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A Happy Home »

Slipstring onbody Donal DonohoeHer parents were called Kathleen and Larry
They lived in a house down by the canal
She would fetch fresh milk in a jug each day
As the eldest she helped out in her way
Larry worked delivering bread to earn his pay

She had three brothers and three sisters
When trouble started she made sure it missed her
Then up the stairs to the top
Where he’d turn and standing there alone
Larry would sing ‘our house is a happy home’

With strips of leather and a cobblers last
Larry would mend all his children’s shoes
As she cycled along one day he saw her
Pass by wearing a yellow hat
And that to all intents and purposes was that

She asked him home to meet her kin
With some trepidation he agreed
But as the door closed behind him
Was it fate or just a whim
When Larry said Kathleen lock the quickly while we have him

They married soon after and set forth
Across the canal and headed north
And as they crossed the Tolka river
He said there was nothing he would not give her
And they settled down in a house with a view of the Dublin hills

Lebanon »

How green this valley so quiet and still
It’s peaceful here but not around those far away hills
Killed when they try fleeing, killed if they stay
Caught in the middle they ask how the world can turn away
Some say it’s alright that children die in Lebanon tonight

Thay wage war by proxy and don’t give their name
People are dying but they let someone else take the blame
Bombs fall like rain, death fills the breeze
A land destroyed and rebuilt is once again brought down on it’s knees
Some say it’s alright that cities burn in Lebanon tonight

How green this valley so quiet and still
It’s peaceful here but not around those far away hills
Dreams come true in this world though not easily
People can live together in peace and friendship and in harmony
So try with all your might Lebanon to make it through this night

Lebanon by the sea
Dreams come true wait and see

No Need To Roam »

At the High Chaparral he looked at her fondly
As though she were Gráinne and he was Dermot
They rode on his horse toward
The Californian Hills of Ballyfermot
And it’s high ho Silver take us home
To where there’s no need to roam

She was fair and he was handsome
Who was boss was hard to know
He could charm her, she could romance him
He was a baker but she had the dough
Back where the seventy eight goes
There are secrets that only he and her know

You’ve got to find where there’s no need to roam
We’ve little time here, don’t spend it all alone

Lone Ranger »

Slipstring onbody Donal DonohoeThe lights grew closer, the sun had gone down
A man came and stopped him just outside the town
And said I’m the sheriff around here say who you are
I don’t know your name you look like a stranger
He held the sheriff’s gaze for a while
Then replied just a lone ranger

Quickly he found the place midway down on main street
If things went as planed then later that’s where they’d meet
The talk was local for the most part
And of the damage caused by the tornado
A woman asked a man for a coin
And the jukebox played ‘The Streets Of Larado’

He waited there until he felt that he’d been had
Around him some were shouting the rest just looked sad
A man pushed another then stood and stared
To give the impression he could defeat a
Herd of wild horses, a army of men
To win the hand of the señorita

Intent not to dwell on one more broken dream
He made his way to the door and slipped out unseen
He turned at the corner the side street was dark
Quiet and empty and as he walked down
The sounds from the night grew faint in his ears
And no one noticed as he left town

Magic In The Air »

Slipstring onbody Donal DonohoeCome home babe you know my love is strong
The wind and rain know that I’ve waited long
And when you reach that crossroad
I know you’ll know the way
You know you’ll find me waiting
Every night and day

I’ve travelled long with you on my mind
Let’s journey together and see what we find
Till there’s no day without that
Magic in the air
And no hour when you don’t
Know how much I care

If you’d stayed after I’d gone
It was closer than close to all going wrong
And there’s no tongue can tell
What we would have missed
A love that could dare
Even time to resist

Global Village »

Slipstring onbody Donal DonohoeYatsuhashi wakes in the land of the rising sun
Getting paid for having fun like a cat with the cream
He remembers the day he left Kushimoto
With his suitcase and his Koto to follow his dream

Spin the globe around till sunlight hits on
The minaret in Mustafa’s town
Where once in the bazaar he saw a veil of lace
Fall from a face now his feet don’t touch the ground

Somewhere else the sky is blue and from far and near
They come to hear the sounds of marching bands
From Monserat to Timbuktu it’s Saint Patrick’s day
And Paddy scraps his poems in the sand

Darkness descends and till dawn comes
None can know what tomorrow will bring
Yatsuhashi sleeps as Mustafa proudly plays his oud
And Paddy starts to sing

The Sun King »

Slipstring onbody Donal DonohoeThe king sipped from his chalice
And looked out from his palace
He thought of all he’d be able to meet
No one would know if he went incognito
That it was he who was king
And what tales that it would bring

So he went to the market
Amid stalls of fruit and carpet
He stopped to buy a loaf of bread
The man said why not have two instead
And taking two from the shelf
He said I’ve enough for myself

He walked down by the quayside
A boat was being untied
He said I’ve longed to go fishing for so long
The man said why don’t you come along
But no money or fare would he take
As they sailed out on the lake

The fisherman let out his line
And held high a gourd filled with wine
He said it’s time for a drink how about you
The king said I don’t mind if I do
He looked at his home on the hill
And they sat there drinking their fill

