Singer and bouzouki player Daoirí (pronounced ‘Derry’) Farrell is described by some of the biggest names in Irish folk music as one of most important singers to come out of Ireland in recent decades.
It’s been a whirlwind for Daoirí over the last three years, and his is now a name to conjure with in folk music circles, at home and abroad. A run of small dates across the UK in May 2016 was preceded by a live session on the BBC Radio 2 Folk Show with Mark Radcliffe and suddenly everyone was talking about Daoirí. A few festival performances in summer 2016 were followed by a longer UK tour that autumn and the release of a new album True Born Irishman, nine years after he had quietly released his debut The First Turn.
‘Farrell has created quite a buzz in Ireland…it’s easy to hear why. His powerfully unadorned vocals might be from any era, variously recalling Paul Brady and Andy Irvine…it’s a powerful statement.’ **** Mojo – review of True Born Irishman
Daoirí won two prestigious BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2017 for Best Newcomer and Best Traditional Track, and performed live at the awards ceremony at London’s Royal Albert Hall. Since then he has toured the UK, and played at festivals across the world. In February 2018 he toured with the all-star Transatlantic Sessions in major venues across the UK. Daoirí released his new album A Lifetime Of Happiness, produced by Dónal Lunny, in February 2019. A first single The Galway Shawl/Rosie Reilly was released to radio in autumn ’18 ahead of the album itself and was immediately played on the BBC Radio 2 Folk Show.
In Daoirí’s own words: ‘This is my third solo album and it feels different, somehow more grown up. That for me is partly down to the song choice. Each song was very carefully chosen and each is beautiful in its own way. I really enjoyed the process of searching each one out and arranging them all. And I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to have recorded it with some of my favourite musicians.’
The video of his unforgettable performance of The Creggan White Hare has clocked up over 800,000 views on Youtube. In October ‘18 he was invited to perform at the first ever RTE Irish Folk Awards, broadcast live by RTE.
Of course all this success wasn’t as sudden as it appeared. Daoirí had spent most of his twenties studying traditional music at respected colleges across Ireland, having given up his original profession as an electrician for a career in music. He had performed as a backing musician with most of the greats of Irish music before he had graduated with his masters in Irish Music Performance from the University of Limerick.
‘Daoirí played for ninety minutes. Watching, caught in the enthralling flow of the music, it felt like twenty.’ Live review by From the Margins