Francis Donnelly

Francis was born & raised in Magherafelt in 1970, he got his first keyboard in 1978 and started singing in 1980.

His Father had money saved  to buy his  new car, but he bought a keyboard at a price of 1000 pounds, a big house organ.

He bought it  in Jimmy Halferty’s music shop Kilrea. Jimmy went on to be his first music teacher, mentor and his best friend right up until he passed away.

Francis took to the stage first at aged 10. Aged 11 played music for a fashion show in St Johns hall Magherafelt.

He went on to study music and do Trinity school of music exams.

He had a family group at first then put together a 5 piece band and had some wonderful times.


Down sized to a 2 and 3 piece due to lack of demand for big band at that time. Lot of cash needed then for a band on the road,

Francis came off the road due to his band partner and fiddle player taking ill, and didn’t want to carry on without him until he recovered but unfortunately his playing days on stage came to an end so Francis decided to go it alone.

Getting back on the scene was proving hard as he was off the scene for a few years and things had changed so decided to record.


His parents put up the financial backing for which he says he is very grateful. After meeting Joe McNamee from Ashford Studios they sat down to pick the songs.

“Joe as my producer steered me along the way. During this process I learned that my father was ill with cancer which was a blow. So with this in mind and that a cd is recorded for ever I started looking for a song that I could relate to my father and I found Isla Grants song within my father’s arms and I knew that was the song to remind me of my father.” says Francis

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