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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. Its style is classical crossover with traditional Irish influences.
The O'Leary sisters are from Carrickmacross, County Monaghan, Ireland. They started studying violin early: Joyce at two and a half and Ruth at six. 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 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 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 RTÉ Two 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[when?], Sephira appeared as special guests for Clannad on their UK Revival Tour performing in venues throughout the UK, including The Sage in Gateshead, The London Palladium and The Brighton Dome. In May 2008, Sephira performed at a private function for the actor Larry Hagman, and later at Hagman's house in Hollywood. They have also appeared on TV with 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. In Fall 2010, Sephira went to the US to start touring their own show. In March 2011, Sephira were featured on a PBS show, "Beyond Celtic" where the violin dueling sisters performed "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 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
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 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 Christmas 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 Saint-Saens Danse Macabre, Palladio by Karl Jenkins and To Love You More.
- "Bill Shanley biography at Mary-black.net". Archived from the original on 26 June 2008. Retrieved 1 July 2008.
- 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