Born and raised in Scotland and a bus builder by trade, George Donaldson is the Scot in Celtic Thunder. He is a self-taught and accomplished musician, who has mastered guitar and flute and is currently being taught to play the fiddle by his daughter Sarah. George’s love of Celtic music stems from his childhood in Glasgow, where his main influence was his late father Bernard, who had a love and appreciation of all kinds of live music. For George, joining Celtic Thunder was a true case of following his heart. Much as he loves the physicality of what used to be his day job, music has always been special for him. “The first time I saw a guy playing in a bar, I was on Spain in holiday; one guy, one guitar. I said as a kid, ‘that’s what I want to do.’ There was always a guitar at home when I was growing up and I remember getting an instruction out of the library because I didn’t have enough money to buy it and I taught myself to play from that.”
One of George’s greatest thrills was performing for his Dad and 65,000 other fans at the Glasgow Celtics opening match of the 2000 season at Celtic Park in Glasgow. Now at 42 years of age, George is a well-established singer in the vibrant Glasgow and West of Scotland Folk scene. He released his first solo CD entitled The White Rose and was also nominated for an Irish Music award in 2011. His musical influences are Harry Chapin and Jim Croce, and the Scottish group The Proclaimers. George has recorded folk sessions for BBC Scotland and has made appearances at Glasgow’s own Celtic Connections and the Glasgow West End Festival.
George joined Celtic Thunder in 2007 after auditioning for the show’s producer Sharon Browne and has been on tour with Celtic Thunder ever since. George has appeared in all nine Celtic Thunder Public Television specials and on all of the show’s CDs and DVDs released to date. He has toured extensively through the US, Canada and Australia with Celtic Thunder and as a soloist in Europe. George admits to a very special fondness for Germany, whose language he continues to attempt to master. He has also performed (alongside the other soloists in Celtic Thunder) at the St Patrick’s Day Parades in New York, Boston and Chicago and at the White House for President Obama.
George was cast in Celtic Thunder is the “steadfast” one, and he carries the distinction of being the sole Scotsman in the show, as well as the only married family man of the group. Although George misses his wife and daughter when he is on tour, he enjoys the easy camaraderie on and off stage with the other members of Celtic Thunder. He sees the new direction his life has taken with Celtic Thunder as being the most exciting of his musical career to date and feels he has best of both worlds, a rich and supportive family life at home and a fun and challenging job that allows him to travel. In Mythology George returns to his Celtic roots and performs the traditional song She Moved Thru the Fair and the original anthem My Land with his fellow Celtic Thunder soloists. George also performs solos numbers such as the Ralph McTell classic The Grande Affaire and the love song Scarlet Ribbons in Celtic Thunder’s new show MYTHOLOGY.