“Melanie O’Reilly’s musical settings for Seán Ó Riordáin’s poems add new dimensions to his work. Her jazz treatments add fresh understanding to the poems, presenting them in a female voice and in rhythms that challenge more traditional interpretations of his work. Her settings allow us a new route to the poet’s mind, allowing fresh air into a room that appeared stale to some and closed to many.”
—Cathal Póirtéir, Writer & Award winning RTE Radio Producer, on Melanie’s performance at Imram Féile Litríochta Gaeilge and her CD Ceol Ceantair/District Music

“Timeless & thoroughly modern, Ceol Ceantair/District Music stands as a joyful tribute in which songbird Melanie O’Reilly showcases Gaelic as an exciting jazz medium along with innovative flights into French and American jazz standards. Her voice soars to dynamic heights, drifts into sultriness and fuses with masterful piano. This is a coveted CD that’s a magical breakthough!.”
—Gianna Ranuzzi, Artistic Director for Berkeley World Music Festival

“Versatile O’Reilly strikes all the right notes on new album … tremendously atmospheric.….”
—Grainne Farren/Sunday Independent [Read More]

Melanie’s album launch concert (featuring Frank Martin) at Dublin’s National Concert Hall is quoted as one of the “top gigs of the year” by the Sunday Independent!”
—[Read More]

“Gorgeous sound. … celtic cadence with a jazz sensibility.”
Contra Costa Times, CA, USA

“Spellbinding.… uplifting music from a true innovator.”
Rough Guide to Irish Music

“Extraordinary … whether she sings Irish traditional, jazz or Jacques Prevert.”
Le Telegramme

“Breathtaking amazing emotional intensity .. sheer virtuosity.”
—The Irish Times

“The Royal voice of Melanies O’Reilly has opened a new door; that of a celtic spirit always ready for new influences, an ancient spirit urgent to enrich itself…”
—Le Telegramme, France

“An outstanding night of jazz,” (review of Melanie’s performance with Larry Coryell, The Green Room, Dublin) … O’Reilly’s voice is exquisitely controlled and pure…an outstanding collection of songs.”
—Alex Moffat, Irish Times

“A very special talent… I want to do everything I can to expose her beautiful artistry to the rest of the world.”
—Larry Coryell

“…O’Reilly makes every number her own, gliding effortlessly through rhythmic backbeats … sultry … soulful in virtuoso style.”
—Edinburgh Fringe Festival/Unlimited Media

“Her lithe and soulful vocals ……and a vivacious, scat-infused What Is This Thing Called Love, while O’Reilly endowed with poignancy and anguish the bittersweet blues of Angel Eyes.”
—Jim Gilchrist, The Scotsman

“…A wondrous mix of what this fine singer is all about – a deep passion for Irish Traditional music and Jazz…with O’Reilly’s voice weaving a spell….”
—Matt Nugent, Evening Herald

“The golden voice of Melanie O’Reilly … powerful … deeply moving.”
The Sunday Independent

“Melanie O’Reilly … a kind of priestess marrying traditional and jazz music….”
—Telefis na Gaeilge

“What better way to drift towards the dawning than in the company of the silky smooth voice of Melanie O’Reilly… her hauntingly beautiful and sensuous voice wooed the audience … close your eyes and you were in dreamland.”
—Aberdeen Review

“A spiritual journey and a musical joy.”
—The Big Issue

[of her live performances] “…her pitch was impeccable, her timing totally secure, her phrasing ineffably right. More than this, however, was perhaps the most essential gift of all – her ability to read a lyric with an innate sense of its dramatic demands and to serve these accordingly.”
—The Irish Times

“O’Reilly’s sensuous voice is the perfect vehicle for entwining jazz styles with Irish Celtic influences….”
—The Scotsman

Reviews of House of the Dolphins

“House of the Dolphins” is a mighty fine leap into the big blue……Melanie O’Reilly deserves a Grammy.”
—Hot Press

“….An fresh innovative album with soulful singing and beautiful arrangements….”
—Radio na Gaeltachta

What the French Press Says (English Translations)



