Step through the door
of a Seamus Kennedy performance and he may exclaim to you in Gaelic,
"Cead mile failte!" Pronounced ked meela fallcha, it means "One
hundred thousand welcomes!" At first you may feel startled, but
there are good times to be had. So just pull up a seat, unwind
and, before you know it, you too will be singing along, amused
by his antics and impressed with his amazing talent for song.
Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, Seamus Kennedy has
been entertaining audiences in the United States with Irish folklore
for the past 32 years. When asked what inspired him to become
an entertainer, he responds jovially in his Irish accent, "I fell
into it by accident really---I certainly didn't plan it. I played
an Irish sport called hurling---it's a cross between field hockey
and lacrosse---only much harder. One day, in 1971, after a game
in New York, we went to a pub and I ended up leading a bunch of
guys in a sing-a-long. Everyone had such a great time the owner
asked me to perform every Sunday thereafter."
Kennedy had studied languages in school and planned on becoming
either an interpreter for the United Nations or a professor. But,
you know, as John Lennon said, "Life is what happens to you when
you're busy making other plans."
Eventually, Seamus migrated to Boston, where he lived until 1983,
when he and his family decided to make Maryland their home. "I
played at the Maryland Inn for twelve years and am now at Harry
Browne's most every Monday night." But Annapolis is not his only
venue. Seamus Kennedy is in demand as an entertainer and gives
more than 250 performances nationwide. From Maryland, out to California
and up to Alaska, Kennedy enthralls his audiences with his interactive
and energetic performances. "I love to see people have a good
time," Kennedy says. He encourages them to sing along, dance,
and act out choruses---anything goes.
Kennedy plays for a wide range of audiences and has certainly
had many memorable experiences as well as VIP attendees---like
the Pope and Ronald Reagan! "In 1988, while I was performing in
Alexandria, Va., to my surprise, President Reagan walked in with
his entourage. He ended up coming on stage with me and told at
least ten minutes of Irish stories. He was really funny."
As for the Pope, he was in attendance in 1979 when Kennedy was
performing at Trinity College in Washington. "This was a really
big deal for a Catholic boy like myself," says Kennedy. "He even
kissed my son (who was 10 months-old at the time) on the cheek."
Kennedy chuckles when he says, "That cheek hasn't been washed
for 22 years."
Kennedy now has 10 recorded CDs with titles ranging from "Bar
Rooms and Ballads" and "Goodwill to Men" to his kids album, 'Gets
on Everybody's Nerves." Listening to one of his CDs is to experience
one of his performances, since most are recorded live. In addition
to singing Celtic tunes, Kennedy also enjoys performing traditional
and contemporary tunes of Scotland and Ireland, as well as country,
pop or bluegrass---all with a bit of what he calls "blarney."
And just what is "blarney"? Kennedy laughs and responds, "The
blarney in Ireland is what people here in America call something
else that begins a 'B' that you probably can't print." Let's just
say, it's an ability one must have in order to ad lib.
For those who want a truly authentic Irish experience in the company
of Seamus Kennedy, why not take a trip with him to Ireland? For
the past 12 years, Seamus has been organizing trips to his homeland.
Itineraries include historical tours and cultural experiences
but would not be complete without numerous jam sessions featuring
Seamus and his musician friends who still live in Ireland. "We
have great fun and the trip has become so popular that we had
to limit it to 48 people because I like to keep it personable."
Kennedy is a well-respected musician and has received much recognition
for his talent. He has been presented with the prestigious Washington
Area Music Association Award for "Best Irish Male Vocalist" for
the past nine years.
And so, for your St. Patrick's Day celebration, in the spirit
of the Irish and Seamus, raise your glass, make a Gaelic toast
to good health and say, "Slainte!" Then raise your glass higher
and proclaim, "Arin Go Bragh!" Forever Irish!
For more information, visit his website at www.seamus-kennedy.com.