He listened to songs and tales of yore
He’d not felt free like this before
Do you know he asked and could you tell if you will
Who lives in the palace on the hill
The fisherman said that he knew
He thought everyone else did too

He said Louis XIV lives there
The throne was vacant and he was heir
I’m Louis XIV said the king
The palace, the land I own everything
The fisherman checked on his line
And said yes it’s very good wine

Ring-ting »

Slipstring onbody Donal DonohoeI’m your ring-tone baby ting-a-ling-a-ling
I don’t know who it is or what news they bring
But someone’s on the line answer if you feel inclined

I’m your ring-tone you can listen to me chime
When someone tries to call you I’ll tell you every time
No story or no song to explain would take too long

I’m your ring-tone till you find somebody new
Then you’ll be moving on I guess I will be too
You’re wanted on the phone would you like to be alone

An Old Friend Of Mine »

Slipstring onbody Donal DonohoeAn old friend of mine
When I met him first he lived down a lane
Now he has kids they’re his life
And a place in out of the rain

An old friend of mine
Said keep it simple keep it clear
And while you’re at it you can
Get that dog out of here

We played ‘Northern Sky’
But the crowd didn’t take to the tune
He turned to me and said
Look what it’s doin’ you’ve got to

An old friend of mine
Was there when times turned black
And if there’s a way
I’ll someday pay him back

Off The Radar »

Slipstring onbody Donal DonohoeViews vary but can’t deny
No matter what a heart that tries
Be happy just getting by
Be ready when beauty flies
Off the radar before you go
You may not reap but still you sow
Off the radar out of sight
But keeping watch through the night

Stick with it as best you can
When no one gives a damn
No need for somewhere else to be
Without much but still free
Off the radar before you go
You may not reap but still you sow
Off the radar out of sight
But keeping watch through the night

Stick with it as best you can
When no one gives a damn
Be happy just getting by
Be ready when beauty flies
Off the radar lying low
Till summer’s end brings winter’s snow
Off the radar heading home
So small beneath the starry dome


To get more details click here and you can listen to a sample too.

Slipstring Released »

Slipstring front cover Donal DonohoeThe time has come to release another collection of songs into the ether, where they will end or whether anybody will listen to them or like them, no one can know. But the work is done, the CDs are pressed or replicated to use the correct terminology and the album is called ‘Slipstring’.

It is my third release since returning to live in Ireland and follows on from ‘Midnight ’til Noon’ released in 2005 and ‘Ceol ‘s Rann’ released in 2007.  ‘Slipstring’ is out on CD from my website and from, it is also be available to download on iTunes, Amazon and other online digital stores either as single tracks or as an album.

‘Slipstring’ is a collection of eleven new original songs some of which touch on the personal and political, others are story songs written about people, places and events that through a process of osmosis percolated to the forefront of my imagination. You can listen to one of the songs from ‘Slipstring’ called ‘No Need To Roam’ on the player below.

No Need To Roam by Donal Donohoe

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An t-Oileán »

cover photo Ceol 's Rann An t-Oileán is the Irish for ‘the island’ and the song comes from my fascination with islands, which I have always enjoyed visiting both in Denmark and off the west coast of Ireland. Built over a minor riff that changes to major in the chorus, the song was written in Irish and has two verses with an instrumental section at the end. It tells the story of a journey to an island and the anticipation of the reunions that will take place upon arrival there.

An t-Oileán by donaldonohoe

The Voyage Of Bran »

From the album Ceol ’s Rann this song is based on an old Irish story describing the journey to the other world. The story has it’s origins in the pre-Christian period and was probably written down originally in the seventh century. The ‘Manannan Mac Lir’ mentioned in the song is the major sea god of the ancient Irish and his name is associated with the Isle of Man, which in Irish is called Inis Manannan, ‘the Isle of Manannan’.

John Renbourn & Jacqui McShee »

Having missed him performing in Trinity College Dublin about a year and a half ago as part of a tour he was doing with Robin Williamson (founding member of The Incredible String Band) I was delighted to come across a poster for a gig with John Renbourn and Jacqui McShee at Mick Murphy’s in Ballymore Eustace last week. It’s rare to get a chance to experience two musicians who have had such an influence on the British folk scene over the last four decades both as members of Pentangle and with their own solo careers in such a small and intimate venue. They started with ‘The Trees They Do Grow high’ and the set was a mix of traditional songs, old blues numbers such as Blind Willie Johnson’s ‘Can’t Keep From Crying’ and ‘Turn Your Money Green’ by Furry Lewis and some instrumental pieces by John on the guitar. Jacqui McShee is a superb singer who is equally at home singing acapella as she is singing with accompaniment and her voice has lost none of it’s beauty with the passing of the years and sounds just as fresh as it did back in the early Pentangle days.

