PEOPLE

Irish singer charmed by Malayan songs

Irish tenor Brendan O'Dowda, who was known for singing Irish folk songs, promised during his visit to Singapore in September 1965 to "sing the praises of this place for the rest of my life".

He said: "I feel more people will come to Singapore if only they knew about the place.

"This is a real island paradise. Everything is so green and fresh-looking, not commercialised like Hawaii."

O'Dowda was in town on his way to New Zealand to perform in a series of concerts.


Brendan O'Dowda was known for popularising the songs of Irish songwriter Percy French. ST FILE PHOTO

He was especially enchanted with the Malayan songs that he heard on his visit here. "I have never heard anything like them. It is a pity the rest of the world cannot hear these songs," he said.

He said he hoped to arrange for a show with the BBC where he will introduce local songs and give some background talks about Singapore.

O'Dowda started serious voice training at the age of 18 and became known for popularising the songs of Irish songwriter Percy French. The songs include Slattery's Mounted Foot and Come Back Paddy Reilly.

O'Dowda died at the age of 76 in 2002.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 13, 2015, with the headline 'People Irish singer charmed by Malayan songs'. Print Edition | Subscribe