Death of well-known music producer and composer

The late Columb Farrelly THE LATE Columb Farrelly passed away in Tralee on October 25 last following a short illness. A native of Dublin, in later life he came to move to Kerry residing near Listowel for a couple of years before moving to Fenit.

Columb Farrelly was an Irish music producer and composer who first came to prominence during the mid-1980s in the music industry through his musical partnership with singer Sinéad O'Connor.

It all started in the summer of 1984, when Farrelly met up with O'Connor through an ad she had placed in Hot Press magazine. The two of them recruited a few other band members and created around her the seminal act Ton Ton Macoute. Less than a year later however, in February 1985, O'Connor's mother died. This led to her leaving Farrelly and the rest of Ton Ton Macoute. The band gigged on in various lineups until, after her departure, they eventually folded.

Farrelly then went on to take different composer roles, scoring for numerous TV documentaries, dramas, (including RTÉ's soap theme 'Fair City'), and short films. Farrelly would later meet up with Jimmy Corr (later of The Corrs) where he took the role of a band leader in a TV drama 'The Black Knight' with Corr as his keyboard player. The band dissolved in the early 1990s.

With the encouragement of U2 manager Paul McGuinness Farrelly set up the production company Underscore in 1993, taking over the ailing Ashtown Gate Studios. Within a year of taking over he produced the trio called The Pale. The Pale's first release on Underscore, 'Why Go Bald', attracted overseas interest and launched a battle amongst record companies to sign them. Farrelly was later awarded the Smithwicks/Hotpress Producer Of the Year Award for the album 'Here's One We Made Earlier'.

Columb then set up Underscore Multimedia in 1995 to supply the audio content for a number of Microsoft products. After several years, Microsoft eventually pulled out of the audio business in Ireland. Farrelly left the production company and then retired to Kerry to compose and record.

While there scoring for filmmakers, he began writing a trio of shorts emerging from the period 2000 to 2004: Of Noble Blood, Vicious Circle and What If ? Farrelly went into development under the auspices of The Irish Film Board with his feature screenplay Skinflick. During this period, Farrelly's musical collaborations with producer-director Brendan Culleton produced scores for documentaries including the Irish language An Bothar Fada.

In 2003, he began making occasional appearances on stage with others under the name The Fortyfoot Gentlemen.

May he rest in peace.

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