Irish musician mixes traditional, modern styles

Posted: Thursday, February 03, 2000

Irish musician Seamus Kennedy wants people to laugh at his concerts.

``I don't like dead air between songs,'' he said. ``I've been to concerts where the performer doesn't talk to the audience. I don't like that. I like to connect.''

In his 30-year career as a performer, he's found laughter is a great way to make that connection.

Kennedy, who also bills himself as a comedian, returns to Juneau this Saturday night for his third concert in the capital city, starting at 8 p.m. at Centennial Hall.

Kennedy grew up in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and came to the United States in 1971. He played in an Irish folk music group for a few years and has worked as a solo performer since 1977. He lives in Maryland and spends his summers touring the country playing Irish and Scottish music festivals.

A few years ago he participated in a tour of Alaska sponsored by Catholic Community Service, a nonprofit group, and his previous Juneau concerts were fund-raisers for CCS. This year the show is sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic group, as a benefit for that organization's community programs.

Kennedy said he plays traditional Irish and Scottish ballads as well as a mix of other styles. The Juneau concert will feature music from his new CD as well.

``I throw in some contemporary humorous ballads, a little bluegrass and a little country. I try to get the audience involved with what I'm doing, and I do some audience participation,'' he said.

He said children are welcome at the concert. His ninth and most recent CD is a kids' CD, called ``Seamus Kennedy Gets on Everybody's Nerves.''

``A lot of the songs are traditional Irish songs I sang growing up, plus `The Marvelous Toy,' by Tom Paxton,'' he said.

Tickets are $20 for all ages, available at Hearthside Books and the door.

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