By Michael Malone
A documentary celebrating the life, times and music of the late Inishbofin singer Dessie O’Halloran will air on TG4 on Christmas Day.
The programme follows Dessie’s cousin and long-time collaborator John O’Halloran as he goes on a journey to find out about this enigmatic and quiet man.
From Inishbofin to London to Galway and across the big stages of the world, the documentary tells the life and times of Dessie O’Halloran through performances with well-known musicians, unique archive and previously unseen footage filmed with Dessie before he died in 2019.
The 52-minute documentary tells the story of Dessie O’Halloran, who fame in his 60s after he was ‘discovered’ by Sharon Shannon, right, in a pub on Inishbofin.
It didn’t take Dessie long to win the hearts of traditional Irish music audiences around Ireland and internationally.
With his unusual singing style and his popular catchy songs, Dessie was a singer whose voice and style was unusual.
Drawing on the deep well of Sean Nós tradition, Dessie’s voice was often misunderstood yet at the same time revered by many.
For as many people who loved his songs and music there were as many who didn’t, and his singing was perhaps the Marmite of the traditional Irish music world.
The ferry skippered by Pat Concannon heading out from Cleggan in Connemara to Inishbofin.
Dessie’s unusual style sounded like it belonged in pubs more than in concert halls. But when Dessie stepped onto the stage, he brought the house down.
He toured with Sharon Shannon and his songs were huge hits.
Songs like ‘Say you love me’, ‘Katie Daly’ and ‘Courting in the Kitchen’ were favourites with audiences.
This warm-hearted programme celebrates Dessie’s life, piecing together his musical and career journey illustrating why he was so popular.
With previously unseen footage filmed of Dessie, live concert footage, and never before seen archive this programme follows Dessie’s footsteps from Inishbofin to the big stage every step of the way showing why he is the ‘Glór Na Bó Finne’.
Dessie: Glór Na Bó Finne will air on TG4 on Christmas Day at 10.25pm.