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Enda Reilly and Rhiannon,'Halloween Lady' launch gig 30/10/08   Bewley's Cafe Theatre

On a rainy Thursday evening, I arrived at the cosy hideaway in the heart of Dublin's Grafton Street that is known as Bewley's Cafe Theatre. I had been invited by Enda Reilly, who is a delightful entertainer I first met at The Zodiac Sessions in Bruxelles.

This young man is an alt-folk/pop singer/songwriter. His recent album 'Oxygen 21' is an exciting and unique creation and together with Rhiannon (Niamh O'Brien) who is a soloist with a special style, he has now added 'Halloween Lady' into the collage of creative songs in his portfolio!

On the night in question I sat in a quiet corner, to observe and take in my surroundings. A play had been on that afternoon and the set still remained up on-stage which gave the place a real sense of theatre. There had been a few Halloween props added which I found added to the mood too, especially a spider who sat blinking, with bright red eyes on an amp. A nice little group were in attendance; Just nice for the small venue not to feel empty. I was introduced to Rhiannon, who is a very pretty and multi-talented lady. I knew this was going to be a fun gig, since I'd heard a snippet of the song on-line and was eager to hear more of Rhiannon's repertoire!

The first set of the evening, however was performed by a young man: Andy Early. This guy has a strong Dub accent but a great voice and personality.

Rhiannon's Set

Rooftop Lullaby (Jack L cover)

This number was sung unaccompanied. You could hear a pin drop as this tall blonde lady clad in a long velvet gown, complete with medieval styled sleeves lined in purple satin, performed this moving piece. The voice crystal clear draws you in, as she lovingly caresses her subject and makes this song her own!

Crazy Man Michael ( FairPort Convention Cover)

Rhiannon explains that this song is about a sorceress seducing a guy with black magic spells. Plucked guitar notes and vocals note perfect, take you through this interesting ballad. It has a three four beat and a slightly Celtic melody line.

The chorus is simply her singing the melody ad lib (without words), apart from the last line; 'Poor lost soul'

Woman I Long to be (HeartSong of the Phoenix Album)

With the black of the set behind her and a huge strip of what looks a little like white embossed wallpaper at the centre of the backdrop to throw the scene into relief, Rhiannon takes on an ethereal appearance. She sings this lovely number, her own creation with reverence and emotion!

She has the prettiest voice I've ever heard in a female vocalist; a tincture of Kate Bush, a hint of Enya but wouldn't be out of place playing the lead in a West End musical; this exciting and powerful lady seduces her audience in the nicest way possible!

Sporting a black trilby hat to add character and a bit of bohemia, she was getting into the spirit of Halloween big time and taking all present with her!

Coyote Kisses

Deep and moving, this song is yet another sweet number, with a catchy chorus. Her background as an actress gives her a dynamic stage presence and her lyrics are sensual, with her performing each as an experience apart from the previous one. There is total silence as she tells her story here!

Sealsong on Rathlin Island

Rhiannon introduced this number as a piece inspired by a strange experience she had on a trip to Rathlin Island. She describes singing into the sea in fun and suddenly spotting a seal coming up on the surf. From a single one, there suddenly seemed to appear a colony of them. She joked about it being her biggest and most attentive audience to date!

She told also about 'Selkie' which are a kind of mermaid that in legend were actually seals, which had come ashore and shed their hide.

The song itself a sad love song, had a lovely melody and consisted of tricky keychanges and complex notation.

Halloween Lady

Enda wore his own Halloween attire as he joined her onstage and Rhiannon added long fingered purple gloves to her outfit for this. Choppy with a creepy but comical feel to it, they performed this duet with great aplomb!

Rhiannon does lots of dramatic vogueing in her glittery glamorous way and Enda played his part very much on the style of the Phantom of the Opera. I adored the chorus of this song and am still haunted by it, with its Kate Bush style. What a fabulous work of lyric and melody combined, all created by my good friend Enda Reilly!

Enda Reilly's Set

Enda thanked the first two acts and began his set with Hidin' Away.This number has a beautiful intro. His finger picking prowess on the acoustic guitar and skill as a lyricist come from influences such as John Martyn, Nick Drake, The Beatles, Christy Moore, Paul Brady and Dick Gaughan.

His voice is velvet smooth with bassy undertones. There's an almost classical touch to his guitar playing in this song. He has a warm easy stage presence that is unique. He explains after this song that he uses two capos � a trick!

