The Whistlin Donkeys 2018
The Whistlin’ Donkeys were formed in Dromore, Co.Tyrone back in 2012 by the three founding members of the band Fergal, Stevie and Tòmas. The lads had been playing music together for years before forming the band and had made the decision one night over a few beers to expand their horizons and to recruit fiddle, bass and drums to their line up, which would take them in a new musical direction.
After recruiting Oscar on the Drums the band played their first gig at the Tyrone Fleadh in Dromore. The raw and fresh sound of the band went down a storm in their small local town. They played to a packed courtyard outside the Central Bar. A gig played on a set of pallets surrounded by scaffolding… but that didn’t dampen their spirits, the crowd loved it and they were hungry for more.
Over the next couple of years the band pushed their name around the county and further afield, playing in front bars, small pubs and often on the back of a flatbed lorry or two…but gradually the crowds started to grow, they kept on growing and enthusiastic audience members returned week after week to see that fresh raw sound of The Whistlin’ Donkeys.
As the crowds grew, so did the size of the venues and stages. It was then with the recruitment of Danny on the bass and Micky on the fiddle that the line-up you see today was formed. The Whistlin’ Donkeys were becoming a household name in the northern counties of Ireland.
It was around this time the band supported both Smokie and The Beach Boys on the Irish leg of their respective tours and their live video of, ‘Bees Wing’ played in the Strule Arts Centre, had went viral pushing its way on YouTube to almost half a million views.This prompted the band to get into the studio and lay down some of the music they’d been playing together and refining over the years. The band started branching out in Ireland, with tours of theatres and festivals countrywide.
With their release of singles like ‘Fairytale of NewYork’, ‘Trouble with a Capital T’, ‘Grace’, and ‘Sweet Sixteen’ the band had gained recognition from across the water. Enquiries started to flood in and interest in the band grew from countries like Germany, Holland, England and the United States… So, the Donkeys hit the road.
Over the last few years the band have played many shows in Manhattan NY, Boston PA, Liverpool, London, Bälve and Poyenberg Germany, bringing their version of Celtic folk classics to audiences far from the emerald Isle.
Most recently the band have recorded a live album in the Mandela Hall, Belfast that is due for release later this year. They maintain their passion for Irish music, their dedication to their craft and also their small town modesty carried so well by the six lads of The Whistlin’ Donkeys. From humble beginnings the band continue to perform and travel doing what they love.