Zenita’s coming home

Singer Zenita O’Neill pictured with her Australian based Irish trad band Zeon. The Strabane native is looking forward to bringing her band to play at the Harp and Fiddle in July.

An Irish trad band formed in Australia and featuring a Strabane singer is looking forward to its first ever Irish tour.

Zenita O’Neill, a former player with Sigersons GAC, formed Zeon five years ago after placing an advertisement on Gumtree looking for talented musicians to take to the stage with her.


Since then the band has attained a massive following particularly in Melbourne where it’s based. Zeon has already appeared at the Port Fairy Folk Festival, Brunswick Music Festival, the National Celtic Festival, and Hyde Park in Sydney as well as supporting Nathan Carter on his Australian tour.

With the band’s Irish tour featuring performances in Tyrone, Derry, Down and Mayo, Zenita says it is the Strabane gig she is most excited about.

“Strabane is where I started playing music so it means a lot for me to bring Zeon to my home town”,  she explained.

“I am really excited about our Strabane gig, mostly because we will be able to play in front of family and friends and get back to where my music began.”

Zeon is a four piece band consisting of Zenita (29) on vocals, bodhrán and guitar; Tommy O’Neill (30) on fiddle; James McKenzie (34) on guitar, vocals, mandolin and banjo; and Tyler Campbell (24) on drums.

Their genre is mainly Irish traditional but with a modern twist, and includes hints of folk, bluegrass and country.

Zeon’s growing success has led to the release of the band’s popular EPs ‘Time Flies’ and ‘Drifter’ which is a song about travelling.

Following the Nathan Carter tour, which took place down under in March this year, Zenita said it was from this that Zeon’s Irish tour evolved.

“We were delighted to be asked to join Nathan Carter on his Australian tour,” said Zenita. “It was a massive achievement for us.

“We received overwhelming support and response from that gig and it got us thinking about a possible tour at home.”

With a new single ‘Coming Home’, just released on EP, Zenita says this song will be a perfect contribution to their Irish tour.

“‘Coming Home’ is very special to all of us,” said Zenita. “This is a song about returning home to your homeland and for Zeon to be able to perform it on my home soil will mean a lot to all of us.

“We just can’t wait,” she added.

Hoping to gather more momentum here in Ireland Zeon’s commitment to their performance and their ability to bring old music back to life provide a truly wonderful and exhilarating performance – one that’s worth waiting on.

• Zeon will perform at the Harp and Fiddle Strabane, on July 22 at 9pm.


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