs that tell the story of his life up to now. "Will We Be Brilliant Or What?" was produced by Peter O'Toole (Hot House Flowers) and Declan Sinnott. Released in May 2002 on the EMI Ireland label. _In March 2003 John won the prestigious Meteor Ireland Music Award in the Best Folk/Traditional Act category.
2003 also saw Christy Moore, Sharon Shannon, Sean Keane, Karen Casey and others record and release some of John's songs
John has his own Radio Show on RnaG. The show is called "Rogha John Spillane" and is broadcasted from 9.pm pm to 11pm pm every Sunday night. It'll be all in Irish of course. That's what they do on Raidíó na Gaeltachta, it's Ireland's Irish Language Station!
In 2004 as well as writing the music and song, John produced and performed on a Brown Bag Films ("Give up your Auld Sins" animation, nominated for an Academy Award in 2003) animation called "The Boy Who Had no Story" based on one of John's songs "What's the Story Rory" It won an IFTA (Irish Film and Television Awards) under 2 categories, best animation and best children's program. On Sun 31st Oct '04.
Towards the end of 2004 John met up with producer John Reynolds (Sinead O'Connor, Damian Dempsey, Indigo Girls) and started to work on his next album at John Reynolds's studio in London.
April 1st 2005 saw the release of "Hey Dreamer" on EMI Ireland. John's third solo album went to number 4 in the Irish album charts on week of release and three weeks later it was still in the top ten. A sell out Irish tour followed, ending with a sell out show in Cork's Opera House (home town).
John Spillane Press Release '05
JOHN THE RECORDING ARTIST.
In Oct/Nov '04 John spent a few weeks in London working on his new album for EMI with producer John Reynolds,,,,_"Hey Dreamer" the new album was released on Friday 1st April '05 and went straight to number 4 in the Irish album charts,,,,Happy Days in the Gaelic Hit Factory!!
CORK, European Capital of Culture 2005 John's home town, Cork, has been designated European Capital of Culture for the year 2005, and John was honored to be invited to sing a new composition "Farranree", written specially for the occasion, at the official launch party on January 8th 2005, on Cork's main street, Patrick's Street, to an live audience of up to 100,000 and was also broadcast live on RTE television
JOHN THE SONGWRITER
It's been a great year for other people recording John's songs. Christy Moore, Karen Casey, Sharon Shannon and Sean Keane. Sean Keane has recorded three songs on his new album "The Valley of the Heart" Sharon Shannon recorded "All the Way's You Wander" on her latest album. George Murphy's first single in June '04 was a John Spillane song "The Moon Going Home" Happy Day's in the Hit Factory!! "The Moon Going Home" reached number 2 for two weeks in the Irish charts. George's album "Dreamed a Dream" which reached number 1 in the charts in its second week of release has two of John's songs.
JOHN THE SOUNDTRACK WRITER
John recorded the soundtrack for Brown Bag Films (of the Oscar nominated "Give Up Yer Auld Sins" fame!! 2003) new animation "The Boy who had no Story". As well as writing the soundtrack John wrote and sang the song for the film "What's the Story Rory"
"THE BOY WHO HAD NO STORY" was selected for the Jameson National Short Film Competition at the 49th Cork Film Festival, October 15th 2004. It was also screened (in competition) at the Boston Irish Festival... and the "2004 Chinese International Cartoon and Digital Arts Festival" in Changzhou City...It has also won an IFTA (Irish Film and Television Awards) under 2 categories, best animation and best children's program. On Sun 31st Oct '04……Happy Days!!
JOHN THE DJ
"Seal leis an Spealaire; Seal fánach leis an Spealánach; Seal eile le ceol na Speile" This is John Spillane's intro as the new persona - An Speal (The Scythe) - he has adopted for his weekly RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta programme which will now be extended by an hour on Sunday nights from 9pm - 11pm on Anocht fm. His programme Rogha John Spillane has won over a a strong listenership in recent times through his warm, friendly style and his eclectic mix of music, including Irish traditional and contemporary world music, snippets of lore and a regular poetry slot each week. John Spillane is a well known figure in the world of music and has received both national and international acclaim as a singer _songwriter
JOHN THE TV PRESENTER
John will host a new 10 part TV Series "Chúrsaí Ceoil" for RTE1 Television scheduled for June '05 covering Irish music over the past 25 years
JOHN THE METEOR AWARD WINNER
2003 John went and won the Folk/Trad section at the prestigious Meteor Ireland Music Awards 2003 John was in the Best Folk/ Traditional Act section which also included Altan, The Chieftains, Kila, Christy Moore and Sinead O'Connor. Needless to say John wiped the floor with the lot of them.......
You can listen to short samples from some of the tracks from this artist using the player below.
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