Almost a year to the day his debut album was released, Father Ray Kelly releases a wonderful collection of Christmas songs on December 4th, entitled ‘An Irish Christmas Blessing’.
The album is a compilation of his favourite Christmas songs, including ‘Silent Night’, ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’, and ‘Little Drummer Boy’. When asked to consider a Christmas Album Father Ray jumped at the chance as Christmas is one of his favourite times of year
‘When it was suggested that I record a Christmas Album, my inner-child smiled with joy and shouted YES, YES, YES. My heart jingled as a flood of Christmas songs came to mind. I wanted to record them all….. There can never be anything as magical as Christmas. A time full of memories, that hold a sense of nostalgia for good times long gone, and for loved ones no longer with us....’
The album was recorded during the summer, and was produced by Nigel Wright, Andrew Lloyd Webber's long time music producer. Father Ray spent July and August recording his favourite Christmas songs at Nigel's studio, all the while flying back and forth to Oldcastle to fulfil his parochial duties.
Since the video of him singing ‘Hallelujah’ at a wedding went viral in April 2014, the past 20 months have been somewhat of a blur for Father Ray. He has travelled the world promoting his debut album ‘Where I Belong’ and telling people his story of being a 27 year old civil servant who decided to become a priest.
Born in Tyrrellspass, Co Meath in April 1953, Ray moved to Dublin and worked in the Civil Service. In 1982 he was called to the Priesthood and was ordained as a priest in 1989. He joined the St Patrick’s Missionary Society (Kiltegan Fathers) and worked as a Missionary in pre-Apartheid South Africa from 1991-1992 and did Mission Appeal work in the US. He returned to Ireland and was appointed as Parish Priest in Oldcastle in 2006. As one of his great loves was singing, he built a home studio in one of the rooms of his parish house to indulge his passion for his hobby. He was often asked to sing at local events, but never thought it would lead to anything, until he sang at the wedding of Chris and Leah O’Kane on April 5th 2014. That famous video has now reached over 46 million views to date.
Father Ray also revealed that he will be donating a percentage of the profits of the sales of this album and his live concerts to the Kiltegan Fathers St Patrick's Missionary Society, where he started his journey as a Catholic priest. Ray travelled all over the World to work for the society and he wanted to use his musical journey to benefit the society that he loves.
Father Tomas O'Connor, the society's District Leader for Ireland said to Father Ray "Thanks so much for this beautiful gesture of communion and solidarity in sharing the fruits of your success with us. The society is deeply grateful to you for your generosity"An Irish Christmas Blessing Little Drummer Boy O Holy Night Silent Night
Track List:1. An Irish Christmas Blessing