Where the wild Roses Grow ( Nick Cave & Kylie Minogue Cover)

This is a duet with Rhiannon, performed as a try out on the night. There's a great sense of spontaneity, as she hops up onstage and picks up a huge red rose to hold throughout the song. The melody reminds me of a Chris De Burgh number. It has mysteriousness about it and is really special with a catchy melody!

Enda invited Rhiannon onstage one more time and together they gave a second performance of the creepy 'Halloween Lady'.

This time they did it sans backing track!

With her costume and her dramatic way, Rhiannon did her theatrics and began the verse with Enda playing his choppy chords. They got a fabulous reaction. The middle eight is wonderful with its vampirish lyrics!

He got an encore and performed a Rory Gallagher cover I'm not awake yet, which he devoted to his girlfriend. This was really lovely, having a three four beat, with a sweet chorus and after fourteen songs, he finally wished everyone a happy Halloween. With the props, the scenery and his gorgeous and mesmerising guest Rhiannon, Enda had succeeded in giving his audience a great show that wouldn't be easily forgotten!

Review written by: Angela Macari O'Looney

Live Gig Review (Leinster Leader, Review of Live Gig at Moat Theatre, 5/01/05)

"Songbird Rhiannon Set to Take Flight"

Irish singer and songwriter Rhiannon is celebrating after the success of her show "HeartSong of the Phoenix" at the Moat Theatre recently.   The theatrical element to the event caught some of the audience unawares.  At the very beginning of the show she invited everyone in the intimate auditorium to travel with her "on Phoenix wings ", to a world of pure imagination, and by the comments from her audience on the night she fulfilled her promises.

A dynamic presence on stage and an extremely versatile voice combined with beautiful movement, choreography and mime created a sensual and original, wonderful night's entertainment.   Rhiannon isn't afraid to take risks in performance and presentation and her fans are beginning to realise that they can look forward to plenty of unexpected surprises in her shows.  Her fan base is rising all the time and on the night people travelled from Galway, Limerick and Dublin to see her live performance.  With her new show she takes the audience on a mythical journey, through a musical repertoire which includes her own original songs and onwards through some Broadway numbers and to classical songs such as Nella Fantasia.  The musicians who played with Rhiannon on the night were Dave Jordan on congoes, djembe and ilembe; Mathew Lawlor on piano; Pat Spillane on electric guitar and Mark Gavin on sound and sound FX.   Rhiannon is currently writing new songs and will be gigging and touring in the new year around Ireland.  She will also be singing at the Lantern Festival for the Féile Bríde festival in Kildare town on 31st of January, the Eve of St. Brigid's day.


Live Gig Review (South East Voice, Review of Live gig at Finnegan's Bar Wexford, by Gillian Walsh,3/06/05 )


The Irish Singer/ Songwriter was born Niamh O' Brien and has adopted the name Rhiannon to launch her solo career.  Just a glimpse at her CV however reveals that she is much more than a singer/songwriter.

With experience in the worlds of theatre, television and radio along with regularly directing for the Pavilion Theatre, Dun Laoghaire, one would wonder where she finds the time to fit the music in. But fit it in she does and her performance at Wexford Songclub is a testament to her talent and dedication.

On stage she gives the impression that she owns the room without appearing arrogant.  She can perform the kind of vocal gymnastics that are reminiscent of Kate Bush with echoes, but done very much in her own style.  "Breathe Again" is a beautiful song and one of the stand out tracks on her album "HeartSong of the Phoenix", which is available to buy online.


 MQ (Music Quarterly) Review (The IMRO magazine,Sleeve Notes 25/08/2004) 

Albert Niland has impressed many with his version of Kate Bush's 'Wuthering Heights', a song many felt nobody elseclick to enlarge could dare sing ... Speaking of Bush, who hasn't released an album for many years, the opening track on the debut album by Kildare singer-songwriter Rhíannon shows that Bush isn't the only female who can indulge in verbal gymnastics.   So MQ wonders if Rhíannon, who's real name is Niamh O'Brien, might win favour with a market Bush might not be reaching any more?


 Hot Press Review (by Jackie Hayden 14/08/2004) 

Irish singer-songwriter Rhíannon has put together an album of thirteen songs called "HeartSong of the Phoenix".  On "Breathe Again" her vocal gymnastics are immediately reminiscent of Kate Bush, and there's a touch of the "Celtic Moon Goddess" about her lyrical style, you may also get flashbacks to early Celtic-folk singers like Maddy Prior too.   The Joni-esque "Coyote Kisses" shows that Rhiannon has real potential!


