In Ireland, the land has come to be defined by stories. Mythology, folklore, literature and song often seep into a place-name or a community's psyche. The stories and songs written today have the same impact and still actively influence and define the local culture.
Dónal grew up at the mouth of Carlingford Lough, where his hometown of Warrenpoint overlooks the Mourne mountains to the north and the Cooleys to the south. Inevitably, the mythology of the Fairy Glen, Cloch Mór and local giant Finn McCool accompanied his childhood.
Coming from a family of musicians and composers, Dónal studied piano and flute from a young age but focused mostly on classical and traditional singing. He trained with Siubhán Ó Dubháin and joined several local and regional choirs through his teenage years, attaining his Diploma in Vocal Studies at the age of 18.
He went on to read Law at Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge and the Irish Centre of Human Rights, and has volunteered with charities and community organisations across Ireland and Britain and at the United Nations in Geneva. Travelling has granted him an insight to various cultures over the past decade; Dónal has studied or worked in England, Spain, Ecuador, Bolivia, Switzerland, and all over Ireland. All of these places have their own unique stories.
Artists can contribute to the cultural life of a place by bringing it to life in an image, a song or a tale. In this way, the community can tell the story it wants to be told. Music - and particularly song - is a direct means of accessing the ideas and emotions of a place. Storytelling through music brings people together, and it's often said that a song can transport an audience. The song transcends time like no other artistic medium because the singer brings the song to life each and every time it is sung. The audience is taken into the world of the song and listens to the voice of the original singer. It is not a creation - it is not a fake world. This is another world, where time is suspended and the song takes over.
This connection of the song to the community is integral to Dónal's work. With a background in legal research and musical education, he combines his experience to manage arts projects, tutor young singers across Ireland, and perform internationally as a singer. Read more about his various musical projects.