Jamie O’Reilly, singer

Updated June 5, 2022
Good news! Update on the Roots in Ireland Project Redux.

Jamie’s Roots in Ireland odyssey continues! We’re seeing-in Bloomsday Ulysses Centenary Celebration stateside with JR Sullivan’s BLOOMSDAY CHICAGO, a dramatical, comical, musical riff on Ulysses, featuring songs with John Erickson and me, Jamie O’Reilly. This two-night event pairs our music with producer/writer/director J.R. Sullivan at Chief O’Neill’s Pub, Wed June 15 and Thurs June 16, and a formidable cast of actors, as we present a new program in the vibrant setting a real Irish Pub! Tickets are via EventBrite. https://www.eventbrite.com/o/jr-sullivans-bloomsday-chicago-18117979245

The Roots in Ireland is a project tracing the roots of my cultural legacy, and Irish heritage. Part I, In Old Chicago explores the roots of my vocal style and my family’s Chicago Salon tradition. We visit the world of my Irish American relations: feisty activists, artists and writers, and the Irish literary revival in the early 20th century, and the period of James Joyce. This program debuted to a standing ovation in fall of 2021.

Watch the Roots in Ireland video here: https://www.jamieoreilly.com/videos/jamie-oreilly-roots-in-ireland-a-video-a-musical-journey/

Contribute to the Roots in Ireland project here via Paypal. https://www.paypal.com/donate/?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=UBBN4EZPF9MB6

UPDATED MARCH 2022 – The June trip is postponed but the project continues! Please follow my blog with local concert listings and work I do from Chicago on the Roots in Ireland project! We’ve only just begun.

A letter from Jamie
updated March 9, 2022

“When the root is deep there is no reason to fear the wind.”

Dear Friend of the Arts

In summer of 2022, I hoped take the adventure of a lifetime, returning to Ireland after 40 years.
Due to an unforeseen health situation with a member of my family, I want to stay close to home this summer.

In the year since I came up with this idea, I have been thrilled with the response to the project and my concerts.

What feeds the creative spirit is not limited to the here and now. Our roots are infused with those who came before us.
The search is ongoing. The possibilities, endless.

Though I will not travel this June, the Roots project continues. There is much yet to see and do and learn, much of which can be accomplished with my own study, internet resources, singing concerts, and storygathering. Yes, the Roots project will continue with learning and doing as its objective. Travel will just be another stage.

I am proud of what we did! I created an extensive marketing and fundraising effort for the Roots in Ireland project, collaborating with women-owned businesses and skilled artisans. All the concerts have sold-out. I hired musicians, recording engineers, graphic and video designers. I was the recipient of an Artist Rescue Grant. I even hosted a raffle. All in all, a good year!. (Below is a bullet list of some of that work we did.)

For those of you who bought tickets to the concerts, or contributed to the project, thank you. I hope to host an event here around the Joyce Centenary in June. To Judi Heikes, I am especially grateful for all your support and love.

Will be in touch as we go.

Meantime here are some dates to set aside:
Thursday, March 24 at 7 PM
Chief O’Neill’s Pub
SongBirds Series: Tough Broads & Tender Lasses: Songs of Resilience
featuring Irish songs, too
3471 N Elston Ave.
Chicago, IL 60618
Reservations strongly suggested. Tickets only via the event page.

Thursday, May 19
Venue tbs
Anne Hills & Jamie O’Reilly
SongBirds Series: Songs of Resilience and Spring
Watch the blog for updates

Friday, July 15 at 7 PM
Jamie O’Reilly’s SongBirds Series
Tough Broads & Tender Lasses: Songs of Resilience
St. Giles Church Courtyard
1045 Columbian Ave,
Oak Park, Il 60302
No presold tickets, stay tuned for updates.

Sunday, July 17 at 7 PM
Midsummer Celebration
Jamie O’Reilly’s SongBirds Series
Tough Broads & Tender Lasses: Songs of Resilience
Tre Kronor Swedish Bistro Garden
3258 W Foster Ave, Chicago, IL 60625.
Watch blog for updates


Watch the Roots in Ireland video here: https://www.jamieoreilly.com/videos/jamie-oreilly-roots-in-ireland-a-video-a-musical-journey/

Listen to Jamie sing, with John on piano.

Jamie O’Reilly, Love’s Sweet Song, accompanied by John Erickson, piano


“BRAVA!  What a beautiful performance! Thank you so very, very much. Please let me know what I can do to make this dream happen. Know that you were your traditional brilliant self and your audience adored you.”

Belinda Bremner, Writer, Actor, Producer

What is the Roots in Ireland 2022 Project?

Stage 1. A year-long exploration of my vocal heritage, and the roots of our family’s Chicago Salon tradition, exploring the world of our Irish American relations: feisty activists, artists and writers, and the Irish literary revival in the early 20th century. The first stage of the project was to culminate in a journey to Ireland. The trip is postponed.