Gig Review (Leinster Leader 16/12/2004)

"HeartSong of the Phoenix with Rhiannon"

Rhiannon, talented Kildare Singer Songwriter is tipped to be the next Kate Bush.  She has been creating quite a stir recently in the music industry with many reviewers and radio broadcasters comparing her with Kate Bush and Bjork.  She released her album with thirteen original tracks last year and has had a very busy and productive year since then, touring and performing at home and abroad.Rhiannon is playing a Headline Gig entitled "HeartSong of the Phoenix " on Saturday December the 18th in the Moat theatre, in her home town of Naas.  Her audience can expect a night of magic, madness and intriguing surprises. Her background as a professional actress in theatre and film gives her an amazing stage presence.

Rhiannon's fan base is rapidly increasing and she now has fans in Ireland, Europe, Australia and the USA. Reviewers have described her live performances as phenomenal with quirky sexy delivery and amazing vocal pyrotechnics. Rhiannon is undoubtedly a star in the making.

She has just completed the IMRO songwriters collaboration workshops in Dublin.  Her song "Breathe Again" received a lot of National Radio Airplay this year on the Ronan Collins Show and she has also received glowing reviews from Hot Press  Magazine and MQ Magazine.  This is a show you won't want to miss!!


 Launch Review (Leinster Leader 20/11/2003)        click to enlarge

    "Moon Goddess Shines during Lunar Eclipse"

The Old Mill witnessed more than one spectacular performance last Saturday night. While the sun the earth and the moon were producing a total eclipse outdoors, Rhíannon was blowing them away indoors. In a perfect setting for a Celtic moon goddess, Rhíannon the gifted singer songwriter from Kildare gave a truly memorable exhibition of singing, vocal pyrotechnics and stagecraft.

Playing to a full house to launch her new CD “Heartsong of the Phoenix”, she not only did the usual singer routine but performed each song in what can only be described as a tour de force. Not since the early Kate Bush have we seen such a combination of exquisite voice and stunning presentation.
The themes in her set list ran through the full gamut of human
experience, ranging from love and loss, to age, the environment and madness and all delivered with the unique Rhíannon style. Her songs somehow succeed in tapping into the soul of women from all times and everywhere. From the woman who loves not wisely but too well, to the seal woman who marries the fisherman in the Selkie legend and even to the Stickwoman who lives in a tree. The most frequent comment heard afterwards on the night was “That was a most moving experience!”.

If you missed this performance watch out for the next Rhíannon gig and treat yourself not only to a good night’s entertainment but a whole new musical experience. Definitely, one to watch. Rhíannon’s CD “Heartsong of the Phoenix” is on sale locally in Top Twenty in Naas and Newbridge and by all accounts is flying off the shelves.

Rhíannon was accompanied on the night by musicians Pat Spillane, Jez Marascalchi and Eithne Ni Chatháin. John Leech played an excellent support act.


 Album Review (Leinster Leader 8/11/2003)

    "Dream Comes True for Gifted Rhíannon"

Irish singer songwriter fulfils lifelong dream and launches debut album. While growing up in Kildare and starring in many of the Newbridge College musicals, she dreamed that she would one day produce her own CD. No ordinary songstress, she emerges from a past which includes professional acting on the Dublin stage, classical singing and membership of Anúna, to create her own unique style of music. And over the summer she has followed this belief in her work by recording her album with the immensely talented Mark Gavin of Monolith Studios, Kildare. She now brings it to the public using the stage name Rhíannon, the Celtic Goddess associated with the birds of sweetest song.


The power and range of her voice displays a richness of passion, where no song is left without its own unique sound. Rhíannon’s versatility of styles from world music, to mainstream folk, through traditional and all the way out to left field weirdness, brings her music way beyond the realms of straight forward chart music, which, is truly refreshing.


The quality of song writing reveals a creativity, that marks out Rhíannon as a wordsmith to watch. From a weave of different cultural and musical traditions, her distinctive sound contains a powerful earthiness. Influential strains can be heard reminiscent of Kate Bush, Joni Mitchell and Dori Previn, with a fusion of exotic instruments, upbeat rhythms and textures. Rhíannon breathes new life into the eternal themes of love and loss with insight and passionate expression. This album is a tour-de-force of energy, originality and surprises.

Rhíannon rises from the ashes to launch her debut album “Heartsong of the Phoenix” on Saturday 8th November in the Old Mill, Victoria Bridge. This venue known for its mystical qualities readies itself for the mythic voice of Rhíannon.


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