Saturday 18 November 2017

Musicians and friends pay tribute to folk legend Kelly

John Sheehan & Paddy Reilly during a Luke Kelly special show live from O'Donoghues pub on Baggot street
John Sheehan & Paddy Reilly during a Luke Kelly special show live from O'Donoghues pub on Baggot street
Joanna Kiernan

Joanna Kiernan

FAMILY members, friends, fans and fellow musicians of the legendary Irish musician Luke Kelly marked the 30th anniversary of his death with a traditional concert.

"It was just a lovely, lovely day and a great tribute to Luke, a lot of the old friends who knew him from way back all turned up," Luke's brother, Paddy Kelly, told the Irish Independent.

"Thirty years on, they're still singing his songs and they come on the radio regularly, he's a legend really and I'm his brother and I'm saying that. We feel very proud," he added.

The Dublin singer-songwriter, who shares a striking likeness to the late musician, performed a tribute to Kelly and his music last night. He was joined on stage for collaborations with both Damien Dempsey and John Sheahan of The Dubliners.

"It's a real privilege and honour," Chris Kavanagh said of his performance at the gig.

"Luke for me was a huge inspiration in my life both as a person and as a musician so it's nice to keep his memory alive."

The anniversary is particularly poignant for John Sheahan, who, following the death of Barney McKenna in April 2012, is now the last surviving member of The Dubliners.

"He gave everything to it, his whole heart and soul," Sheahan said of his "friend and brother" Kelly.

"I'm the last man standing. It's a nostalgic time for me, thinking back on it all; the good days, but I've a lot to be thankful for, it's been a great privilege."

Luke Kelly died on January 30, 1984, aged just 43 and is widely regarded as one of Ireland's best folk musicians for his soulful recordings of 'On Raglan Road' and many other songs.

"He probably influenced me more than any other singer. I think he really cared for the people he sang about," Damien Dempsey said yesterday.

"I learned to sing by singing along to Luke and the first singer to make me cry was Luke [singing] Raglan Road."

Irish Independent

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