Jane Cassidy is a singer, broadcaster, writer and producer who has toured extensively in Europe bringing her own blend of traditional Ulster music and self-penned songs to folk audiences. Two highlights were playing support to Joe Cocker before 8,000 people at the Fête du Peuple Breton in Brittany and touring 28 cities across Great Britain with the Geordie band Lindisfarne
Jane has released 4 albums, 2 on the Claddagh Record label, ‘Waves of Time
’ and ‘The Empty Road
’ as well as ‘Silverbridge
‘ and 3 collections of children’s songs, 2 of which feature songs composed by Jane for the UTV series ‘Swings & Roundabouts
’. Together with husband Maurice Leyden, Jane released a CD of songs and readings from their show ‘Mary Ann McCracken
Jane has made numerous appearances on TV, most notably on the seminal series ‘As I Roved Out
’ (BBC) with her brother Frank Cassidy and ‘From Glen to Glen
’ (UTV), which are now finding a new audience as the TV archives are brought once more to our screens. She presented a weekly folk music programme ‘Folkal Point’ for 4 years on Downtown Radio and wrote and presented musical series for BBC Radio Ulster including ‘Musical Mysteries
’,’ Reel to Reel
’,’ Ladies’ Choice
’ and ‘In my own write
Jane has collaborated with other musicians to write, perform and record including Andy Irvine, Dan Ar Braz, Colum Sands, Antonio Breschi, Rod McVey, Nollaig Casey, Artie McGlynn, Neil Martin, Padrig Sicard, Johnny Cunningham, Joe McHugh, Mudd Wallace, Lawrence Thompson, The Phoenix Duo and the Belfast Wind Quintet.
She has composed music and songs for stage and screen, receiving a Peacock Theatre Award for her score for ‘Broken Nails’, a community production written by Damian Gorman.
Together with her husband Maurice Leyden she has written and performed numerous shows combining traditional folk-songs, history and literature, many of which have been broadcast on BBC Radio Ulster.
- Mary Ann McCracken 1770-1866
- Belfast Town
- Love is Pleasin’, Love is Teasin’
- Patrick and the Kingdom of Down
- In Praise of Ulster
- 1913 Lockout
- Songs of the Lagan
- Songs of the Belfast Hills
- The Man From God Knows Where
- Richard Hayward ‘Romancing Ireland’
She has written extensively for BBC Radio 4 Drama
, with 6 of her original plays having been broadcast as well as a dramatisation of Maeve Binchy’s novel ‘Firefly Summer
’ starring David Soul.
- The Dark Lady of Doona
- Shout a Secret to the Stone
- The Man from God Knows Where
- Blood of the Ring Finger
- The Dimming of the Day
After many years as a freelancer working in the independent sector, Jane joined the staff of the BBC in 1995 first as a radio producer then branching out into television and online production, producing educational content for learners of all ages. She led the BBCNI Learning
team as editor from 2004 – 8 and her final role saw her leading the Learning and Languages Department for BBC NI. Highlights of her career at the BBC included production of the schools radio series ‘Today & Yesterday’, the first learning website for BBC NI ‘Sustainable Development’, UK wide website ‘Spellits’, executive producer of Cbeebies ‘Sesame Tree’ TV series, the launch of the first tri-lingual website for schools ‘St Patrick’ and the BBC NI Ulster-Scots web portal.
Since leaving the BBC in 2011, Jane has worked both full-time and part-time with the Arts Council of Northern Ireland
as Arts Officer for Traditional Music and an Artistic Assessor.
She also worked part-time with Barry Douglas’ music charity Camerata Ireland