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Pair of folk singers about to reach a year of lockdown songs

Dolly and Mike O'Rourke with some of their instruments. Monday 22nd March, 2021. Mhairi Edwards/DCT Media
Dolly and Mike O'Rourke with some of their instruments. Monday 22nd March, 2021. Mhairi Edwards/DCT Media

A pair of Newport singers are nearing their 365th song, after performing a tune every day during lockdown.

Dolly and Mike O’Rourke, who have been married for over 40 years, began learning songs together on March 24 last year, originally starting out with folk tunes before moving into other genres.

The couple post their song covers to Facebook, where hundreds of strangers now tune in to listen to them sing and play their instruments on the Meh Dundee page.

Dolly, a retired head teacher, said: “I cannot believe that it’s almost a year since we started our song a day lockdown challenge on Facebook.

“Our 365th song will be posted this Wednesday.

“The challenge was originally just for fun as we are not pros.

“Basically, we wanted to dig out some old songs, learn some new ones, mix up the genres and play all our instruments.

Dolly and Mike O’Rourke with some of their instruments. Monday 22nd March, 2021. Mhairi Edwards/DCT Media

“We have been quite astounded at the number of hits we have had – at the last count it was sitting at over 300,000.”

The pair of pensioners have played a variety of different instruments throughout their musical journey, including five different guitars, a mandolin, a banjo, a ukulele, an autoharp, a dulcimer, a B flat whistle and an octave mandola.

They have also been joined by their two children when lockdown restrictions have allowed, forming what they have dubbed the ‘Bubble Band.’

The musical duo have also used their newfound fame to raise money for a local cause by selling CDs to their fans.

The effort raked in over £1,000 for Maggie’s Centre at Ninewells Hospital, with copies of their songs being shipped as far abroad as Canada, Australia and Pakistan.

A further £150 each went to Dundee Thegither food bank and Newport’s Rio Community Centre, as well as £100 for Cancer Research.

The amount of support online has blown the two away, with 65-year-old Dolly saying: “The response and feedback we have received has been amazing and we are delighted and humbled in equal measure that so many folk seem to like this auld retired couple singing and playing.”

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