Celebrating the memory and music of one of the greatest folk artists of the 20th Century and Ireland’s cultural treasures, The Legend of Luke Kelly show is returning to Cork Opera House this month.
Born in Dublin, Kelly is best known as being a founding member of seminal Irish folk band The Dubliners, alongside Ronnie Drew. He was the leading vocalist for the group’s eponymous debut album in 1964, which included his iconic rendition of Irish trad song ‘The Rocky Road to Dublin’. He passed away in 1984 at the age of 43.
The Legend of Luke Kelly sees singer and multi-instrumentalist Chris Kavanagh and his band perform renditions of Kelly’s songs. Kavanagh’s passion for the Dubliner founder’s music led him to learn to play the five-string long neck banjo and over the past 14 years, he has toured with his tribute show across Ireland, England, Switzerland, Germany and Australia, with regular attendance by Kelly’s family.
In 2009 to mark Kelly’s 25th anniversary, Kavanagh and co-writer Hilary Kavanagh composed a song titled ‘Voice of the People’ about The Dubliners’ member. While there have been countless songs written about Kelly, this song is different in the sense that it was written from the folk hero’s perspective and portrays the way he felt about his own life.
Kavanagh stood in with folk legends The Dubliners on their German tour in November 2011. He also made a guest appearance on their 50th anniversary concert DVD recorded in Vicar Street.
Kavanagh has received raves for his tribute, with critics noting not just that he bears a remarkable resemblance to Kelly, but that his singing talents capture the depth and passion of the great man. Eamon Dunphy called The Legend of Luke Kelly: “a beautiful blast from our beautiful past,” while RTE’s Open House said watching it ‘you might find that you have to pinch yourself.’
The show takes place at Cork Opera House on February 10. Tickets are on sale now from here or can be purchased by phone box office by calling +353 21 4270022.