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Maura O'Connell embodies many paradoxes: lead singer for De Danann, she was not a traditional Celtic singer; resident of Nashville, she is not American; collaborator with New Grass Revival, she is not a bluegrass performer. Nevertheless, O'Connell has made a name for herself on two continents as a superb singer. O'Connell was born and raised in County Clare, Ireland, where she began singing at an early age. Involvement in the folk club scene led to an invitation from Celtic traditionalists De Danann to join their ranks. Her involvement with De Danann resulted in the recording of Star-Spangled Mollie, a clear indication of interest in transatlantic culture. O'Connell then began to collaborate with members of New Grass Revival, and in particular with Béla Fleck, who produced several of her tracks. Together with Fleck and others, she recorded Just in Time and made the decision to settle in Nashville, Tennessee. Since then, she has released Helpless Heart, Blue Is the Colour of Hope, and Real Life Story, each album registering a move toward a pop synthesis. Stories followed in 1995, with Wandering Home appearing two years later. As the new millennium unfolded, O'Connell signed with Sugar Hill in late 2000 and began working on her seventh album. Instead of working with her longtime producer Jerry Douglas, O'Connell had Ray Kennedy (Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams) produce Walls & Windows, which was released in 2001. Don't I Know was issued in 2004 and the a cappella album Naked with Friends followed in 2009. ~ Leon Jackson