North America

Ryan's Fancy

…a bit of history


Ryan's Fancy has been one of my favorite groups, since I first purchased some of their recordings in the early 80's. Unfortunately, the group disbanded soon after in 1983.

Ryan's Fancy was formed in 1971, in Canada by Dubliners' Dermot O'Reilly and Fergus O'Bryne and Denis Ryan from Newport, Co.Tipperary. Dermot, Fergus and Denis had all been members (at one time or another) of Sons of Erin and Sullivan's Gypsies prior to forming Ryan's Fancy.

According to Ryans, "After relocating from Toronto to St. John's to attend university the group became popular on the local music scene and regular performers at the Strand Lounge."

A chance meeting with producer Jack Kellum, "was the beginning of a wonderful professional and personal relationship with Denis, Dermot, and Fergus, that has spanned nearly three decades, at least three television series, many Network Television Specials, and still exists to this day." Among their TV series was " Tommy Makem and Ryan's Fancy" (July to September 1974).

Ryan's Fancy released 13 albums during their career, plus a CD in 2001 of songs from their aforementioned TV shows. In addition to records with Sons of Erin, and Sullivan's Gypsies, as well as numerous solo and non-group releases after the group disbanded.

In the opinion of Jack Kellum,, "Ryan's Fancy's arrival in Newfoundland was a pivotal event in the emergence of modern Newfoundland culture. The momentum generated by their arrival has not stopped: The Irish Descendants, The Punters, The Fables, Great Big Sea, and others, all credit Ryan's Fancy with lighting the spark."

In 2004, Ryan's Fancy was Named Recipient of ECMA's (East Coast Music Association) Lifetime Achievement Award.

Sadly, Dermot O'Reilly passed away at the age of 64 on February 17, 2007, of a reported heart attack.

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