Órla Fallon is an Irish singer and harpist. She is a former member of the vocal group Celtic Woman and has also appeared with the chamber choir Anuna.
She is known for performing traditional Irish music and often sings in the Irish language. Since releasing her debut album at the turn of the century she has amassed an impressive back catalogue of albums both as a solo artist and as part of Celtic Woman.
Performing for the Pope and Presidents
During her career she has performed in front of Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. She has also sang for his Holiness the Pope.
She says: “Playing in such places as the White House or the Vatican, you never realise when you’re growing up that you’ll ever see inside these places, let alone sing and play. I think that’s the wonder of the whole thing. It’s amazing the doors that music can open up for you!”
Debut album – The Water is Wide
Fallon was born in Knockananna, Co Wicklow, Ireland and studied at Mater Dei institute of Education in Dublin. She says her grandmother’s influence was key to her developing a love of Irish music.
She released her debut album, The Water is Wide in Europe in 2000. While the album was popular with her fans, it would be another four years until Fallon would get her biggest break. In 2004 she sent a demo to Dublin born composer David Downes. Downes was starting to work on a concept that would involve talented female singers and musicians performing classic Irish songs as well as new material.
Of course that concept became Celtic Woman. Downes was hugely impressed with Fallon’s singing style and asked her to take part in his creation.
Huge success with Celtic Woman
Celtic Woman was initially intended to be a one off show for PBS. However, it was such a hit that the team quickly decided they had something special on their hands and arranged for more shows and for an album to be recorded.
The album was released in 2005 and was a huge hit. It reached number one on the World Music charts in America. By the end of 2006 it had sold a million copies.
Over the next three years, Fallon appeared on four more albums with Celtic Woman. Celtic Woman’s A Christmas Celebration was released in 2006 and also went onto sell a million copies.
A New Journey and The Greatest Journey
Their third album, A New Journey was released the following year and sold 500,000 copies in the US. Fallon’s final album with Celtic Woman was The Greatest Journey in 2008. It contained a mixture of songs from the group’s earlier albums as well as new versions of songs and three new songs.
During this time, Fallon went on tour throughout North America with Celtic Woman three times and featured on three live DVDs.
Fallon leaves Celtic Woman
Fallon left Celtic Woman in 2009 as she wanted to spend more time with her family and also re-launch her solo career. She appeared in a PBS special performance as a guest vocalist for Jim Brickman and later starred in her own Special with PBS the following year.
In 2009, her track, The Water is Wide, from her debut solo album was used during the Emmy Awards in the US.
Further success with PBS specials
Since leaving Celtic Woman she has recorded several solo albums. The first, Distant Shore, was released in 2009. In 2010, Fallon released two Christmas albums as well as an Irish album, Music of Ireland: Welcome Home. One of these albums, Orla Fallon’s Celtic Christmas was the album of her first PBS special which was picked up and shown by 100 channels in the US. It reached number four on the Billboard World music chart.
In 2011, Fallon recorded another PBS Special to promote her new album, My Land. The show celebrated Irish culture and music and featured The Dubliners among the special guests.
The Following year she released her seventh solo album, Lullaby Time.