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Sephira is an Irish band comprising sisters Joyce and Ruth O'Leary, who both play the violin and provide vocals. They released their debut album Believe in 2006. The combination of the sisters' vocals and violins is the essence of the Sephira sound, which is largely classical/crossover with traditional Irish influences.
The O'Leary sisters are from Carrickmacross, County Monaghan, Ireland. Both learned music from an early age: Joyce was two and a half and Ruth was six when they first started learning violin. Joyce performed in the National Concert Hall, Dublin aged just three, playing a Bach minuet, and was named Ireland's Most Promising Violinist when she was nine.
Ruth studied music performance at London's Guildhall School of Music to study for a BA in Music Performance. She continued her studies in Dublin, where she received her first class honours B.A. with a performance of Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto at the National Concert Hall,Dublin. During her years of study Ruth performed with world-class acts such as Rodrigo y Gabriela and featured on their 'Live in Manchester and Dublin' album.
2006 – 2007
The band's first album Believe was released in 2006. Since then Sephira have completed two successful Irish tours, performed live on the Irish television station (TG4) and appeared as special guests for artists at a number of Ireland's major concert venues, including the Olympia Theatre in Dublin, the INEC in Killarney, the Cork Opera House and the Millennium Forum in Derry.
In January 2007 they supported Clannad at Glasgow's Royal Concert Hall as part of the Celtic Connections festival televised by the BBC. In March 2007 they performed on Lithuanian TV as part of the Saint Patrick's Day celebrations in Vilnius, and in April they appeared on RTE2 with Brian McFadden. In December of that year they joined Kanye West for concerts in Dublin's Phoenix Park and The Odyssey in Belfast, and then flew to Nigeria to perform with West at two large-scale stadium concerts.
In March of this year Sephira appeared as special guests for Clannad on their extensive UK Revival Tour performing in prestigious venues throughout the UK including The Sage in Gateshead, The London Palladium and The Brighton Dome. In May '08 Sephira performed at a private function for Larry Hagman, the actor better known as J.R Ewing from the hit TV series Dallas. Later that year, the girls flew to LA to perform at the Hagman's Hollywood home. Other celebrities with whom they have appeared on TV are Michael Bublé, Westlife, Kanye West, Alison Moyet, Tom Baxter, Katherine Jenkins, Brian Kennedy, Gilbert O'Sullivan, Andrea Corr and Paul Harrington.
2008 – 2011
From fall 2008 – Spring 2010, the O'Leary sisters toured USA and Canada with the show Celtic Thunder. Fall 2010 brought Sephira to the US to build their unique brand in a bigger market and start touring their own show. March 2011 Sephira were featured on a PBS show, "Beyond Celtic" where the violin dueling sisters performed the well known track "Misirlou" from Pulp Fiction. December 2011, Sephira were featured in San Francisco shows in Marine's Memorial Theater, San Francisco as part of Michael Londra's "Celtic Yuletide" show. Throughout 2011 Sephira completed a tour of the West Coast of America and also toured with Tourism Ireland as musical ambassadors of Ireland. Sephira have been working with producer Dave Williams – Deviations Project since 2008 working on and recording new material. Sephira released their first Christmas album, Starlight, in November 2011 produced by Dave Williams and Ruth & Joyce O'Leary.
Sephira & Couture Designer Jacqueline Quinn
In 2011 Sephira started working with their couture designer, Jacqueline Quinn. Jacqueline has designed many stunning couture gowns for Sephira's global performances including their Donald Trump performance in Palm Beach, Prince Albert of Monaco performances in Ireland and Monaco plus the pre-premiere of Skyfall performance in New York City.
2012 – Present
Sephira have taken the corporate world by storm performing private events for luminaries including Donald Trump, Prince Albert of Monaco, the late Larry Hagman, Priscilla Presley, Linda Gray and the women of Congress in Washington, D.C.
In April 2012, Sephira released their EP "Eternity" dedicated to their late friend and mentor, Larry Hagman. It features unique material showcasing their new sound and brand new show. It also includes their stunning original track called miracle dedicated to all fallen soldiers and their families.
Plans are underway for a new album and DVD set for release in 2014–2015.
Believe (2006) was the band's debut album. It features eleven original compositions and a version of 'If' by David Gates. The album was recorded in The Cauldron Studios, Dublin, and was produced by producer and instrumentalist Bill Shanley. Other musicians featured on the album include Ruby Ashley, William Butt, Noel Eccles, Karen Hamill and former band member Colm Henry. "Sephira" (2008) released for the US market – a mix of "Believe" favourites and 2008 EP "Love of my Life". "Starlight" (2011) was Sephira's first holiday album featuring all the holiday favourites including "O Holy Night" and a unique version of "Silent Night" with one verse in Gaelic. "Eternity" (2012) dedicated to their late friend and mentor, Larry Hagman, features exciting new material showcasing this passionate, young and fiery sibling duo. Tracks include the dramatic Danse Macabre composed by Saint Saens, Palladio by Karl Jenkins and the well known hit To Love You More.
- Sephira Official Site
- Sephira on Reverbnation
- Sephira perform for the Women of Congress – The Washingtonian
- Sephira perform at Diner en Blanc 2013
- Sephira Interview with Irish America Magazine
- IMRO article about Sephira's Eternity EP release
- Sephira interview with Celtic Life Magazine
- Sephira TV Interview on King5 TV, Seattle