Colette O'Leary

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About Colette

Multiple All-Ireland champion, her varied repertoire includes Irish, French, Italian, Scottish, Eastern European, Russian & South American.
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Colette O’Leary, London based accordionist, performs around the UK, Ireland and worldwide. Originally from Ireland, her varied repertoire includes Celtic, Irish, Scottish, French, Italian, Eastern European, Russian and South American. Colette was born in the highly musical area of Sliabh Luachra in Co. Kerry, southwest of Ireland and raised in Dublin. At the age of five, she took her first piano accordion lesson. At age 11, Seamas Meehan of music branch Comhaltas Cluain Tarbh Dublin, became her teacher. It was Seamas who first harvested her inspiration and passion for Irish music. By the age of eighteen, Colette had won two All-Ireland titles. Colette was a founder member of highly acclaimed all girl Irish group “Bumblebees”. Between 1996-2002, they released two albums Bumblebees and Buzzin’, the latter produced by Trevor Hutchinson (Waterboys, Sharon Shannon band, Lunasa). Their infectious brew of tunes from Ireland, Canada, Cape-Breton, France and Italy won them many accolades. They were festival favourites at Celtic Connections Festival Glasgow and toured worldwide in US, Europe and UK. Buzzin’ was voted one of the top 10 albums by The Echo Newspaper, New York City. “Acoustic music par excellence” (Hot Press) Colette moved to London in 2001. Inspired by the great feast of world genres on her doorstep, she recorded her first solo album The Attic Room with guitarist Ed Boyd, bodhran player John Joe Kelly (Flook, Mike McGoldrick band) and jazz maestro Roger Beaujolais on vibraphone. “she weaves an intriguing tapestry of music from Ireland, Scotland, Italy, France and Eastern Europe with zest, vitality and cosmopolitan taste (The Irish Times) Since 2007, Colette has been recording and touring worldwide with the fabulous “The Long Notes”. They have released two albums The Long Notes and In the Shadow of Stromboli and recently played to packed houses at London’s Kings Place, The Roundhouse and The Underworld, Camden. “Nothing short of sublime, the dance sets implausibly quick, yet immaculately detailed, brilliantly intense yet utterly supple, silkily dovetailed in a thrilling panapoly of colour, texture and taut-sprung rhythms” (The Scotsman *****) Colette’s career highlights include performing for Irish President Mary McAleese and the Latvian President at Dublin Castle, for Princess Anne at the Guildhall and at Kensington Palace. Colette was one of 14 handpicked instrumentalists and singers chosen to participate in Liverpool Philharmonic Hall’s first “Irish Sea Sessions” which also featured Dublin’s luminary singer songwriter Damien Dempsey. Festival appearances include Glastonbury, Celtic Colours Canada, Celtic Connections Glasgow, HebCelt, Wickham, Milwaukee USA, Lorient Interceltique Brittany, Orkney, Copenhagen, Tonder Denmark, Highlands and Islands, Lovebox, Tate Modern, Wychwood, Return to Camden, From the Heart Barbican, Wimborne, Blas, Moseley, Devizes, Towersey and Trowbridge Festivals. Over the years, Colette has shared festival billings with Jools Holland, The Chieftains, Maire Ni Bhraonain (Clannad), The Proclaimers, Luka Bloom, Brian Kennedy, Paul Brady, Mary Coughlan and many more. Colette has featured on numerous TV programmes, BBC Alba’s “Horo Geallaidh”, UTV’s “Kelly Show”, RTE’s “The Late Late Show”, “Mary Kennedy Show” and “The High Reel”, TG4′s “Ionad Cois Locha” and “Sult”, the latter a collaborative project with Donal Lunny (Bothy Band, Moving Hearts). Her albums have aired on RTE Radio, BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 3, Lyric FM, as well as countless regional BBC and radio stations throughout the USA. She is also in demand as a studio musician having recorded on albums with Wolfstone, Maire Breatnach, Mark Nevin (Fairground Attraction) and Russian legend Boris Grebenshikov. In addition to public performances, Colette has entertained at countless corporate and private events over the last decade. Amongst her many clients are Sting, Jamie Oliver, Antonio Carluccio, Guy Ritchie and Thandie Newton. Colette’s band is one of England’s premier bands for weddings, ceilidhs, parties, ceilis, barndances, events and celebrations. Their diverse repertoire ranges from enthralling jigs, reels, hornpipes and marches to meltingly beautiful airs from Scotland and Ireland. In addition, they play music from France, Italy, Galicia, South America and Eastern Europe. Colette entertains both as a soloist and also with various combinations of guitar, double bass, fiddle, saxophone, banjo, harp, uilleann pipes, vocalists and ceili/ceilidh callers. (See Testimonials section) “A sterling musician” (Hot Press) TV Appearances UTV : Kelly Show RTE : Late Late Show, Mary Kennedy Show BBC Alba : Horo Geallaidh TG4 : Sult with Donal Lunny TG4 : Feilte 2013 & 2014 TG4 : Ionad Cois Locha Discography Bumblebees (Bumblebees) Buzzin’ (Bumblebees) The Attic Room (Solo Colette O’Leary) The Long Notes (debut album The Long Notes) In the Shadow of Stromboli (The Long Notes) Stand Beside Me in the Sun (Mark Nevin) Beautiful Guitars (Mark Nevin) Freezing Summer (Maire Breatnach) Seven (Wolfstone) Celtic Colours Compilation Festival Performances Glastonbury Lorient Festival Interceltique, France Shetland Folk Festival Tate Modern Summer Festival Celtic Connections, Glasgow Celtic Colours, Canada HebCelt, Isle of Lewis, Scotland Toulouse Irish Festival The Rockhouse, Salzburg Piazetta della Misura, Forli, Bologna, Italy Lovebox, London Wickham Festival, Hampshire Milwaukee Irish Festival, USA Wychwood, Gloucestershire Wimborne Folk Festival, Dorset Blas Festival, Scotland Devizes International Street Festival, Wiltshire Towersey, Oxfordshire Trowbridge, Wiltshire Orkney Folk Festival Feis an Eilein, Isle of Skye Galway Arts Festival Kilkenny Arts Festival Private clients Former Irish President Mary McAleese, Dublin Castle Latvian President Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga Kensington Palace Royal Albert Hall Roundhouse Camden Kings Place London Ballynahinch Castle, Ireland Antonio Carluccio Sting Princess Anne Thandie Newton Guy Ritchie Home House Irish Embassy, London Eltham Palace, London 5 Hertford Street Hatfield House, Hertfordshire Goodwood House, Sussex Finsbury Town Hall, London Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire Soho House, London Dorchester Hotel, London Claridges Hotel, London Marylebone Registry Office Albannach, Trafalgar Square Pembroke Lodge, Richmond Park Villa Cimbrone, Ravello, Italy (my favourite place in the world) Kensing Other Colette recently had the pleasure of sharing the Festival billing as member of The Long Notes with Jools Holland at Wickham Festival and The Proclaimers at HebCelt Festival. Played support to : Luka Bloom (with The Long Notes at O2 ABC Glasgow) Mary Coughlan (with Mark Nevin, Fairground Attraction at Astoria, London and UK tour) Brian Kennedy (with The Bumblebees at Glasgow Concert Hall)

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10 gigs
Experienced: 10 bookings through Encore
Christmas, Contemporary Christian, Military, Traditional church music, Folk, Ceillidh, Traditional English folk, Traditional Irish folk, Traditional Scottish folk, Acoustic, World music, Argentinian, Balkan, French music, German music, Italian music, Jewish music, Klezmer, Polish music, Polka, Russian music, Scottish music, Spanish music, Tango
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Event types:
Wedding, Wedding proposal, Funeral / Memorial service, Church service, Hotel / Restaurant event, Bar / Club / Venue event, Private event, Corporate event, Charity event, Concert, Recording session, Theatre / Show, Cruise, Burns night, Birthday party, Christmas party, New Year's Eve
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Other skills:
Instrumental teaching
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Colette's Song list

This is a sample list of my Instrumental Repertoire :
The Galway Rambler (reel)
Pinch of Snuff (reel)
The Sligo Maid (reel)
Plains of Boyle (hornpipe)
Rockin’ the Boat (jig)
Haste to the Wedding (jig)
JB’s Reel
Mna na hEireann (slow air)
Carolan’s Concerto
Magic Slipper, Johnny Leary’s (polkas)
The Star Above the Garter, Dingle Regatta (slides)
The Coolin (air)
Molly Malone (waltz)
The Marino Waltz
Scotland the Brave (march)
Miss McLeod’s (reel)
Sailor’s Hornpipe
Atholl Highlanders (jig)
Highland Strathspey Set (strathspey)
Margaret’s Waltz
Highland Laddie (highland fling)
Ay Fond Kiss (air)
Little Cascade (reel)
My Love is like a Red Red Rose
La Mer
Under the Bridges of Paris
La Vie en Rose
Les Parapluies de Cherbourg
The Last Time I Saw Paris
Fleur de Paris
No Regrets
Chanson D’Amour
I Love Paris
Under Paris Skies
Breton Wedding March
Ev Christr ta Laou (Breton)
La Valse d’Amelie
Song from Moulin Rouge (1952 film)
Nurse’s Waltz
Le Poule Huppe
O Sole Mio
Ah Mari
That’s Amore
Funiculi Funicula
Mambo Italiano
Come Prima
Carnival of Venice
Chitarra Romana
Violino Tzigano
Romagna Mia
Volare Nel Dipinto di Blu
Wedding Tarantella
Godfather Theme
Il Bacio
Come Facette Mammeta
Come Back to Sorrento
C’est a Capri
Jewish/Eastern European/Russian
Hava Nagila
Evenu Shalom Alechem
Tantz Tantz Yiddelekh
Macedonian Horo
Dark Eyes
Khosid Wedding Dances
Bandura Waltz
Shifting Sands
Moscow Nights
Dr. Zhivago (Lara’s Theme)
The Blue Danube (Strauss)
Vienna Blood Waltz (Strauss)
Kiss Waltz (Strauss)
The Trout (Schubert)
White Horse Inn (Operetta)
Suse Lewe Suse
Drunten im Unterland
Bald Gras Ich am Neckar
O Tannenbaum
Der Jäger Aus Kurpfalz
Im Wald und Auf Der Heide
Muss I Denn
Du du liegst Mir Im Herzen
Och Mod’r Ich well en ding Han
Mein Madel hat einen Rosenmund
Spinn Spinn meine Liebe Tochter
The Trout – Schubert
Argentinian, South American
Winter in Buenos Aires (Invierno Porteno)
El Choclo (tango)
JPP’s Tango
Girl from Ipanema
Black Orpheus
El Mercado Testaccio (Chile)
La Partida (Venezuelan)
El Cabure Tango
One Note Samba
Dafydd y Garreg Wen (David of the White Rock)
Y Deryn Pur (The Gentle Dove)
Ar Hyd y Nos (All Through the Night)
Calon Lan (Oh Pure Heart)
The Ash Grove
Ar Lan y Mor (Beside the Sea)
Tune for a Found Harmonium (Penguin Cafe Orchestra)
La Valse D’Amelie (Amelie Soundtrack)
Amsterdam (Jacques Brel)
Concierto de Aranjuez (Joaquin Rodrigo)
Black Orpheus (Brazil)
Les Parapluies de Cherbourg
Moonlight Serenade (Glen Miller)
Can-Can (French)
Godfather Theme
From Russia with Love (James Bond)
Goodbye Eddy Street (American Folk)
Never Going Back Again (Fleetwood Mac)
