The Screaming Orphans are four fun sisters with the good fortune to have been raised in the magic of Bundoran in County Donegal Ireland.
There is a great tradition of music to be found in Irish homes especially in the Gaeltacht or Irish-speaking areas which have produced the likes of Clannad, Enya and Mairead, Micheal and Triona Ni Dhomhnaill. Our home was no exception. From we were young, we’ve been singing and playing traditional Irish music but when we hit our teenage years we knew it was time to start our own rock band.
Our first gigs were at local surf festivals at Bundoran and playing covers of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Indigo Girls, and others. We were soon writing our own music and traveling to Dublin to play the Baggot Inn, Slattery’s, Whelans, and Mean Fiddler.
Our next break came with an invitation to play at a St.Brigid’s day concert in Kildare along with truly great Irish artists like Christy Moore, Liam O’Maonlai, and Sinead O’Connor. Sinead asked us to be her back-up singers and open her show so we went on tour across Europe, America and Canada, and appeared on David Letterman and other shows.
The following year was spent touring with world music star, Babba Maal, singing at his homecoming concert in Dakar Senegal, and contributing vocals to his album “Nomad Soul.” We also recorded with Peter Gabriel and were backing vocalists on the Joni Mitchell track ”Magdalene Laundries” for the Chieftains “Tears of Stone” album.
A year later, we signed with Warner UK (WEA) and recorded our debut album in Normandy France with the legendary Mike Hedges, who has been producer for the likes of Siouxie and the Banshees, U2, Manic Street Preachers, Texas, and Travis.
While we can never forget our roots in traditional Irish music, the Orphans draw on a diverse set of influences ranging from Simon & Garfunkel to REM with a strong focus on melody-driven songs with pop and rocks strains.
Being surrounded by so many different influences has inspired us to explore new and exciting song writing and performance concepts. Our latest CDs reflect our Celtic roots but cross many cultural boundaries, which might explain why we recorded "Circles" in Nashville, Tennessee, "East 12th Street" in New York City and "Belle's Isle," "The Jacket's Green" and "Lonely Boy" in Ireland.
And if you’re wondering about our name… A friend of Joan’s (Damien Granaghan) came up with it one night at a pub and it meant a lot to us because when we broke out on our own, it meant leaving our Mam who had been our lead singer and our Da who was our manager/road guy/sound engineer and so we became orphans but still surrounded by family and everyone knows that screaming to be heard is what you usually do around family and friends. That and our secondary school used to be an orphanage. There you have it.
And now that you’ve gotten a little glimpse in our unconventional lives, we hope to see you at our live gigs, so for a list of our upcoming shows, check out our Tour Dates page.