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Obit: Brian O'Rourke (1949-2022)


Related threads:
Lyr Add: Chantal du Champignon (Brian O'Rourke) (86)
Lyr Add: Drumsnot (Brian O'Rourke) (32)
Lyr Req: The Banks of the Rhine (Brian O'Rourke) (25)
Lyr Req: Brian O'Ruairc / Brian O'Rourke (Sullivan (28)
In Praise of Brian O'Rourke (6)
Brian O'Rourke CD: Chantal .... (9)
Brian O'Rourke on YouTube (2)
Lyr Req: chantal du champignon (20) (closed)

Stilly River Sage 18 May 24 - 04:27 PM
Reinhard 18 May 24 - 10:25 AM
GUEST,Sad demise of Brian ..... 18 May 24 - 08:06 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 17 Apr 22 - 05:42 AM
Waddon Pete 12 Apr 22 - 11:02 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 11 Apr 22 - 11:13 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 11 Apr 22 - 11:02 AM
Joe Offer 11 Apr 22 - 01:44 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 11 Apr 22 - 12:48 AM
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Subject: RE: 2022 Obit: Brian O'Rourke
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 18 May 24 - 04:27 PM

Combined threads after a guest's late discovery of Mr. O'Rourke's passing. The search earlier didn't turn up the obit thread, but that happens. Here is a post from The Session that has some links.

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Subject: RE: Obit: Brian O'Rourke (dates?) County Clare
From: Reinhard
Date: 18 May 24 - 10:25 AM

Guest,JOBM wrote on 12 April 22 in the thread Lyr Add: Chantal du Champignon (Brian O'Rourke) that "Brian is being buried tomorrow".

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Banks of the Rhine (Brian O'Rourke)
From: GUEST,Sad demise of Brian .....
Date: 18 May 24 - 08:06 AM

I've just been told that Brian O'Rourke is buried opposite & just south of Pepper's Bar in east Feakle, Co.Clare, Ireland.

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Subject: RE: 2022 Obit: Brian O'Rourke
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 17 Apr 22 - 05:42 AM

Obituary in the Clare Champion

April 156, 2022
“A GOOD man in every way,” was one neighbour’s description of the late Dr Brían O’Rourke, scholar, author, songwriter and linguist, who was laid to rest in Feakle this week.

Crowds thronged St Mary’s Church and the Angelus bell rang out, as the simple wicker coffin was carried in, adorned with carnations and roses – a nod to Brían’s famous comic ballad, ‘Chantal de Champignon’.

Figures from the worlds of politics, literature, drama and broadcasting attended the funeral, as well as former colleagues from the Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) where Dr O’Rourke had previously lectured in Heritage Studies.

Brían, a native of Ratheniska, County Laois, passed away, at the age of 73, at his home in Magherabaun on Friday, April 8. His funeral mass was concelebrated by his brother Fr Caoimhín. His broadcaster brother, Seán and sister Anne, brought up the offeratory gifts.

Symbols were presented of Brían’s life. Among them was a copy of his book, Blas Meala – A Sip from the Honey Pot, a collection of Irish traditional songs translated into English; a CD to represent his love for traditional music and song; one of his manuscripts of songs; photos of family and friends; and the bells rung at his wedding to broadcaster, Paula Carroll.

In his sermon, Fr Caoimhín said his brother would be remembered as a bard, a Renaissance man, a scholar and an author, but most of all as a family man. He described Paula and the couple’s three daughters, Anna, Rosa and Eva as “four angels” who comforted Brían throughout his illness.

Fr Caoimhín referred to some of the hundreds of tributes, which described Brían as “a friend to many”, “a kind and gentle soul with a huge heart”, and “a giant of the singing community”. “Memories make the past present,” Fr Caoimhín said.

Towards the close of a ceremony marked by music and memories, Paula Carroll read the poem ‘At the Well Head’ by Séamus Heaney. It was, she said, “about people who live music and embody art and who don’t just perform it. The was really important to Brían and to me.”

She then introduced traditional singer Mary Anne Ni Chaidain “to sing Brían home”.

Brían’s daughter, Rosa, described sitting up until the early hours finding words to say in tribute to her father, on behalf of herself and her sisters.

In an emotional tribute, she described her dad as “great craic”, a man who would invent elaborate treasure hunts and drive into puddles to entertain his beloved daughters.

She recalled going in to his office at GMIT, where he would keep her occupied during his lectures. She added that some of her father’s happiest moments included his daughters lining out with Feakle Camogie Club and their talent for music.

As a midwife, Rosa recalled making a Facetime call to her parents after delivering her first baby, and her father’s joy in her work. He was very proud of his three girls,” Rosa said.

Dr O’Rourke is survived by his wife, Paula, daughters Anna, Rosa, and Eva, brothers and sisters Lorcán, Fr Caoimhín SJ, Fran, Gerard, Seán, Mary and Anne, sisters-in-law, brother-in-law, nieces, nephews, aunt Carmel, uncle Michael, cousins, extended family, and a large circle of friends.