Le Petit Cheval Rouge (French-Canadian)
Song from Moulin Rouge (1952 film)
Game of Thrones Theme
Songs (with accompanying vocalist/guitarist)
Flower of Scotland
Auld Lang Syne
Will you go Lassie go
Fields of Athenry
In Dublin’s Fair City
Galway Girl
Star of the County Down
Hills of Donegal
Fisherman’s Blues
Mack the Knife
Ring of Fire
I Walk the Line
Rainy Night in Soho
Norwegian Wood
Dirty Old Town
You are my Sunshine
Bright Side of the Road
Brown-Eyed Girl plus many more..
Ceili/Ceilidh/Barndance Repertoire
Gay Gordons
Dashing White Sargant
Circassian Circle
Siege of Ennis
Strip The Willow
Haymakers Jig
Walls of Limerick
Virginia Reel
Canadian Barndance
St. Bernard’s Waltz
The Waves of Tory

Colette's Prices

Note: prices may vary based on travel distance. For an exact quote, click “Check availability”.

Standard Prices
Performance durationPrice
Short performance (up to 15 min)£250
Up to 1 hour£250
Up to 2 hours£250
Up to 3 hours£280
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5 out of 5
15 verified reviews
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Colette's Reviews

From Encore customers:

Jeffery P
18 days ago
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5 out of 5

Musically superb, and perfectly judged for the event. Socially charming, friendly and accommodating. A delight.

Matthew A
7 months ago
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5 out of 5

Colette was truly a joy to work with! Her positive attitude and beautiful playing made our event so wonderful! I’ve already recommended her to my friends and family. She was also professional, punctual, and a good communicator. Thank you Colette!

Debbie T
1 year ago
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5 out of 5

Absolutely superb x beautiful playing x exactly what I wanted x thank you x

James G
1 year ago
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5 out of 5

Great - an amplifier would have been an advantage

Read all 8 reviews

From other customers:

Yvonne S
5 years ago, for a Private event in Dunmow
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5 out of 5

Hello Colette, what a brilliant way for our mother Rose to enjoy her big day on Sunday. Your amazing music was certainly the icing on her cake and the compliments from the guests about your highly talented trio flowed even faster than the champagne at her afternoon tea party! So many, many thanks for your contribution to what was a really lovely occasion. Mum was delighted and will remember with fond memories for ever. Yvonne, Tricia, Ian and Teresa Our Mother's 80th Birthday Party, Great Dunmow, Essex

Maura R
5 years ago, for a Private event in Greenwich
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5 out of 5

Dear Colette, Thank you so much for everything you did on Saturday to make my party a successful celebration of my big birthday. Your music was truly lovely and I thought it was just perfect for the event. So beautifully melodic, it allowed everyone to chatter on while still being clear and strong and audible. I enjoyed everything, but I was able to sit and listen to the Jacques Brel songs especially. I thought you played them so well, and you were great to have learnt them for me. I hope you enjoy having them in your vast repertoire. We may not be auditioning for Riverdance any time soon, but I think it was clear that we really loved our swinging around ceilidh style (God help us! Weren't we wonderfully awful!!) I'm so glad I remembered you well from 2006, and thought to invite you to play for me. Many many thanks, Maura

Read all 17 reviews