Monday, September 14

Seamus in Three?

Catching up with Seamus Kennedy is like trying to catch the wind. However recently we managed to get him to remain in one spot long enough to ask a few questions. Most of us in this area know who he is and have enjoyed his ready wit and vast store of songs during his performances but do we really know him?
We asked him to offer some input into his musical and entertainment development or otherwise (Seamus in Three!). His response is as follows:
Seamus was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland and has been entertaining audiences all over the United States for almost four decades. He continues to travel the country performing for thousands of people each year.
Arriving in New York fresh out of college where he majored in languages. He began his career by performing in a Bronx pub playing his guitar at a sing-along. He became so popular that the bar offered to pay him to do it on a regular basis. So he turned pro!
For ten years he was the “house band” at Pat Troy’s Ireland’s Own Pub and Restaurant in Alexandria, VA. And he calls these years “the best training any young performer could have had. Over the years he has been selected to perform before Pope John Paul II at Trinity College in Washington D.C. and on one memorable St. Patrick’s Day, president Ronald Reagan showed up to catch his act in Ireland’s Own and joined the act when he came up on the stage and did ten minutes of Irish stories for a very surprised full house. (Talk about hard acts to follow!)
Seamus’s continual interactions with his audiences are his trademark. He talks directly to his audience and does not get flustered when they talk back. He loves to see people enjoying themselves and having a good time. His vast repertoire and endless supply of rib-tickling jokes, stories and one-liners which make people laugh, sing, relax and forget all their cares for a little while!
Seamus sings the music of his native Ireland with emotion born of knowing its history and conflicts first hand. While he loves to perform the traditional and contemporary tunes of Ireland and Scotland he is equally proficient with American music, whether it be folk, county, pop or blue grass. This diversity is well reflected in his twelve recordings which include specialty albums of children’s material and Christmas songs.
When asked what he likes best about performing at Celtic Classic? His first response was “the paycheck!” then he went on to say “I’ve have been performing at the Celtic Classic since 1992. I enjoy the audiences and the volunteers. Over the years I have built up a relationship with many if the volunteers who are among the warmest, friendliest and most helpful people I’ve encountered.
Seamus shared with us two Celtic Classic memories from his performances. “On two separate occasions, young men came up to me before the Friday night show in the Tavern In The Glen and asked if they could come up onto the stage and propose to their girlfriends who knew nothing of these plans. Of course I said “yes” but in order for the girls not to suspect anything, I made it look like I was calling the guys up to participate in a song or a bit of silliness. So the first time, I said “Do you have a girlfriend?’ the kid said “Yes” I said “Let’s get her up here to do the song with you’ Up she came. He drops down on his one knee, produced a box with an engagement ring and proposed to her. The crowd was yelling “Say Yes!” so she did. On the other occasion, he just proposed to her from the stage, she agreed and the crowd hollered its approval. And both of the couples have shown up – married – at just about every Celtic Classic since.
We were curious at this point and wanted to know what the funniest thing that has happened to him during a performance? In true Seamus style he says” In my book “Clean Cabbage In The Bucket” there’s a story called “Glass Eye and Golf Tees” which is too long to relate (you will just have to buy the book – available on my website!) but it was one of the funniest things ever to happen to me on stage.
When we asked if he had any advice to his younger fans who are interested in music and entertainment he offered this. “Yes. If you love playing the music, and your heart tells you that this is what you want to do, then follow your heart. But practice constantly and never forget that without the audience you're nothing. So always work at entertaining your audience, regardless of how great a musical virtuoso you may be”.
We have to wonder what’s the hardest part of being the entertainer, Seamus Kennedy. Seamus feels as he gets older, memorizing new songs, jokes and bits of business. “It ain't easy getting old, and I've been doing this for 38 years. I still love it, by the way.”
After his long run entertaining us we asked if he has any songs he particularly enjoys performing? All of them. If I don't enjoy them I don't do them. Sometimes I make a fuss about not wanting to do a song like The Rattling Bog, but that's just to get a laugh.
I really like singing it!
In closing we asked for a Bit O Wisdom from the great entertainer here’s what he had to say. “See my advice to younger fans above.” As for Promotional materials….
“Hey, check out my website. It's all there!”

“All my best wishes, and I'll see you at the Classic.”

Reported by Cindy Stetvak

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