The High Kings
The superb High Kings Blurb play in The Landmark Hotel on July 21.
The Leitrim Observer has two tickets up for grabs in the paper out tomorrow Wednesday, July 11.
Ten years ago, four Irish singers, performers and songwriters decided to take a calculated risk. The constituent parts of The High Kings each had a wealth of history in the music business behind them, but knew that in order to maintain any level of creative interest they would have to boldly go where no other Irish ballad group had gone before.
In truth, back in the mid-late noughties, Ireland needed a group like The High Kings. The heyday of ballad groups such as The Clancy Brothers and The Dubliners was a distant memory for generations of music fans, and to have another bunch of Irish lads taking up the baton and continuing the tradition was great news to thousands of fans worldwide.
“We could sing well, play our instruments well and harmonise well,” says Darren Holden, humbly underselling somewhat the numerous skill sets of the individual members. “People were looking for guys with character, presence – not just cardboard cut-outs – so the respective experience we all had wasn't just helpful but essential. The four members immediately knew that something special was taking place (“we knew within the space of a few songs that there was magic”), and within months had clicked as a creative unit as well as friends.
The High Kings had achieved what many had thought improbable, if not impossible: they were moving the Irish ballad tradition into the here and now, carrying along with them the steadfast older fans while simultaneously bringing it to a new audience. “The gigs were getting bigger and bigger, and we felt we were breaking down barriers."
Albums, tours and adapted songs pushed them forward.
To say that The High Kings are charting a new course for Irish ballad music – equal parts rousing and reflective, energetic and insightful – is an understatement. They are, essentially, marking out a new and bright era for Irish folk music, and aiming to bring a broad demographic along for the journey.
The November 2017 release of DECADE-BEST OF THE HIGH KINGS was received with rave reviews and record sales figures with the band again topping the Irish Album Charts and returning to the Billboard World Music Charts once again.
The DECADE World Tour promises a joyous trip down Memory Lane, to the music and song of yesteryear, this time performed in a contemporary style and arrangement which still remains true to the original. Here’s to the next ten years . . . Here’s to The High Kings . . .