Brendan O'Donovan

Another O’Donovan for the Yukon Music Scene

It’s Brendan O’Donovan’s turn.

He takes the Whitewater Wednesday Jam Night stage and plays a variety of genres, from Ween to Tom Waits, then invites his friend Steve McGovern to join him in a cover of The Flightof the Conchords’ Business Time, a true crowd-pleaser.

O’Donovan, at 19, has just begun his musical career, playing jams at Flipper’s Pub and comedy nights at Coasters. His musical roots, however, go deep.

“I’m the youngest of 11 kids,” O’Donovan explains over a beer. “I’ve got five brothers and five sisters … we’re a large Irish-Catholic family.”

The O’Donovan family is well-known in the Yukon music scene. O’Donovan’s brother Ryan was in Knob and he and Declan are in Scotch. His sisters Shawn and Shannon are also singers and guitar players.

“My brothers being in Scotch and releasing their CD, that inspired me,” he says. “They told me that I had the blood in me.

“I started out as a breakdancer in high school. I did it for four years until I found out that I had developed tendinitis in my shoulders. So I used my knowledge of music and rhythm and applied it to the guitar. That was about three or four years ago.

“I’ve only written two full songs so far and both of them are about girls,” he confesses, as I get him another beer. “I wrote A Fool of Me this fall. I recently joined the Air Force and they sent me to Edmonton. I met a girl at the recruiting office and so that song was half-inspired by her and half by an ex-girlfriend.”

O’Donovan is equally excited about his future career in the military: “The Air Force just granted me air crew status. It’s given me all the aspects of my life I could want. I’ve got a chance to fly. They’ll pay for me to get a Bachelor of Arts in psychology, which is another keen interest of mine. I get to travel, go to other cultures and meet lots of people.

“Most importantly, I’ll get to pursue music, playing in the Air Force band.”

Despite his high-flying ambitions, O’Donovan is grounded in his home and family. He explains, “I grew up with a massive family of 13 people.

“We had a piano and all the guitars in the world. I grew up with Ryan and Declan, two very musical guys. Just down the street from us is where Bruce and Deb Bergman live. Bruce was my guitar teacher. And a lot of my fondest memories were of Christmases. All my family would come home and Bruce and Deb would come over and everyone would play anything that came to mind.

“We’d have big musical jam sessions in the family room. I think that’s where there real motivation for music comes from.”

Five things you should know about Brendan O’Donovan:

  1. He’s in the process of becoming a pilot in the Air Force, learning to fly a Cessna 172.
  2. Being the youngest of 13 people in the family, he’s become a semi-professional gourmet chef. “After 10 kids, Mom got tired of cooking for everyone.”
  3. He has his scuba diving license.
  4. He’s a great dancer, especially swing and jive.
  5. Having been raised by all of his older siblings, he has various aspects of them all in his personality.

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