Joe O’Donnell is one of the finest electric violin players performing in the Celtic tradition. He is also widely acclaimed as a mandolin-player, singer and composer. Over his musical lifetime Joe has associated with leading names in rock music and Celtic folk such as Rory Gallagher, Steve Bolton, James Litherland, Dave Lennox, and Gay and Terry Woods, and toured widely in the UK, Europe and the USA.
Born in Limerick, Ireland, Joe began taking classical violin lessons at the age of twelve. After seven years of study he won two scholarships for the Royal Irish Academy of Music, Dublin, to study orchestral work.
After leaving the Academy Joe took up lead guitar but returned to the violin two years later, the first electric violinist on the Irish scene. He played in leading Irish groups including Granny’s Intentions (Decca) who had also featured Gary Moore on guitar, Sweet Street, Orange Machine and the Uptown Band. In 1971, Joe moved to London and for nine months joined The Woods Band, featuring Terry and Gay Woods, who went on to form Steeleye Span.
It was at this time that he started making electric violins for his own use, including violectra and 8-string violins. In 1973, Joe joined East of Eden stepping into the shoes of their celebrated fiddle-player Dave Arbus. He played on their hit album ‘Another Eden’ and toured Europe with the band until they split in 1978.
In 1977, Decca released ‘Gaodhal’s Vision’, a concept album of Joe’ own compositions, heralded as a fusion of Celtic music with jazz and rock. Tubular Bells producer Tom Newman and Jon Field (Jade Warrior) were influential in getting the album released. With Joe on ‘Gaodhal’s Vision’ were Rory Gallagher, Steve Bolton (Atomic Rooster), Theodor Thunder (Alan Price Band), David Lennox (Ginger Baker, Blodwyn Pig, The Equals) and Bill Smith (Long John Baldry, Leo Sayer). The album draws on Celtic mythology and describes the Milesian exodus from Egypt through the Carpathian Mountains to Ireland.
Here we present the remixed and enhanced version of the original ‘Gaodhals’ Vision’ by Joe O’Donnell, Gael’s Vision 40th Anniversary Edition has the extended studio album plus live DVD of the album performed at Coventry Belgrade Theatre featuring guest musicians, Irish and Indian Dancers, narration and image projection.
- Groups & Bands
- Claddagh Label