Cross Cultural Music, Song & Dance on the banks of the Bann.

Phil Coulter

Phil Coulter grew up in a musical home in Derry and his song ‘The Town I Loved So Well’ was written about his beloved home place. Internationally revered, his music has reached from the Irish pub to the opera stage. As an arranger and a composer, his music has been performed by such diverse talents as Elvis Presley and the Irish Tenors. As a producer, he has helped to guide the careers of The Bay City Rollers and Sinead O’Connor. As a performer he has become an icon in Ireland and a guiding force behind the Celtic music revival. Phil studied music at Queen’s University, Belfast and within weeks had started his own band.  In 1964 he went to London where he played piano for some of the reigning superstars - Tom Jones, Jerry Lee Lewis, Van Morrison and the Rolling Stones. He collaborated with Bill Martin on his first major successes, ‘Puppet on a String’ and ‘Congratulations’. The songs sold more than 10 million records. He wrote ‘My Boy' for Richard Harris. The effort was only a mild success but when the song was recorded by Elvis Presley, it became an international hit and Phil Coulter was established. He went on to become a songwriter and producer for The Bay City Rollers. They sold millions of records with songs such as ‘Remember’ and ‘Saturday Night’. He wrote hits such as ‘Hearts of Stone’ and ‘Forever and Ever’, for the bands ‘Slik’ and ‘Kenny’. In the late seventies Phil produced several albums for Planxty. He also produced The Dubliners and the Furey Brothers and in the process became firmly attached to his Irish roots. Irish songs frequently tell a story and many of the songs that he wrote based on personal events in his life now define his music – ‘Scorn Not his Simplicity’, ‘Steal Away’, ‘Gold and Silver Days’ and ‘The Old Man’. By 1984 Celtic music had become his obsession. He gave new rhythmic treatments to traditional Irish melodies, added strings and rich arrangements, used pipes and whistles and the latest recording techniques. The result, ‘Classic Tranquility’ became the largest selling album in Ireland’s history. The follow up, ‘Sea of Tranquility’ was an even greater success. Phil spends a part of each year touring as ‘Ireland’s Ambassador of Music’. He wrote ‘Ireland’s Call’ for the Irish National Rugby team. His ‘Home From The Sea’, dedicated to a brother who drowned in a boating accident, is the official anthem of Ireland’s and Great Britain’s Lifeboat Rescue Services. ‘Winter’s Crossing’ an album in collaboration with James Galway, one of Ireland’s most famous musical personalities, commemorates the great famine and the Irish migration to America. A Phil Coulter concert is the modern musical equivalent of a fireside chat. He captivates his audience with a combination of song and spoken words and with his charm and personality. This is just a brief insight into Phil’s musical career as it would be impossible to adequately convey his achievements in this short space! We are delighted that Phil is making his debut at the festival in the year where he is celebrating 50 years in show business! This will be an evening of top class evening entertainment!!




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