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Subject: RE: 2022 Obit: Brian O'Rourke
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 12 Apr 22 - 11:02 AM

I was sorry to read this thread. Thanks for the information behind the blue clickies. I hadn't heard of Brian before today and now wish I had. However,there are YouTube videos to enjoy. I have added his name to the "In Memoriam" thread and share my condolences with all those who know and love him. RIP

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Subject: RE: 2022 Obit: Brian O'Rourke
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 11 Apr 22 - 11:13 AM

I saw him sing Drumsnot some time during the early eighties and have seen a few places like it since as well. Met a Chantal too, her name was Isabelle but that is probably a different story, although a similar one.

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Subject: RE: 2022 Obit: Brian O'Rourke
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 11 Apr 22 - 11:02 AM

I'd heard his 'Chantal du Champignon' in the 90s & was delighted to meet him at Rosie's Stewart's singing session in Glenfarne, Leitrim a few years ago. A lovely man, with no pretensions at all.

I lived for years a few miles from Durrus in West Cork & always thought the village must have been his model for 'Drumsnot'- just that kind of village at the time. One freezing winter night, a session had been arranged in Paddy Barry's pub. There was no heating & the bar was a barn of a place. Nothing in the open fire, even if 20 folk there.
When it was pointed out to him that the musicians all had cold fingers, he said 'Ah, ye'll soon warm up when ye play'.
Someone walked along to the nearby shop & got a bale of briquettes in the end- that was Drmsnot all over!    RIP Brian

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Subject: RE: 2022 Obit: Brian O'Rourke
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Apr 22 - 01:44 AM


Irish folk songs are Brian O’Rourke’s hobby, but were a natural extension of his professional career. Brian lectured in Irish Studies at GMIT for over forty years.

In the early 1980s, Brien (seen performing in the photo above at a singing session in Kinvara, County Galway in September 2013) started attending singing sessions. Back then, he would sing mostly Irish language songs, having fallen in love with the beauty of Irish poetry and compositions. Sean nós especially had won Brian's heart.

Let us introduce you to Brian with video recordings of his songs.

Brian's Collections Of Irish Songs
As a labour of love Brian published two song collections of Irish songs with recordings sung by recognised Sean nos singers. The collections also included the songs in print, translations and commentaries. It was a comprehensive and novel project, which brought Irish folk songs to many lovers of Irish culture living abroad. The titles of the collections are: Blas Meala (A sip from the Honey-pot) and An Dubh ina Bhán (Pale Rainbow).

As a traditional singer, Brian says, it took him a long time to appreciate the English language songs which are generally thought of as being of lower quality both poetically and musically. In one of life's unpredictable twists and turns however, Brian one day found himself writing songs in the traditional style, in English.

Brian’s Own Irish Folk Songs
This was not something he had been planning to do, but rather something that just poured out of him. Having written them at a time when life was quite difficult, he was also surprised to find these were comedy songs. Some grew out of personal experiences. Audiences all over loved them, so he continued writing. By 1992 he had enough material for an album entitled ‘When I grow up'. In 2009 the album appeared as a CD with the new title 'Chantal de Champignon'.

‘Chantal...’ is one of Brian’s best known songs. Based on a personal experience, it is a 15 minute comedy song in the style of a ballad lamenting love gone wrong. The beloved was a young French lady, on holidays in Ireland.

When the song was only a couple of years old, Brian discovered that it was being adopted and sung by others as is typical with traditional Irish folk songs.

“It was men of a certain age who could identify with the theme. A man from Carlow, Damien Brett, eventually advertised to see how many men he could find who could sing the song, and he got about forty! Club Chantal was born and met regularly for some years.”

Brian’s 'Carnations' song which you can listen to here, is also based on a personal story. Says Brian:

“The song arose from the mistake I made on Valentine’s Day 1996 presenting my girlfriend with the wrong flowers. The song is a mix of realism, drama, and imagination. It is also a parody of a sentimental Cork song 'The Banks of the Lee' to the tune of which it is sung.”

Working Methods
About his choice of subject matter Brian says: “Dozens of people have said to me in relation to certain events, 'There is a song in that.' There may be, but rarely for me. Usually I have to wait until I am forcefully struck by an image, by something 'different', quirky even. A goat becoming a Bodhran drum, a diary washed ashore from the sea, or a cow surviving half a year without food.”

The main traditional technique Brian employs is internal rhyming as can be found in Irish language songs. Brian thinks that in English, this works better in comedy songs than in a serious context. The melodies of his own contemporary Irish folk songs come to him usually once he has started to write the words. The tunes are those of traditional songs that he has absorbed since childhood.

Sometimes, he says, he doesn’t recognise them at first, and flatters himself, thinking he composed an original song. (Note the understatement and the slightly self-deprecating Irish sense of humour.) The adoption of familiar tunes is a traditional technique also. There are many such songs where the same melody is used with two entirely different sets of words or vice versa.

Brian thinks that the least traditional part of his work is the way he performs his songs. He will often act the part, when there is something comical about the persona in the song, where traditional sean nós singers keep their voice the same independent of whether they are singing ballads or comical songs.

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Subject: Obit: Brian O'Rourke
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 11 Apr 22 - 12:48 AM

Singer and maker of songs Brian O Rourke has died.


Some info about the man.

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