Melanie O'Reilly & Tir na mara
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Melanie O'Reilly & Tir na mara

Band Jazz Celtic


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The best kept secret in music


"Press Quotes"

"Melanie O' Reilly deserves a Grammy."
Hot Press Magazine

"The Golden Voice of Melanie O' Reilly .. powerful ... deeply moving"
The Sunday Independent

"The spirit of Ireland - with the voice of Ella Fitzgerald"
Lincoln Centre, New York

"Spellbinding... uplifting music from a true innovator"
Rough Guide to Irish Music

"Extraordinary ... whether she sings Irish traditional, jazz or Jacques Prevert"
Le Telegramme

"The Royal voice of Melanie O'Reilly has opened a new door; that of a celtic spirit always ready for new influences, an ancient spirit urgent to enrich itself" ....
Le Telegramme

"Breathtaking amazing emotional intensity .. sheer virtousity..."
The Irish Times

"Melanie O'Reilly is of the pedigree of Billie Holiday"
Ouest France

"Melanie O'Reilly ... a kind of priestess marrying traditional and jazz music .."
Telefis na Gaeilge

"An intriguing new sound "
Q Magazine

"What better way to drift towards the dawning than in the company of the silky smooth voice of Melanie O'Reilly .... her hauntingly beautiful and sensuous voice wooed the audience ... close your eyes and you were in dreamland"
Aberdeen Review

"A work of special importance in the development of the sung Irish uplifting celebration of Irish culture that is finding new feet upon which to confidently stride into the future."
--Dublin Event Guide

"A spiritual journey and a musical joy."
-- The Big Issue

Of her live performances:
"...her pitch was impeccable, her timing totally secure, her phrasing ineffably right. More than this, however, was perhaps the most essential gift of all - her ability to read a lyric with an innate sense of its dramatic demands and to serve these accordingly."
-- The Irish Times
"O'Reilly's sensuous voice is the perfect vehicle for entwining jazz styles with Irish Celtic influences..."
-- The Scotsman

“An outstanding night of jazz,” (review of Melanie’s performance with Larry Coryell, The Green Room, Dublin)
-- Alex Moffat, Irish Music Magazine

Reviews of “House of the Dolphins”:

"House of the Dolphins" is a mighty fine leap into the big blue…Melanie O'Reilly deserves a Grammy"
-- Hot Press
"... O'Reilly's voice is exquisitely controlled and outstanding collection of songs"
-- Alex Moffat, Irish Music Magazine

"....An fresh innovative album with soulful singing and beautiful arrangements..."
Sean O Heanai
-- Radio na Gaeltachta

- World Press


"A wonderful start to the Saturday concerts with, as the first invited guest, an Irishwoman. Melanie O'Reilly completely stunned and invigorated a large audience at the Belle Croix Square.

"Rarely have these Saturday shows attracted so large an audience. Saturday evenings, the accents used to be British, Dutch and German. Melanie O'Reilly came to meet the audience without aggression, ... but with sweetness and strength, blonde, translucent skin, dressed in a red dress and green cardigan. Melanie has the simplicity of the truly gifted artist. In a charming French accent she introduced the first song written "by me and a poet". Her thanks punctuates the applause; the youngest kids are already dancing. Melanie continues with the Bossa Nova number A Day in the Life of a Fool, bodies move, eyes close. Melanie continues the introductions with the pianist "A Dubliner, he lives in New York"; then the guitarist "he lives in the west of Ireland"; and, finally, the double bass player "I believe that you know him, he comes from Caen". Emotionally engaged, Melanie takes time to explain the themes of the songs: "A song of Ireland's freedom". Her face becomes serious and the voice becomes more evocative. The kids are now sitting on the dance floor and the crowd moves closer to the stage. It is an emotional moment.

"With a lament for a close friend, Melanie brings the listener into her universe, peacefully and gracefully. Her voice is beautiful. The musicians support and transport her. "This song is for immigrants everywhere". Annie Moore, the song in question, extends the context to humanity as a whole. Notes hang in the air like those of the great jazz voices, like that of Ella Fitzgerald, ... less powerful but clearer. The jazz becomes more rhythmic and the audience responds; an authentic happiness is shared.

"With cries of anger, joy and love, Melanie expresses her conflicts with talent. Helped by very talented musicians, she succeeded on Saturday evening in moving the audience. "I like Falaise, it's good and beautiful," says Melanie in benediction. - Ouest France


New album "Dust and Blood" just out! A unique jazz fusion of Irish-inspired originals and Bossa Nova. with Bonus album "Live at Temple Bar" (Mistletoe Music LLC).

"Oilean Draiochta (Enchanted Island)"--
An exciting fusion of jazz with traditional Irish infuences. All original material with Gaelic lyrics by Ireland's Chair of Irish poetry - Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill. Special guests include world-renowned jazz guitarist Larry Coryell and fiddle legend Eileen Ivers. (Mistletoe Music LLC).

"House of the Dolphins"--
Nominated for two awards: Best Female Contemporary Artist and Best Contemporary Album (Irish Music magazine), this album is a further development of the Irish traditional and jazz crossover -a mixture of original songs along with standards from both the jazz and Irish traditional repertoire. (Mistletoe Music LLC).

"Women Who Left"--
A song cycle commissioned by Sirius Arts Centre, Cobh, this is based on the stories of Irish women who emigrated from Cobh to USA & Canada, and Melanie was awarded a grant from the Arts Council of Ireland, the East Cork Area Dev. Fund, and Cork County Council. Original material that is jazz-based with influences from Irish traditional music. (Mistletoe Music LLC).

"Lorient Festival Interceltique – Trent Ans / Thirty Years"
"Realta 98 (RTE)"
"Realta 2000 (RTE")


Feeling a bit camera shy


A very special talent…I want to do everything I can to expose her
beautiful artistry to the rest of the world.”
-- Larry Coryell

Melanie has recently been awarded Best of Bay Area as new contemporary/jazz-folk genre by the East Bay Express awards 2007.

Born in Dublin, Melanie comes from a family of musicians and actors, and she spent most of her youth treading the boards as an actress and singer, while at the same time was a multiple- award -winner singing in Dublin’s Feis Ceol competitions.

Her passion for jazz began when she was introduced to the sound of jazz singers at the age of 11. Intrigued by the rhythms and scat improvisations of Ella Fitzgerald, she decided then that she would become a jazz singer, and she immersed herself in the music of other jazz giants such as Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie. She also absorbed much by listening to Irish groups such as Horslips, Louis Stewart’s Trio and the Sean-nos (unaccompanied traditional) singing of Sean O Riada.

After an Arts Degree from University College Dublin, Melanie began her professional musical career, discovering the possibilities of mixing jazz with traditional Irish music and earned phenomenal respect and notoriety within jazz circles.

Melanie tours extensively throughout Ireland, Scotland, England, France and other parts of Europe and the United States. Venues of note include:
-Lincoln Center, New York
-Cooper Union, New York
-The Barbican, London
-Lorient Festival Inter-Celtique, Brittany
-Cork International Jazz Festival
-La Fete de la Musique, Norway
-Royal Festival Hall, London
-Limoges Arts Centre, France
-Queen's Hall, Edinburgh
-National Concert Hall, Dublin
-Irish Heritage Center, Chicago
-Irish Festival, Milwaukee
-Montclair Village Jazz and Wine Festival, Oakland
-New York Bowery Poetry Theatre
-Theatreworks, Mountain View, CA.
-Freight and Salvage, Berkeley, CA
-The Green Room, Dublin, Ireland
-International Jazz Festival Edinburgh
-International Jazz Festival, Birmingham, England.
-Festival de Jazz a Touraine, France.
-Silda Jazz Festival, Norway.
-Glasgow University Concert Hall

Her 2005 concert with guitarist Larry Coryell at Dublin’s Green Room was noted as one of the top jazz concerts of the year by the Sunday Independent (Dublin).

She was recently mentioned in "Downbeat Magazine" as one of Ireland's foremost jazz ambassadors. (2006]

Melanie is a regular performer on BBC Radio and TV and on Ireland’s National broadcast station (RTE) as well as being a frequent guest on French radio and TV.

Melanie's stunning Celtic jazz album "Oilean Draiochta (Enchanted Island)" received the critical thumbs-up from the artistic community as well as garnering wide radio play and has contributions from a host of renowned musicians such as guitarist Larry Coryell, and Irish traditional stars Tommy Hayes and Eileen Ivers. It also features songs that were the result of her collaboration with Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill.

Other recordings include the album "House of the Dolphins," a further development of Melanie’s fusion of Celtic jazz, and nominated for Best Contemporary Album and Best Contemporary Female Artist by Irish Music magazine.

Three of Melanie's songs were featured on the 2006 PBS Frontline/World documentary entitled "An Uneasy Peace."

Two songs she co-wrote with Nuala Ni Dhomnaill, “Chugat an Puca” and “Amhran na Milaoise,” were chosen for the compilation albums -“Realta ’98” and “Realta 2000” (RTE). She also was featured on the recently released French album "Lorient Festival Interceltique –Trent Ans/Thirty Years", a compilation of the best of Lorient.

Melanie’s 2005 release, "Women Who Left," is an original song cycle exploring 19th Century Irish emigration to America through a fusion of jazz and Irish traditional themes. She will be launching her new album "Dust and Blood" in Spring 2007, which features her traditional Irish-inspired original songs with Bossa Nova standards.

She is currently Musician-in-Residence at the University of California at Berkeley , Celtic Studies program, and resides in Berkeley, California.

Her band, Tir na mara, features resident musicians of the Bay Area .