Donaldson’s surprise at great success

George Donaldson was a founding member of Celtic Thunder but admitted he was been taken by surprise by the group’s phenomenal success.

George Donaldson
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He said: “The response has been unbelievable from everyone. Folks have come on to our website with no interest in Celtic music, but our show is not just about that, and they say it’s good to see a show of this calibre coming across having Celtic music or folk music in it, as well as the contemporary songs.

“The spectrum of the genre of music has attracted everyone, from the young folks who are mad about Damian to the less young folk.”

Voyager’s passion for music

George Donaldson - founder member of Celtic group Celtic Thunder
George Donaldson

Donaldson was the eldest and only married member of the group but he and his band mates shared a passion for music, and he enjoyed the camaraderie with the other members when they were on tour.

He was originally chosen to be the ‘dependable’ one of the group although his role evolved over time.

The group’s fans nicknamed him ‘The Voyager’ and he had a great relationship with them thanks to his upbeat personality.

While he missed his family when he was on tour he also felt that he had the best of both worlds. His family were very supportive and he was able to travel doing a job he loved.

When he wasn’t on tour with Celtic Thunder, he continued to perform regularly at Jinty McGuinty’s in the West End of Glasgow.

The White Rose storyteller

George Donaldson
George Donaldson enjoying his music!

Donaldson said that everybody has a song in them and a story to tell. As he travelled the world he loved meeting ‘real’ people and hearing their stories. When he was performing in Germany he would often chat with locals after his shows.


Some of these conversations helped to give him inspiration when making his debut solo album, The White Rose.

The White Rose contained a mixture of traditional folk music and original material written by Donaldson. He carefully selected the songs he covered to fit in with the storytelling theme of the album.

Donaldson tragically died aged just 46 in March 2014. He suffered a heart attack. His death touched his Celtic Thunder band mates and fans alike who were quick to pay their tributes to the dependable ‘voyager’.

George Donaldson
Surprise success
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