Stage 2.
While still in Chicago, I and others will solicit and select artifacts and art pieces for The Roots Cultural Exhibition and develop a series of programs over the next several years. In addition to my own work, we will focus the exhibit on work of local artisans: textiles, handwork, and photography whose work is informed by their creative roots. As a producer and curator of many programs in the past, I have a seasoned group of creatives from whom I am already requesting work and proposals.

Why is Jamie doing this?
Climbing out of the pandemic, after a year of personal losses, and earning minimal business income, I kicked-off an ambitious cultural arts, community project with the sold-out “Roots in the Garden,” an outdoor music series, presented in distinctive Chicago area venues, thus reviving the Salon tradition of her artistic foremothers, which fostered for over 25 years –- until the pandemic!

The idea is to present In Old Chicago Salon, a stirring program about the artistic pursuits and activism of my Irish American relatives in Chicago during the Irish/Celtic Revival, the turn of century through WWI era. This is the vital creative period when James Joyce and fellow Irish writers in Dublin and Paris thrived on the world stage, and Chicago’s reputation as a formidable international city was on the rise. (Joyce’s benefactor Harriet Monroe, founder of Poetry Magazine, was a Chicagoan for a time!)

Nell (Eileen Dhu)

This is a program tracing, and demonstrating, my musical influences, and the roots of my vocal style on the Irish side. But it is so much more! In Old Chicago reimagines the Salons the O’Reilly family hosted in the early 1900s, with excerpts from the published works and letters of my great Aunt Mame and Nell, great Uncle Tex, and Aunt Dorothy, my father’s sister, read by me and others.

“Dottie” gave me her Irish music collection, and copies of talks she’d given on the songs, when I was at DePaul School of Music in Chicago. She attended my professional vocal debut, the John McCormick Centenary in 1984, which featured songs from these collections. She bequeathed me her piano when she died in 1987,

In my over forty year career as a singer and writer, I have created programs with themes as varied as the Irish famine and genocide, Irish American vaudeville, the Columbian Expostion of 1893, the Pullman strike, Irish myths, and goddesses, the Irish immigrant experience in America, and a show about the songs of my Irish Catholic Childhood.

My programs have been part of major historical cultural programming in Chicago in venues such as the Chicago Cultural Center, the Chicago History Museum, and the Irish American Heritage Center, The Newberry Library, Orchestra Hall, The Harold Washington Library. And multiple theaters, clubs, libraries and festivals.

My songs are featured on the world renowned WFMT Fine Arts radio station, WGN and others. (See the list of songs on program page here: https://www.jamieoreilly.com/in-old-chicago-program/) 

With this dream project, I am celebrating my musical and literary heritage and inviting others to do the same. YOUR SUPPORT is needed and appreciated!

Contribute here via Paypal. https://www.paypal.com/donate/?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=UBBN4EZPF9MB6
There is a form as well. (see below)

With appreciation,

Jamie O’Reilly

Email: roots@jamieoreilly.com;
Cell 773-203-7661 


Jamie O’Reilly
Email: roots@jamieoreilly.com
Zelle: jamie.joanjor@gmail.com 
Contribute by check, Zelle or via Paypal (see link below)

The exciting Roots in Ireland 2022 Project is launched! This ambitious yearlong effort involves:

  • Research, reading, writing including webpages and weekly blogs
  • Recording and reviewing the musical catalog
  • Commissioning and recording a new song, Sanctuary City
  • Conceiving, producing and directinga sold-out concert of In Old Chicago: A Preview of Jamie’s Dublin Salon (Nov ‘21) 
  • Hiring a videographer
  • Creating a short film – completed Oct 2021
  • Designing and implementing a marketing and fundraising campaign
  • Implemented the fundraising. (Received an Artist Rescue grant)
  • Organizing a raffle, promoting the work of women artisans
  • Successful Facebook birthday fundraising and small business fundraiser through PayPal
  • Extensive social media outreach
  • Doing radio interviews
  • Hosting sold-out Roots in the Garden Salon Events (see image below) AND MOE
  • Developing business partnerships with women-owned businesses
  • Working with female artisans to create new work
  • Creating and assembling donor premiums
  • Producing virtual and in person public fundraising events
  • Co-hosting family history events
  • Seeking performance opportunities in Ireland
  • Developing a travel itinerary
  • Developing programming in Ireland
  • Documenting the project
  • Planning a public exhibition for 2022

Print the form.

The donor and sponsor form. Find it here at Paypal.

Read the In Old Chicago program here:

Poster for In Old Chicago

Listen on Jamie’s recordings pages, via audio player, and/or on Jamie’s Blog jamieoreilly.com

Love’s Sweet Song, I Know Where I’m Goin, In the Garrett, Annie Laurie, Sanctuary City,
The Holy City, She Would Sing the Kerry Dances with Jamie O’Reilly & The Rogues
The Foggy Dew. Red is the Rose, Blue River, Vinegar Man