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Eire Guitar Mullingar musician tunes up for gigs of a lifetime with rock Gods Whitesnake

It will give Tanya O'Callaghan a place in rock 'n' roll history as Whitesnake's first ever female bass guitarist, and their last band member to play live in that position

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Tanya will be on stage with Whitesnake

Tanya will be on stage with Whitesnake

Tanya will be on stage with Whitesnake

She's a top Irish musician you've probably never heard of, but Tanya O'Callaghan has just landed one of the biggest rock gigs in the world.

The supertalented 35-year-old bass guitarist from Mullingar, Co Westmeath has been snapped up by legendary rock band Whitesnake for their farewell world tour.

Fronted by iconic rock god David Coverdale and famous for hits such as Here I Go Again, Is This Love and Fool For Your Loving, Whitesnake will kick off their global swansong at Dublin's 3Arena next May.

It will give Tanya O'Callaghan a place in rock 'n' roll history as Whitesnake's first ever female bass guitarist, and their last band member to play live in that position.

In an exclusive interview with the Sunday World from Joshua Tree, California, where she's currently based, Tanya said yesterday: "Our opening night is in Dublin, and that is so exciting and terrifying to me because it's a total baptism by fire to have to play at home the first night with Whitesnake.

"David said to me, 'I guess you'll need the whole guest list?' I said, 'probably!'"

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Tanya went to California to further her career and wound up playing with music icons

Tanya went to California to further her career and wound up playing with music icons

Tanya went to California to further her career and wound up playing with music icons

Her road to Whitesnake has included a stint playing in a Westmeath wedding band in the early days, so how did O'Callaghan make it into the superstar league of the music industry?

Despite being a straight A student at school in Mullingar, Tanya, who now sports distinctive dreadlocks, says she dropped out of college for the precarious world of music.

"I had such a passion for it," she tells me. "My very first band in Mullingar was a metal band called Severd, with my cousin, and it was super heavy. I was in a bunch of bands, including a wedding band called The Smooth Brothers & Sister. I started to do the wedding and corporate band thing to make a living."

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Tanya will be on stage with Whitesnake

Tanya will be on stage with Whitesnake

Tanya will be on stage with Whitesnake

As a virtuoso guitarist, Tanya was soon making an impact within the Irish music scene, and landed work as a session musician, or "hired gun" as it's known in the business.

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"I ended up getting hired into some RTE stuff for the Late Late Show house band. I did some work for Brian McFadden, performed with him in The Helix and we ended up doing the Childline concert. I worked on The Voice with Bressie, my neighbour from Mullingar. I went to Dubai with Sharon Corr. That's what started my hired gun work."

She was employed by the producers of Riverdance for their Heartbeat of Home show. "I toured the world with them."

Tanya then decided to try her luck in America. "When I came over to Los Angeles I didn't know one single person," she says.

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Whitesnake’s David Coverdale

Whitesnake’s David Coverdale

Whitesnake’s David Coverdale

"I went to a music convention and networked. I did jam nights in LA, which consists of people who are hired guns for some of the biggest bands in the world. Suddenly you are in this pool of people that have played with the likes of Prince or Alice Cooper.

"So I started to pivot myself into those circles and began playing, and I came back and forth maybe four times before I got my first visa. My first couple of gigs were working with Disney and Universal pop artists.

"Then there was this crazy domino effect which saw me out there playing with Dee Snider of Twisted Sister and Steven Adler of Guns N' Roses. I haven't stopped in 10 years, and I was thinking of retiring to work on other projects when Whitesnake called.

"This will be the highlight of my music career as far as rock n roll…and I haven't even got on the stage with them yet! The most fun part is the fact that it's Whitesnake's farewell tour and David wants to go out with a hell of a bang."

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