The concert that the Irish singer Melanie O’Reilly gave on Friday at the Palais des Congres has opened a new door, that of a celtic spirit always ready for new influences, an ancient spirit urgent to enrich itself. Making comparisons is a sensitive matter, but they give touchstones for those who didn’t have the privilege of being there. Melanie O’Reilly is of the pedigree of Billie Holiday and Brenda Wooton, a mezzo-soprano always ready to escape the theoretical limits of that register. She gives life to her music and that of the classic songwriters, performing jazz and traditional Irish standards “for the pleasure, and to show that we’re not dilettantes”. In a rich sound-surround of guitar, double-bass, keyboard, low whistle and uileann pipes, Melanie invokes the memory of emigrants, and the sadness of her country’s history. Her music affords a minor-key screen for us to experience these themes. Melanie’s voice expresses all the richness of her personality, her sensitivity and love of life, the illumination of sunrise and the delicacy of light mist on the land. And then proceeds to swing and to incandescent originals.”
—Le Telegramme

Top of the bill at the Irish cabaret on Wednesday, the beautiful Melanie O’Reilly leaves this evening to conquer the Palais des Congres. Ireland as if you were there, with added feminine grace. Recongnised as one of the best Irish song-writers, Melanie mixes Irish traditional music and jazz with talent and energy.”
—Le Telegramme

“MELANIE O’REILLY, IRISH COOL,…………….Melanie O’Reilly an extraordinary emotional intensity, whether she sings Irish traditional, jazz or Jacques Prevert.”
—Le Telegramme

MELANIE, A VERSION OF CELTIC JAZZ ……….Despite the tropical heat, nearly 600 people stayed to hear the Irish woman who jazzes based on the tradition of her country. Her formula is to revisit traditional ballads in the style of Dee Dee Bridgewater. Melanie loves vocal dynamics, supported by a quartet who gave the concert a pleasant intimacy. In any event it is a beautiful way to explore the themes of her home country. The audience fell under her spell.”
—Ouest France

“MELANIE, FROM DUBLIN AND ELSEWHERE…… In Irish, in English, or in French, this jazz fanatic (but of course! Eclecticism is never forbidden for such talent!), manifests an extraordinary emotional intensity. Why deny oneself the privilege of sharing it?.”
—Ouest France

For the past two years, this Irish woman has shared her talent with the French public“:-


“A wonderful start to the Saturday concerts with, as the first invited guest, an Irishwoman. Melanie O’Reilly completely stunned and invigorated a large audience at the Belle Croix Square.

“Rarely have these Saturday shows attracted so large an audience. Saturday evenings, the accents used to be British, Dutch and German. Melanie O’Reilly came to meet the audience without aggression, … but with sweetness and strength, blonde, translucent skin, dressed in a red dress and green cardigan. Melanie has the simplicity of the truly gifted artist. In a charming French accent she introduced the first song written “by me and a poet”. Her thanks punctuates the applause; the youngest kids are already dancing. Melanie continues with the Bossa Nova number A Day in the Life of a Fool, bodies move, eyes close. Melanie continues the introductions with the pianist “A Dubliner, he lives in New York”; then the guitarist “he lives in the west of Ireland”; and, finally, the double bass player “I believe that you know him, he comes from Caen”. Emotionally engaged, Melanie takes time to explain the themes of the songs: “A song of Ireland’s freedom”. Her face hardens and the voice becomes more evocative. The kids are now sitting on the dance floor and the crowd moves closer to the stage. It is an emotional moment.

“With a lament for a close friend, Melanie brings the listener into her universe, peacefully and gracefully. Her voice is beautiful. The musicians support and transport her. “This song is for immigrants everywhere”. Annie Moore, the song in question, extends the context to humanity as a whole. Notes hang in the air like those of the great jazz voices, like that of Ella Fitzgerald, … less powerful but clearer. The jazz becomes more rhythmic and the audience responds; an authentic happiness is shared.

“With cries of anger, joy and love, Melanie expresses her conflicts with talent. Helped by very talented musicians, she succeeded on Saturday evening in moving an audience, come to swing rather than reflect. “I like Falaise, it’s good and beautiful,” says Melanie in benediction. The local theatre could be a venue for her talent to express itself fully and for her audience to sate their musical hunger.”
—Ouest France – 21 July by Corrine Printemps