Spotlight on: Diane Cannon

Diane Cannon

Diane Cannon: Gifted singer and musician from the Donegal Gaeltacht

Few artists manage to bridge the gap between Traditional and Country Music as successfully as Diane Cannon does, and indeed this gift continues to open many doors for her in both genres of music.

Diane is a native of Meenlaragh at the heart of the Donegal Gaeltacht, one of the most strikingly beautiful parts of the country. It is not surprising Diane chose music as a career as she comes from such a strong musical background. Her grand father Manus Cannon, a native of Meenacreeve, was well known as a gifted Fiddle player and also played in the local Flute Band. The next generation saw Diane’s Father play with the Clubmen who were immensely popular throughout Donegal and Scotland for their delivery of quality country music.

As a toddler, Diane was surrounded by music in the family home and was very soon joining in herself as a young child. She soon mastered the Guitar and Bass Guitar and soon began singing at local gigs with her Father’s Band.

Diane made her first foray into recording in 1998 and her debut CD earned her widespread recognition across the country with special emphasis placed on her ability to do great justice to country numbers side by side with traditional Irish numbers. Already, an accomplished musician, Diane added the Fiddle to her already impressive array of instruments. She studied with renowned fiddle player Francie Mooney and showcased her new talent on the traditional stage as a gifted traditional singer and musician.

Diane is a member of Cór Thaobh a Leithid, a four part choir made up of the finest Sean Nós Singers from the Donegal Galetacht. Since the group was founded in 2002, they have enjoyed many successes – in 2008 they performed a new piece of music composed by Donal Lunny at the Errigal Arts Festival which was screened on TG4, they have performed in the National Concert Hall, and recently got a chance to perform in a private audience with the President at Áras an Uachtarán.

Diane certainly has numerous strings to her bow – she has also recorded material for An Scoil Chois Claí (The Hedge School) which offers an innovative and fun way for people to learn the Irish language.

An Scoil Chois Claí came about some years ago in the USA when a group of people who wanted to learn Irish and a couple of teachers who wanted to teach Irish came together, but had no base to work from – hence the name. First meetings were in a diner but shortly thereafter the group was rescued from homelessness by Muiris Bric and The Kerry Association, and given a room in their lovely headquarters in Yonkers NY. A year later Brother Charles Quinn of Iona Collage, New Rochelle NY helped arrange space for the group on the Iona college campus which is where they have been located ever since, offering education classes in four levels of Irish, in the La Penta building. They also have a celebration of the Irish Language every Spring in our Lá na Gaeilge, Irish Language Day, which is usually held in April.

Diane credits her Father for her own great love of music and also cites influences from artists such as George Jones, Bonnie Raitt, James Taylor, Ricky Skaggs and John Prine as significant influences.

She is currently working on a high calibre American Country Album, and the taster tracks are sensational – reiterating the fact that this lady can sing traditional and country with equal expertise. She is currently touring with the Hot Country Band thereby further expanding her horizons into Country music. Can you feel it, Because I’m a woman, and Divorce, suitably showcase her unique vocal sound and fans can look forward to a full Album shortly.

From August 1 – 10th, Diane will headline a massive trad festival at Lorient in France which is hosted by French President Francois Hollande and Irish President Michael D Higgins with an audience of 10,000 people. “Representing Ireland at this major festival is one of the highlights of my career so far” Diane said, “I’m absolutely delighted to be able to bring the Irish Celtic traditional music to such a huge French audience”.

Diane is now based in Belfast where she also works in Radio and teaches Irish Music.

Her recent association with Big M promotions and the incredible Hot Country Band will certainly bring her music to whole new audiences across Ireland, the UK, and Scotland. Since signing up this immensely talented lady, Big M Promotions decided to target the Country Music Scene with a haunting version of “Under your spell again” which is currently available.