There could be worse ways of passing time than watching Anthony Hopkins playing Alfred Hitchcock as I am flying from Dublin to Atlanta for Celtic Thunder promotions. To be honest, promotion time was never my favourite part of it all but since filming Mythology I have never been more proud, excited and eager to show the world what I think is the best show CT has produced to date.

One of the hardest tasks over the last year was keeping Mythology under wraps. Naturally, all I wanted to do is release our experience from the concept to song choices, rehearsals, blocking, song arrangements, studio recordings, filming of B roll footage and the filming of the show Mythology on the night. Building Mythology upon collaboration brought the best out in everyone; whether it being song choice, choreography and musical arrangements. Over two hundred songs where put forward as suggestions, taking a couple of weeks to narrow it down. The songs that where picked stood out on the page, as they say “what’s for you won’t pass you”. When David and Sharon confirmed our solo song choices, I can safely say we where all more than very happy. Every song that made it to studio fit each of us like a glove and that set us up in mind and body to get out there on that stage in The Helix, Dublin and completely embrace our new show Mythology.

My dad’s band used to tour with another band called Bagatelle. Way back in the 70′s, Bagatelle where and still are today a very well known Irish pop/rock group, who had many hits one being “Summer in Dublin” a song that I have some close connections with. Written about the memories of Dublin city and escaping to the countryside when the hustle and bustle of the city got a bit too much.

I spent much of my life commuting in and out of the city and returning to County Wicklow. One of the descriptive lyrics sings “I jumped on a bus to Dun Laoghaire stopping off to pick up my guitar and a drunk on the bus told me how to get rich, I was glad we wher’nt going too far” my mam grew up in Dun Laoghaire and I’m from there originally before moving to Bray, County Wicklow… I have jumped on many a bus from Bray to Dun Laoghaire every week of the summer growing up with my mam brother and sister. Thank god we didn’t meet too many drunks. I remember that summer in Dublin

Meeting up with friends for a dinner party three years ago, I was introduced to a very talented songwriter named Declan O’Rourke. He had written one of my all time favourite Irish songs “Galileo” I commended him on creating such a beautiful tune and lyric, it always stuck in my thoughts that one day it might make the stage and I would be very proud to sing it.

When David came to me with the song suggestion “Perfect” from the Scottish band Fairground Attraction he told me to take it away and decide on what style we would record the song in. I wanted to give the song a very acoustic vibe, so using collaboration myself and David came up with the Mythology version of “Perfect”. It felt like putty in my hands getting out on that stage with my guitar and singing a Pop song that fit like a glove.

Ireland has no shortage of great songwriters and performers one of which being Mary Black. Going back to the 90′s Mary Black was at the height of it all including an album called “A Woman’s Heart”. One of my favourite songs was one Thom Moore had written for Mary named “Carolina Rua” – Carolina with the red hair. A beautiful love song… I changed the chords in the chorus to a more suitable feel for myself and arranged the song with David.
It was the first completed solo track for me and I felt we where off to a great start with our own version of a lovely Irish tune.

I think there is huge strength in the ensemble pieces chosen for Mythology, “Turning Away”, “The Rocky Road to Dublin”, “Star of the County Down”, “She Moves Thorough the Fair” to name but a few. One of my favourite ingredients in the whole Mythology ensemble sounds are the orchestrations composed by David Munro and Fiachra Trench. When David told us that he was bringing in a friend to work the orchestrations he told us how Fiachra had a back catalogue of over one hundred feature film scores and songs such as “Fairytale of New York” and many more. It was such an honour to have Fiachra conduct the orchestra on the night. It was a real joy for me to chat to him after the filming about his works, and a lovely man he is.
Shooting the DVD in Dublin felt like we where going back to where it all started and I suppose it’s the start of a new era for Celtic Thunder; new members, a completely new show and a look to the future as CT expands.
When we had performed the last song on the night “My Land” we all could feel in our hearts the beginning of something special and although the work was done it had only just begun. Bringing our new show on the road is what we are completely focused on now.
I hope you feel as passionate as I am when you experience Mythology.

The Alfred Hitchcock film just finished, really good. I was always a fan of his stories… And to have Anthony Hopkins play Hitchcock, well, even better.

Neil x

The new Celtic Thunder CD and DVD “Mythology” are now available and can be ordered from the Celtic Thunder webstore: