Oonagh launches CD

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HAVING got a taste for the music business Oonagh Derby is ready to go it alone.

Oonagh had spent a long time on the periphery of the traditional music scene before getting involved as singer with the band Nua.

Now the Lurgan woman is ready to launch her first solo album. Her debut disc is called Harmony Street and Oonagh’s fine voice is the perfect foil for these powerful ballads where traditional and contemporary music mesh.

Her music is a breath of fresh air, sure to appeal to a broad range of musical tastes with a resounding passion and an accomplished singing voice.

Oonagh is backed by Gerard Thompson on guitar and can also draw on the experience of some of luminary figures in Irish music.

Oonagh said: “Gerard and I have only been playing together for about a year. We did a charity gig in March last year.

“We liked what we were doing so we stuck together.

“Gino Lupari (an original member of Four Men and a Dog) heard us. He really liked us and encouraged us to keep at it. Gerry O’Connor (a member of the current line-up of Four Men and a Dog) produced the album. He’s a fantastic musician. He brought it all together.

“I write the songs, Gerry arranged and produced them. There wasn’t many women writing for women. I try to tell real women’s stories.”

Oonagh and Gerard have fused together perfectly in this contemporary modern Irish style. They bring together blues and swing and rock and roll, all wrapped up with an Irish flavour.

Also lending their musical talents to the album are Nicky Scott, Liam Bradley, Colin Henry, Barry Kerr and Cormac O’Kane, each bringing their own skill and identity to the well written and enigmatic songs – the result is a soulful and entertaining journey through Oonagh’s stories!

The Oonagh Derby Band recently opened in the West Belfast Festival supporting Four Men and a Dog as well as the Nashville Songwriters Festival with Nancy Griffith and Billy Bragg and after their launch in March they are off to the world famous Shetland Festival to head the bill with Gerry O’Connor, Gino Lupari and Cormac O’Kane as part of the band.

Oonagh’s all star backing band will also be in attendance at the launch in Lurgan.

Oonagh said: “We’re so excited about having these boys with us. Nicky Scott has come off the Mark Knopfler tour to play the Peter’s. Gerry has been playing with Sharon Corr.”

The launch of the CD is in St Peter’s Club in Lurgan next Wednesday (March 30). Doors are at 8pm and admission is £10 on the door. Support comes from PJ McDonald, Brid Harper and Brona Graham.

Oonagh and Gerard will be on BBC Radio Ulster on Friday at 8pm for an interview and live session.

For more information go to www.oonaghderby.com