Anna McGoldrick Feature (active
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Where Are They Now?
thanks to Anna McGoldrick for taking the time to talk to us.
Anna was born in Castleblaney, Co.
Monaghan which, for some unknown reason, is a town which has produced more
than its fair share of Irish showband talent. She came to prominence
on the Irish scene in 1968 when she sang Gleann Na Smol, an
entry in the 4th Annual Irish National Song Contest.
In a recent
interview, Anna told us how she got to take part in the contest. "My
mother saw a little story in the paper that RTE was looking for
singers to sing some of the sixteen songs in the National Song
Contest and she entered my name. I was mortified when she told me
what she had done, however, in my day you had to do what you were
told, certainly in my house we had to do so!"
The contest had
previously featured established showband stars such as Butch Moore,
Sean Dunphy and Dickie Rock. Anna added, "with all those established
stars singing in the contest, my knees were knocking at the thoughts
of them saying, “who the heck is this one.” At the time, Anna was
working in public relations in a company in
Dublin and told us she had never considered a
career in entertainment, but "my mother felt, if God gave out
special talents, something should be done with them," Anna added.
Anna, who had
previously only sang Gaelic songs in the Feiseanna at school, was
chosen to audition and selected to sing Gleann na Smol (which
was in the Irish language). A nice song, Anna came in 5th,
finishing ahead of such established
stars as Gregory Donaghy of the Cadets, Tony Kenny and Roly Daniels.
song that year was Chance of a Lifetime, sung by Pat McGeegan
(aka Pat McGuigan also from County Monaghan). The song became
Anna's single and
launched her on the Irish cabaret circuit.
It was also the night Hughie Green
was in the audience and after her performance in the National Song
Contest, he asked he to appear
on Opportunity Knocks, although it would be almost a year before she
appeared on the show. In the meantime, she did some gigs in Clontarf
Castle for about three months during the summer season of 1968.
Anna's major break came in
February 1969 when she finally featured on the Opportunity Knocks
programme on ITV in the UK which was a precursor of today's X-Factor
type show. Contestants featured on the show would be voted to return
or not and success was measured by the number of weeks you remained
on the show. Anna was there eight weeks, making her one of the
longest running contestants in the show's history. In Ireland, the
only way to see the program at the time was on UTV which was
available in only a small portion of the country (this was long
before cable and satellite TV).
Her first win on the show brought
a flood of offers for recording contracts and gigs, which just kept
growing with every subsequent week she was kept on by the voters at
home. In a recent email, Anna told me, "there
were those who constantly suggested to me and to Michael, my
husband, that I should have a band around me, in those early years.
I did not like that idea at all and wouldn’t do it."
"there were cabaret venues in the north of
Ireland before they opened up in
the south and I got into cabaret in the north when we were contacted
by the owners of cabaret venues to come and do an appearance in
their cabaret lounge. In 1969 it was all cabaret in the night clubs
there was so much work in those clubs, it was unbelievable. Lovely
back up bands and I just had to bring my
arrangements with me and those guys could sight read the music the
first time they saw it at rehearsals."
The rest of Ireland did not really
get to see much of Anna until she was asked to appear on an RTE
series in 1969 when she was featured alongside two of the biggest
Irish folk/cabaret acts at the time, Danny
Doyle and The Pattersons. After the success of that series, Anna
was asked by RTE to star in five of her own series between 1971 and
Anna would also appear in the 1970 National Song Contest singing Dá
sheoilfainn an domhan, however, that was also the year
Dana won Ireland's first Eurovision with All Kind of Everything.
1970 would be Anna's last involvement in the Irish song contest.
However, she was also a guest artist at
the Castlebar Song Contest in 1971.
Anna takes up the
story again. "I was offered my 7th TV series with RTE for 1978, but
I was also offered my first TV series with CBC television in Canada
and my husband, who was my manager, decided it might be a good plan
to break new ground and so we accepted the 18 week TV series with
CBC and that lead to three further TV series with CBC in Canada in
the following 4 years."
The seventies saw
Anna doing all kinds of appearances across Ireland and
after the success of her CBC series in Canada, she began to tour
regularly there as well. Adds Anna, "I was working all over those
three countries well into the 80s and then I was asked to do a 45
city tour of the
USA with Hal Roach on two years
during the 80s."
Anna would also do
another RTE series in 1988.
More to come...
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