Content Middle

Main Content

2005-08-05 Celtics are worth a Tenor

By Brian Campbell
Irish Times


The Celtic Tenors are always in demand.


If they're not selling out auditoriums all over the world, they're playing corporate gigs at venues such as the Waldorf Astoria or the United Nations building in New York.


Obviously fans of the Big Apple, they recently performed at Radio City Music Hall for Riverdance's 10th anniversary celebrations.


Niall Morris, Matthew Gilsenan and James Nelson play another interesting space tonight - Clonard Monastery in west Belfast - as part of Feile an Phobail.


So is playing all types of different venues something they enjoy?


"Yeah, we've done some quirky venues. The quirkiest would have been a cave in Mitchelstown, so that was something," said Niall.

"And we were asked a couple of years ago on a corporate gig to do a cruise to entertain clients and we were to fly down to Naples and get on to the ship there.

"We found out that it was this tiny little vessel and they'd planned for us to do a concert on board just off the coast of Capri.


"It was actually just a few days after September 11 and a lot of these corporate people didn't want to travel, so it was quite a small group and they asked us to make up the numbers after performing.


"So we ended up sitting down for dinner and having this vintage champagne and we were thinking, `OK, we'd better not get used to this!'


"But I've never been to Clonard Monastery, although it sounds incredible. Brian Kennedy is a good friend of ours and he feels that he started his singing career there."


Brian Kennedy will feature on the title track of the new Celtic Tenors record We Are Not Islands, while Samantha Mumba will also guest on the album. "Yeah, that was such an unusual combination, but it was great. "We've done a few television appearances with her, although she's quite hard to track down as she's in America a lot. "She's got lots of auditions and she's doing modelling and
advertising. She's having a great time, I think." So she's fast becoming the Irish J-Lo then? "Yeah! But where's her perfume range? That's what I want to know."

Niall admits he's "such a classical music dude" but also a fan of bands such as Coldplay and Blondie. "I think Coldplay have an incredible melodic gift. Just beautiful tunes. Their song Fix You is just heartbreaking."


And does he hate rival act the Irish Tenors? "Oh I loathe them! Don't talk about them or I'll hang up! Who are the Irish Tenors anyway?"