• Siamsa, Vol. 1

1 Cascade  - 6:24

2 Siamsa (Solo Sax) - 1:00

3 Rince Jazz Beag (A Little Jazz Dance) - 4:49

4 Wistful - 3:53

5 Ceann Mara (Kenmare) - 4:35

6 Siamsa (Solo Piano) - 1:18

7 Fan, Gra Mo Chroi (Wait, Love of My Heart) - 4:38

8 The White Lady - 3:12

9 By the Waters of Glencar - 3:06

10 March to the Winds - 5:46

11 My Little Em - 4:33

A Collection of Contemporary Compositions written by John Donegan (2018)

The inspiration for this project is derived from my Irish roots, from places and people that are dear to me and, from my involvement in Jazz as a means of expression. Over 20 years ago, I wrote a piece, entitled “My Gentle Dream”, which symbolized Ireland and my connection to it. This piece is featured on my solo album, Jen’s Progress. At the urging of my wife, Marie, my friends Jan Sikorski and Bernard O”Neill  and, Tommaso Starace, they all suggested I write more pieces in this style. As we developed our musical partnership, Tommaso suggested that he would like to do an album of my original compositions and thus, the concept for Siamsa was born. I spent four months writing a suite of 21new pieces and in October 2018 we travelled to France to record the project at Bernard’s studio. The suite is divided into 2 volumes and I hope you will enjoy the results of this musical journey! 

I am grateful for the Tommaso’s encouragement and enthusiasm and wonderful playing, for Bernard’s constant advice and professionalism on the recording and production, his talent in capturing the essence of the concept and his sensitive playing which has enhanced the end result.  To my daughter, Catherine, whose wonderful voice adds something special and unique and brings another dimension to the pieces, huge thanks. 

My thanks to David McLaughlin, www.1604designs.com., for producing all the art work and, for his talent in creating the illustration. He has achieved a wonderful visual impact to complement the audible experience.

As always I am fortunate to have inspiration from my family and friends and I dedicate these albums to those who have encouraged me to make this journey. 

All pieces composed by John Donegan in 2018.

Produced and mastered by Bernard O’Neill for Jayde Records and Strung Out Songs (Division of Bozas International Ltd.) Recorded at Grand Duc Studios. Larroque, France on 29/30th and 31st Ocober, and the 1/2/3rd and 4th November, 2018.

John Donegan – Piano. 

Tommaso Starace – Soprano Sax. 

Bernard O’Neill  - Double Bass.

Catherine Donegan – Voice



All Rights Reserved. Unauthorised Copying, Public Performance, Broadcasting, Hiring Or Rental OF This Recording Prohibited.


The inspiration for this piece derives from the beauty of the Irish landscape and, in particular, the many natural ways in which water moves throughout the countryside. It is meant to reflect the waterfall at Powerscourt Estate, in Co. Wicklow – and brings back many happy memories of time spent enjoying the natural beauty of this area. 


Siamsa is the Irish word for entertainment or amusement.  This piece is a little Dance and inspired by the traditional folk culture popularised by Siamsa Tire, based in Tralee, Co Kerry. It is meant to be a happy and amusing dance, providing the title for the suite and is used as a link on both albums. 

Rince Jazz Beag ( A little Jazz Dance). 

As in much of Irish music, lots of pieces have been written for dance. The feel of this piece is dance-like and I wanted to create a fusion with the jazz idiom by having a bluesey sequence and feel to it. 


This piece, as the name implies, represents a feeling of longing or yearning. 

Ceann Mara

Ceann Mara means the “The head of the sea” and gave us the anglicised name, Kenmare. The Irish word for Kenmare is Neidin – which means nest and is appropriate as Kenmare nestles between the Iveragh Peninsula and the Beara Peninsula, in Co, Kerry. It is my favourite part of Kerry and resonates with many happy memories and the location where my daughter, Jennifer, chose to be married. 

Fan, Gra mo Chroi

Immigration has had a huge effect on Irish life, throughout the ages and this piece is a call by a young woman, to her lover, not to leave her seeking a new life, but wait until Spring comes and take her with him. It is a sad lament and is sung, in Irish, by my daughter, Catherine. The transaltion form the Irish is as follows:

“Wait, love of my heart, 

Don’t leave me here.

Wait love of my heart, 

Take me with you, next Spring, 

The trees will be in blossom throughout the land

And the rivers will run clear, 

Wait, love of my heart

Don’t leave me here.”

The White Lady

Kinsale , in County Cork, is a favourite place for me to visit when I am in Ireland. 

There is a legend about the White Lady of Kinsale, one of Ireland’s famous ghost stories. 

Just outside Kinsale, is located Charlesfort, a former military fortification. The story goes that one of the soldiers, stationed there, married a local girl. However, on his wedding night he was obliged to be on guard duty. Being a little inebriated, following the day’s celebration, he fell asleep on watch. He was discovered by some of his fellow soldiers, and shot at his post. 

On hearing this, his new bride overcome by grief, threw herself from the battlements and died. For decades afterwards, her ghost was said to have roamed Charlesfort and nearby Kinsale. 

By the Waters of Glencar

Glencar Waterfall is located in Leitrim near the country boundary with Sligo. It is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Ireland and was immortalized in the poem, “The Stolen Child” by W.B.Yeats. 

“Where the wandering water gushes

From the hills above Glencar

In pools among the rushes

That scarce could bathe a star” 

March to the Winds

Like the Autumn winds, various calamities such as the Famine and many historical events, have resulted in the Irish people being blown, like leaves, throughout the world. The opening 8 bars resemble a march and reflect the involvement of Irish people in many international conflicts, throughout history. (The Wild Geese). 

While it is considered that Ireland’s greatest export is it’s people, the Irish have brought their culture, music and folklore wherever they go permeating and impacting on and enriching other cultures. 

My Little EM

When we had virtually completed recording, there was an hour left before I needed to leave for the airport to fly home. I was conscious that as well as places in Ireland that were dear to my heart, I also wanted to involve my family who are a constant source of inspiration in the creative process.  Ceann Mara recollects Jennifer’s wedding, Catherine performed on Fan, Gra mo Chroi and Ciara’s daughter, Eira Miranda, was the muse for this piece.  I wrote this for her on her birth a year before to celebrate the joy she brings into our lives. 

Album Details
Bitrate 1411kbps
File Type WAV
Label Jayde Records
Release Date May 17, 2019

Siamsa, Vol. 1

  • Product Code: B07RJ1RSXT
  • Availability: In Stock
  • available as digital download
  • 10.00€