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SONGS & STORIES
Welcome to the official website of author
John O'Brien, Junior. John was born into a family deeply
steeped in its Irish heritage. His father, John Sr., was
the founder and continues on as Director of Cleveland's Irish
Cultural Festival--an annual civic event which draws more
than 35,000 attendees each year. From his father, John inherited
a fervent curiosity about his Irish roots, as well as a bottomless
love for Irish music. Having for thirty years acted
as the festival's Assistant Director, John Jr. has also become
an accomplished historian and author. Named in Irish Central's list of the Top 100 Irish Americans for 2011, John is the Co-Founder and Co-Publisher / Editor of the Irish American News. He has also written articles,
profiles and reviews for travel, heritage and special interest
publications, as well as poetry centered around the themes
of love, loss and glory. To read the author's extended bio, click
Author John O’Brien, Jr.’s new book, First Generation, was launched at the Irish Books, Art & Music Showcase 2011 in Chicago. First Generation is all original poetry by O’Brien, focused on his experiences growing up in the Irish-American community, music, work, his twenty-five year struggle with Rheumatoid Arthritis and a ten-year battle with a broken back. Despite the struggles, he has continued to have an impact on the local and national community, and was named one of the 2011 Top 100 Irish Americans by Irish America Magazine.
FESTIVAL LEGENDS, SONGS & STORIES
a copy of Festival Legends, Songs and Stories, click the Buy Now button.
Legends, Songs and Stories is an exploration
into the lives of some of the most well-loved and renowned
talents in the history of Irish music.
Perhaps you're a biography or music buff, or perhaps you just
pride yourself in being Irish. Whatever the case, if you don't
recognize the name Tommy Makem or Liam Clancy, you'd be doing
yourself a favor to delve deeper. John has followed the trail
of Irish music to its origins--from Fit-Ups who wandered the
countryside, performing from town to town, to the artists
who made it big with Gold Records and sold out dates at Carnegie
Hall. In his twenty-three years as Assistant Director of Cleveland's
Irish Cultural Festival, John has accomplished both the mundane
and extraordinary. He has booked flights and hotels, pitched
tents, set up stages and vendors' booths, printed tickets,
coordinated websites and developed a nationally recognized
Cultural Hall. It's hard work, but it all pays off in a magical
three day event, at the heart of which is music. Pure and
From legendary balladeers like Tommy Makem, Johnny McEvoy,
Brendan Shine, Liam Clancy, and Danny Doyle, to groups
like The Dublin City Ramblers, Cherish the Ladies and Barleycorn,
John has gained unprecedented insight,
not only into their music, but into the lives which shaped
On January 30th, 2004, came the sad news: famed Irish tenor
Derek McCormack had died. His passing sparked in John a
desire to preserve the legacy of the festival legends, both
as a gift to future generations, and as a way of honoring
the profound impact their music had had on his own life.
Histories left unrecorded, are histories lost, and when
history is lost, so are the lessons held within it. Whether
listening to Patriot
Game or Four Green Fields one hears struggle
amidst the poetry, the universal struggle for respect, freedom...
survival. These are the struggles which bind and define
us, and which are at the very core of Festival
Legends, Songs and Stories. What makes this
book even more extraordinary is that the stories are told--as
is only fitting--by the legends themselves, whose indominable
spirits and consequent glories can be seen to mirror trials
and triumphs of the Irish as a people. From battling colonization,
to the hardship of famine, to the sting of alienation in
a new world, through it all, the Irish have persevered.
This book is dedicated to Derek McCormack, and all the artists
whose lives have reflected that struggle... and whose music
has inspired by rising above it. To read more about the
here. To buy now, click here.
Copyright © 2011, songsandstories.net or its affiliates, All Rights Reserved
Freedom’s Sons are singing;
singing sad songs,
to their love, songs.
Pretty Maggie O’, Sally O’,
Pretty Saro and Rosie.
a Song For The Children.
In The Time Of Scented Roses,
let they be not black,
The Long Woman’s Grave.
Rather Sing Me The Old Songs;
of Rambling Rivers
in The Rambles of Spring,
Clear Blue Hills
or Grey October Clouds,
among Long Winter Nights.
If I should return,
If You Should Ask Me,
I’m Going Home To Mary,
I can see her, as she holds
our Gentle Annie in her arms,
The Listowel Blackbird sing;
Music In The Twilight,
In Newry Town
I will return again.
John O'Brien, Jr.