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Occasionally, on the streets in Blarney
Village, youll bump into Irelands wandering minstrel, Sean O'Neill. Sean, a
songwriter, began singing and writing songs in 1998, after working as a photographer for
more than twenty-five years, quit the day job, to promote his music, in January 2000,
reviving an ancient lost tradition.
Now Sean travels Ireland and will
sing for people on their doorstep if they care to pick a random track from his CD,
Losers & Sinners. If they wish to buy a copy of the CD, Sean will then
sign it for them.
Heres how the CD came about in Seans own words.
I always wanted to sing. I could sing in my bath and I would sing while
driving in my car, but if anybody else was around, then I couldnt. A year after
separating from my wife of twenty-six years, I moved to Galway.I was living on my own and
reflecting on what I wanted to do with the rest of my
life and I knew that singing was it. In June, I gave myself a deadline of my next
birthday, July 22nd, to learn enough songs and go playing music on the street.
Due the Irish weather, I missed my deadline by a couple of days, but on a quiet
Sunday morning, I took my guitar out and began my singing career. A month later, I
took a vacation and went hitchhiking and busking around Scotland and returned to
Ireland with my first two self-penned songs. Despite continuing with my photography
business, by July 99, Id written fifty songs and was cataloguing them on tape
in a small Galway studio. I did
a two-hour session on July 10th and sang eighteen songs in no particular order. Peter, the
studio owner, gave me a tape of the session two days later and, after listening through
it, I phoned and asked him to make a CD
master. The eighteenth song fell off the edge, as the first seventeen took up all
but ten seconds of what would fit on a CD.
The original 100 copies planned has now exceeded 5,000 and Sean has appeared on
Irish national radio and television. Sean has learnt, since embarking on his unique career
path, that historically, the ONeills were a bardic clan.
Losers & Sinners
is not available in record stores. Almost every copy has
been sold by Sean as a result of him knocking at a strangers door and
asking if he could sing a song. Thats how we met him and bought our copy. We also
asked him to leave some more signed copies for people whosdoors hell probably
never get to knock on, who may wish to hear him.
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