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On October 4, 1914, the S.S. Florizel sailed from St. John’s for Europe carrying 500 Newfoundlanders to fight in the Great War. They were joined over the next nine months by a thousand more. Almost all were young men. Few had any military experience; few had ever traveled far from home. They had lived intensely local lives in St. John’s and in tight-knight largely rural fishing communities scattered all around the Newfoundland shore. Known as the Blue Puttees from the improvised blue woolen material used to fashion their legwear, the regiment arrived in Gallipoli in September 1915. In a brutal battle made famous in a song by Eric Bogle’s haunting “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda,” 43 Newfoundlanders perished. Close to a year later, the Blue Puttees arrived in the Somme. On July 1, 1916, some 776 Newfoundlanders were ordered to attack at close quarters a much better equipped German Division. Only 68 answered the roll call the following morning. It was a carnage that is seared into Newfoundland memory and identity, making something of a coming of age and a loss of innocence. Danny O’Flaherty captures the essence of this human tragedy in twelve beautifully composed and richly evocative songs from the war. They stand as a memorial not just to the fallen but to mothers, wives, children, sweethearts, families, and friends left behind. They are songs of sacrifice, of love and appalling loss.
Danny O’Flaherty Interview with CBC
- It’s a Long Way from St. John’s
- Blue Puttees Waltz
- Forget Me Nots
- Ladies Knitting by the Score
- I Was There
- Letters From the Trenches
- Every Mother’s Son
- Padre Nangle
- The Angel Voice of Newfoundland
- Sable is Marching
- Lullabye for Boy Soldiers
- They Call Us Slackers
Danny is a native Irish speaker from the Gaeltect (Gail-tuck) region of Connemara on the West Coast of Ireland. Much of his time growing up was spent around the turf fire listening to songs and stories of his elders, and this instilled in him the desire to pass the music on! He is a singer, songwriter and performer of Folk and Celtic music and is dedicated to preserving the heritage of our ancestors. He has produced and performs A Celtic Christmas Concert and is available for children’s concerts at schools and libraries around the country. Also available for Gaelic workshops, house concerts and universities, and full length concerts.
“My lifelong goal remains a commitment to the Celtic people and Celtic culture. There is no greater achievement than to pass on the traditions of our common ancestors. Through stories and song I hope to help instill a pride in Celtic heritage.” – Danny
Danny has performed all over the world, including before a crowd of ½ million on Solidarity Day in Washington, D.C.. He has also toured Israel, culminating with private command performance for President Herzog, performed at the National Cathedral for Pope John Paul II’s visit to the U.S., performed for President Ronald Reagan’s Inaugural Ball, opened at the concert for the Pan Celtic Festival in Ireland, and headlined for the Tulsa Philharmonic and The National Theatre in Washington, D.C.
Since immigrating to the United States in the early 1970s, Danny has brought Irish folk music to folk venues around the country, sharing the stage with many of the Irish and American folk musicians of the era. With my brother, Patrick O’Flaherty ,he established O’Flaherty’s Irish Channel Pub in New Orleans to pay homage to their Celtic roots. It was a place where we could perform music, and also host a wide array of talented musicians, singers and dancers.
Danny is also a proud founder of the Celtic Nations Heritage Foundation and Margaret Currach Club of New Orleans.
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