Big George Donaldson 1968-2014

Sorely missed by Jinty’s is resident musician and dear friend Big George Donaldson. He was also a member of the band Celtic Thunder who toured all around the world, but he still managed to find the time to do a set for us! Read more about George below...

For over 25 years George Donaldson was a commanding and hard-working musician in the burgeoning folk scene around Scotland & in particular Glasgow. Picking up the guitar for the first time in his early teens, the self-taught musician was persuaded by a good friend to take the stage at a local parish hall for his first taste of performing live. Inspired by this opportunity George set his sights on becoming a regular performer in the growing number of Irish themed bars that started to appear throughout the country in the mid to late 1990s. Committed and driven by his love of singing George travelled around Scotland perfecting his skills & learning about new artists and styles along the way.

As a singer and guitar player, you knew you would be guaranteed a great night’s entertainment with George on the mic. However, it wasn’t all about the music – George built a strong rapport with regulars in the bar which blossomed in to lasting friendships that made him feel very much at home wherever he played. At the height of the growth in the 90s folk scene in Glasgow, George took up a regular slot at Jinty's and built a lifelong bond with the staff, regulars & visitors to the bar. That mutual appreciation helped bring a night of song, stories and laughs to life.  

George wasn’t restricted to smaller venues in the city, over the years he had the pleasure of performing at the famous Glasgow Barrowlands, on the pitch at Celtic Park & supported Irish musician Jim McCann at the Glasgow City Halls. These opportunities showed how far he had come since first picking up the guitar and hungry to experience more.

Looking to take the next steps in his musical career George successfully auditioned for a role working with singer /songwriter Phil Coulter on a new production – Celtic Thunder. In a shift from the norm, George would be centre stage travelling north America & Australia performing as part of the Celtic Thunder cast. This opportunity allowed his talents to be enjoyed by a far wider and always appreciative audience. From performing to friends and visitors in the bars in and around Glasgow, George was now performing in New York at the Music City Hall & sporting events in the US. George and fellow members of Celtic Thunder also opened the legendary St Patrick's day parade in New York before heading to meet President Obama in the Whitehouse as part of the St Patrick’s Day celebrations in the USA.

In the years that followed, George never lost the hunger to improve his performance, learning new instruments to compliment his musical strengths. As well as the stage shows, CDs & DVDs with Celtic Thunder, George also released 3 of his own albums, penning many of the tracks across the songbooks.

Always enjoying the opportunity to perform & travelling across the world, George loved nothing more that returning home to his family, friends and venues where he built so many great memories and relationships. In his own words “He missed the pubs and people that make my city shine”, proud to be a son of Glasgow.

Sadly, George suffered a heart attack in early 2014 and we lost a husband, father, brother and friend. We will always have his music and achievements to look back on and be pleased that he was able to make so many people happy with his music & friendship over the years.

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