Wednesday 12 December 2018

The siblings who are right on song: DJ Louise Duffy and her musican brother Kevin

Radio DJ Louise Duffy and her musician brother Kevin have always been the best of friends

There is only 15 months between siblings Kevin and Louise Duffy. Photo: Damien Eagers
There is only 15 months between siblings Kevin and Louise Duffy. Photo: Damien Eagers

Andrea Smith

By his own admission, Kevin Duffy can be a protective older brother when it comes to his sister Louise. While she takes a great sisterly interest in his love life, he was the same when she was dating. He recalls getting a phone call from her to say that she had kissed Paul Galvin, the Kerry footballer-turned-fashion-designer, having met him in Castlebar through a mutual friend. "What, that fella?" Kevin asked, somewhat suspiciously.

That was six years ago, and Louise went on to marry Paul on New Year's Eve 2015. Happily Kevin, a member of the band Tupelo, really likes his brother-in-law. "He's a dream," he says. "Mind you, I resurrected some Kerryman jokes recently, and Paul came back with Mayoman jokes, which I didn't think was a thing."

Kevin is currently single, much to Louise's chagrin, and she gives him what he euphemistically terms as "constructive criticism" on the subject. She regularly tries to fix him up with her pals, and says she's sure she drives him mad over it. "Ah Kevin doesn't need much help in that area," she admits. "I'm so proud of him, because my friends and I go to Tupelo's shows and they're fantastic. Kevin is super talented and really comes alive on stage and he's a real character. I don't know anyone quite like him - thank God! He's great fun and doesn't mind stirring the pot sometimes for a laugh."

Kevin (35) and Louise (33) grew up in Crossmolina in Mayo, and their dad Thomas owns a stainless steel fabrication company in Castlebar. He is also musical and used to be in The Merry Boys showband. They have an older brother Rory and a younger one, Brian, both of whom work in the family business.

"Kevin and I are the middle children so we have the complex, and I'm the only girl to add to that," Louise jokes. "We had a very happy childhood and Mum and Dad worked their arses off for us. Kevin and I were very close growing up because there is only 15 months between us. My pals and I used to hang out with his group of lads, so we had a lovely gang of friends."

All of the children went to music lessons, but Kevin was the one who really enjoyed it and stuck at it. While Louise is a great appreciator of music, of course, and hosts a music show on Today FM, she wasn't a fan of her piano lessons. "Practising was a pain in the arse for me and I remember being so bored that I scratched, 'How's it going?' on the piano one day," she recalls. "Mum lined us all up to see whose handwriting it was and I got into so much trouble. When Paul and I were married we had lovely music at the wedding and great bands, but Kevin was the real showman and was so much fun. He's very kind and loyal to a fault, and I've always had a great friend in Kevin."

Louise says she has three fantastic brothers and they all looked out for her growing up. Her main gripe as a youngster was that she wasn't allowed to work in the factory with them during the holidays or go fishing and sailing. "I used to say that there was a 'willy test', and if you didn't have one, you weren't allowed to do things," she says. "I wasn't hard done by because I had my own things, but there was a tomboy in me who was constantly struggling to do the same things as the lads."

Kevin embarked on a degree in IT and played in a wedding band while at college. He now works in IT at Davy Stockbrokers in Dublin, and also plays fiddle and sings backing vocals with Tupelo. He joined it in 2008 and it is now a two-piece, with James Cramer. They bring in extra musicians as required for touring and recording. They have just released their third studio album, called The Heart's Bloodline, and say it's more edgy and has more of a rock vibe than their previous albums.

Louise embarked on a degree in film and broadcasting at DIT Aungier Street, went on to study law for a while, and then spent three years at AA Roadwatch. She moved to the early show on Today FM some years ago, and now presents the evening show, which is entirely dedicated to music. She doesn't mind the somewhat anti-social hours at all, because she absolutely loves her job and feels it's very much her show.

"She's brilliant and I'm so proud of her," says Kevin, who says he's a huge fan of Louise and that she's also a brilliant sister to him. "She's so extrovert, and we get on really well."

Kevin lives in Rathmines and Louise lives outside Ranelagh, so their homes are very close. They love going home to Mayo - the family home is now in Castlebar - and get on really well with their parents, who are lovely people. They're thrilled to have an adorable nine-month-old niece Ava, courtesy of Brian and his wife Anna. "She has really brought a new dynamic to the family," says Kevin. Mind you, Kevin doesn't always like when Louise is home at the same time as him, because while he enjoys being spoiled by mammy, his sister makes him help out.

When they were first both living in Dublin, Kevin and Louise went to a lot of gigs together, but he teases her that she is not as much up for going out these days.

"He thinks I'm a boring old mare now," says Louise. She's still looking to fix him up now romantically though and has a message for our readers. "Hit him up on Instagram girls," she laughs.

Tupelo's album, The Heart's Bloodline, is out now. www.tupelo.ie Lost in Music with Louise Duffy, Today FM, weekdays 7-9pm.

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