#OTD in 1953 – Birth of folk singer, Dolores Keane, in Sylane, Co Galway.

Dolores Keane was a founding member of the successful group De Dannan, and has since embarked on a very successful solo career, establishing herself as one of the most loved interpreters of Irish music. Keane was born in a small village called Sylane (near Tuam) in rural Co Galway. She was raised by her aunts Rita and Sarah Keane since the age of four, who are also well-known sean-nós singers. Keane started her singing at a very young age, due to the influence of her musical aunts. She made her first recording for Radio Éireann in 1958, at the tender age of five. This early start inevitably meant that Keane would have a career in music. Her brother, Seán, also went on to enjoy a successful music career.

Keane is known the world over for her deep, melodic voice. Her recordings of songs such as Dougie McLean’s “Caledonia”, Frank A. Fahey’s “Galway Bay”, Paul Brady’s “The Island”, and Donagh Long’s “Never Be the Sun” are regarded as amongst the greatest interpretations of these songs. American singer Nanci Griffith said of Keane: “Dolores Keane, the queen of the soul of Ireland, has a sacred voice.”.

Keane married musician John Faulkner, with whom she had worked on many occasions, in 1977. After a very difficult pregnancy, Keane gave birth to their first child, Joseph. He was born with Laurence-Moon-Bardet-Biedl Syndrome, which causes obesity and failing vision, though he has been spared Intellectual disability. Dolores and John’s marriage ended in 1988. Her current partner is Barry “Bazza” Farmer, with whom she had her second child, Tara, born in 1994. Keane put an end to recording and touring in the late 1990s, due to depression and alcoholism. She has received extensive treatment for these conditions. As of 2007, Keane lives outside Galway with her two children and her husband Barry. As of June 2014, Keane was given the all clear after suffering from cancer.

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