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© Donal Donohoe

John Renbourn is one of the most outstanding guitarists of his generation who along with Bert Jansch and Davy Graham was one of the pioneers of what became known as the folk/baroque style of acoustic guitar playing. His technique is phenomenal, his approach smooth and relaxed and his style embraces folk, blues, world, classical and medieval music. Since the sixties his playing has influenced countless guitarists and his solo instrumental contributions to the evening included his stunning arrangement of a medieval piece called ‘The English Dance’. His accompaniment to Jacqui’s singing was impeccable and they both not only complimented each other musically but oozed charm in the process. For anyone lucky enough in these culturally barren X Factor days to have made it down to Mick Murphy’s in Ballymore Eustace last Monday night, this gig was nothing less than an absolute gem.

As An Nua »

Apple_smallFew victories, many disasters
Living on few potatoes
Winter will come
And soon I’ll begin with my axe

When spring comes
I’ll be on my way
And with the March wind against my cheek
I’ll start anew

This tune features on my album ‘Ceol ‘s Rann’.

Hyperbolic Guitar – An Explanation »

It was late one night when my wife Irene Lundgaard suggested to me that I should write a piece of hyperbolic music, my immediate reaction was to say no, I was musically preoccupied working on something else at the time, don’t normally write to a formula and have only ten fingers. Irene was heavily involved organizing and contributing to the Irish Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef exhibition which was due to go on display at the Science Gallery in Trinity College Dublin. I went along to the opening of the exhibition and was deeply impressed by the variety, colour and amount of crocheted coral reef on display and by the toxic reef section which was made entirely from recycled material. The Irish Reef is a satellite of the worldwide Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef project created and curated by Margaret Wertheim and Christine Wertheim of the Institute For Figuring, both of whom attended the opening.

Hundreds n thousands of Toxins - detail 3Hundreds n thousands of Toxins - detail 2Hundreds n thousands of Toxins - detail 1
Hundreds-and-thousands of Toxins by Irene Lundgaard – details

The connection between crochet and hyperbolic geometry originates with Dr Daina Taimia who first came up with the idea of crocheting objects to illustrate hyperbolic space. Some weeks after the opening of the exhibition I attended a lecture on hyperbolic geometry by Dr Taimina at the Science Gallery and it was after the lecture while she was signing copies of her interesting book Crocheting Adventures With Hyperbolic Planes that I got to meet and talk to her husband Professor of Mathematics David Henderson who was kind enough to explain to me briefly what might be involved in trying to compose a piece of hyperbolic music. In the days that followed I worked on this idea using a hyperbolic crochet pattern provided by Irene where I substituted notes for stitches and tried to replicate the exponential increase indicated in the pattern after every eight bars of music. The result for better or worse is a tune called Hyperbolic Guitar, you can listen to it on YouTube here and you can buy it there

Hundreds n thousands of ToxinsHundreds-and-thousands of Toxins by Irene Lundgaard

The Irish Reef exhibition is due to open at the Courthouse Arts Centre in Tinahely, County Wicklow on Sunday September 12th from 3 – 5 PM and will run until October 29th.

Hyperbolic Guitar »

My first single has just been released, it’s called Hyperbolic Guitar and is a solo instrumental piece on the acoustic guitar. Unlike all my previous releases which were full albums either on vinyl or CD and download this track is only available as a download from iTunes, CD Baby, etc.

The piece is an attempt to capture the exponential expanse of hyperbolic space in the rhythm of music. Exploring the relationship between hyperbolic geometry and music, this tune was composed after attending a lecture about hyperbolic geometry by Dr. Daina Taimina at the Science Gallery, Trinity College Dublin.

Bert Jansch – L.A. Turnaround »

It was probably because of being constantly at the front of my vinyl collection that my original copy of L.A. Turnaround (purchased after it’s release in the 1970’s) became warped either from direct sunlight or from being left too near to a radiator, resulting in the needle skipping when I tried to play it on my turntable. That was sometime in the 1980’s and by then it was impossible to replace, being no longer available and leaving me bereft of one of my favourite Bert Jansch albums. So when the postman arrived last week with the re-released CD version it was a special treat and all other plans for that afternoon were dropped as I sat down to listen to it again after so many years. I wasn’t disappointed, it sounded just as smooth as it did in the 1970’s having been produced then by Mike Nesmith and remastered for re-release under Bert’s supervision.

Bert Jansch live 2 small
© Donal Donohoe

Some albums sound timeless, impossible to pin down to a particular period and this is one of them. Comprising of ‘Fresh As A Sweet Sunday Morning’ one of his most beautiful love songs, ‘One For Jo’ one of his most well known and popular songs and ‘Chambertin’ one of his most spellbinding guitar instumentals to name just a few of the tracks, it really is a special album. Tony Stratton Smith on whose Charisma label L.A. Turnaround first appeared described it as probably one of the five best albums Charisma had ever released. I would say that it is probably one of the best five albums that Bert Jansch has ever released.

Sojourn In Belfast »

The dry dock where the Titanic was built.

“Titanic was comin’ ’round the curve
When it ran into that great big iceberg
Cryin’ fare thee, Titanic, fare thee well ”
Huddie Ledbetter (Leadbelly)

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Walking by the river Lagan towards the city centre to have coffee on Rosemary Street.

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Taking a little break on the way.

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