For centuries, Ireland was ruled by High Kings. As their reign came to an end, their deeds and stories merged into the world of legend and myth and the High Kings of Ireland were no more except in story, music and song. Until now. Finbarr Clancy, Brian Dunphy, Martin Furey and Darren Holden, renowned vocalists and musicians, have come together to create the most exciting Irish ballad group to emerge since The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem electrified the worldwide folk revival of the 1960s.
Highly acclaimed composer and musical director David Downes (CELTIC WOMAN) brings intricate harmonies and driving rhythms to THE HIGH KINGS. songbook, giving it a freshness and sparkle that is modern and exciting, without ever sacrificing the traditional melodies and lyrics. The songs themselves reflect a wide range of moods: the rousing Rocky Road to Dublin, the haunting strains of The Parting Glass, the irresistible Wild Rover and the stunning Fields of Glory.
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Individual BiographyMartin Furey
Martin Furey is a well established exemplary Folk singer and a natural abounding songwriter. He was born to his Irish father Finbar and Scottish mother, Sheila, in the beautiful fishing village of Dunmore East, Co. Waterford. He lived and breathed music, Irish music in particular, taught to him by his father and uncles. He also learnt a great deal about Irish culture and its traditions through his grandmother's regular story telling. He left home at 17 to study in Dublin's historically infamous, Trinity College and with a yearn to understand his own heritage, Martin later moved to Prince's University, Edinburgh to study Scottish literature and History.
It was in Scotland where his band Sam Harlet was formed. The band was massively innovative and immediately welcomed by the vibrant Edinburgh scene of the time. They had a huge following and played almost every venue in the highlands and the lowlands of Scotland. Their music was largely influenced by the Pixies, Misfits and The Damned.
Moving back to Ireland in 1992 Martin and his sister Aine Furey, joined together to form their band Bohinta. They toured Europe and the UK, playing every major folk festival including the world renowned Glastonbury Festival. Martin and Aine were an immediate hit with audiences all over europe but in particular in France. Their album Excalibur went straight to number one in the French Album charts.
The Furey's are a well-known family of musical talent in Ireland, talent that has been passed down through the generations. While Martin sings with unique traditional vocals, he also plays the guitar, banjo and low whistles producing an exhilarating sound that has been wowing audiences for over ten years.
Finbarr was born in Carrick-an-Suir, County Tipperary to Moira Moondy and Bobby Clancy, brother to Liam, Paddy & Tom Clancy. Growing up in the Clancy dynasty, Finbarr's was plucking the banjo and playing the bodhran from the age of 5. His earliest performance was with his sister Aoife and father Bobby at Sunday afternoon ballad sessions in local Country pubs. His first professional performance was on stage at the tender age of ten singing and playing the banjo with his cousin Eben Clancy (Liam's son) who played whistle and sang. Finbarr went on to learn the guitar and flute and began writing songs at the age of 17 with another cousin Colm Power. They formed a folk/soft rock band with a friend David Doherty.
Finbarr began touring North America with his father and uncles, the Clancy Brothers, in 1995. Following the passing of his uncle Paddy and later his father, Bobby in 2002, he continued the tradition by touring with Eddie Dillon and Mark Fitzpatrick along the festival route, which included playing at America's biggest Irish Festival in Milwaukee.
As part of The Clancy Brothers, Finbarr appeared on the Pat Kenny Radio Show on RTE, Irelandï¿½s only national radio station for a long time and also appeared on the infamous Late Late Show with Gay Byrne. His American T.V. appearances include The Don Imus Show and also numerous local T.V. stations across North America.
Finbarr's recording credits include Clancy Sings Along Songs, The Quiet Land and Make Me a Cup with Bobby Clancy and Eddie Dillon and also the acclaimed Fathers and Daughters, featuring the band Cherish the Ladies, of which Finbarr's sister Aoife was a member.
While maintaining a musical connection to his contemporaries Finbarr's love of the singing tradition is apparent as soon as he walks on the stage. He is delighted to be a part of The High Kings and to continue carrying on the tradition of his family before him.
Darren Holden is not only a prolific songwriter and musician but a master interpreter of lyrics as well, and audiences around the world continue to praise his exceptional vocal talents. Originally from County Kilkenny, Ireland, he is comfortable performing all genres of music from pop and jazz to country and Celtic.
Darren recently starred as The Piano Man (Billy Joel) in the Tony Award-winning hit Billy Joel/Twyla Tharp musical Movin’ Out both on Broadway and on tour for four years receiving unanimous critical acclaim throughout the US, Canada and Japan. He was lead singer with RIVERDANCE on Broadway and on tour for more than three years.
A top ten recording artist in Ireland, Darren toured with Boyzone on their first major tour of Ireland and the UK and had numerous chart hits with such songs as “After Tonight” and “More Than I Can Say.” His debut solo album, “Suddenly” produced three top 20 hits. His CD of original traditional/contemporary country songs, “Live & Learn,” released in 2002 in the US, produced three top 40 airplay hits and Darren was nominated for a 2004 New Music Weekly Award (“Best Male Country Artist”). Darren’s latest CD, “Roadworks,” is the result of two years of writing and recording while touring the US and Canada with Movin’ Out and he released a single, “Through Hell and High Water” dedicated to the Katrina victims. Many of Darren’s songs have won various composing awards. Darren has appeared in concert at The Cutting Room in New York City, Crawdaddy’s in Tokyo and the famed Whisky A Go-Go in Los Angeles, and has become a favorite of sports teams and other events for his phenomenal rendition of the US National Anthem.
In June, 2007 Darren was invited to become a member of The High Kings. He is delighted to have the opportunity to bring this new and unique concept of songs and stories of Irish culture to the US and the world.
Brian was born in Dublin and spent his early years traveling around Ireland watching his father Sï¿½an performing in his showband The Hoedowners. It was from his famous father that he inherited his love of singing. Aged eighteen, Brian embarked on his own solo career with performances firstly on television for RTE Ireland and BBC England. He has performed in numerous shows, including "Aspects Of Love", "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" and "The Merry Widow."
Brian starred in "Riverdance-The Show", traveling extensively throughout America, Canada, China, Australia and Europe. He spent two years singing at The Gershwin Theatre on Broadway in New York and as lead vocalist in Radio City Music Hall . While there, he had the honour of performing the American National Anthem at Madison Square Gardens and appearing on "'The Today Show.'
Brian has had the honour of recording with many artists including world renowned violinist Vanessa Mae, Celtic Woman, Bill Whelan's Riverdance-On Broadway and Riverdance-The 10th Anniversary.
With his various styles of vocal singing none has been more fulfilling then being part of The Three Irish Tenors enjoying successful sell out tours in the United States and Canada.
Brian embarked on a European tour proudly performing as his father in a tribute to the Irish Show-Band stars of yesteryear, "Dance Hall Qs And Hucklebuck Shoes". A gifted guitarist and composer, Brian has released his solo debut Irish album, 'Timeless'.
Since 2005 he has had the privilege of performing in the world famous Jurys/Burlington Irish Show.
He is delighted to be a part of The High Kings and is excited to bring the irish ballads and great songs of his ancestors to a whole new generation.
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Listener CommentsMember Name:
The High Kings is the one all-male group who can give Celtic Thunder a run for their money in harmonizations. Add to the mix the fact that they are all very talented musicians, and you have a band that is destined for an amazing future!
Their version of "Red is the Rose" is my very favorite of the dozens that are out there. Sung a cappella, the boys' vocals alternatively bring a tear to the eye and a shiver to the spine.
Member Name: englishmix
Date Posted: 02-Jul-2009
Oh yeah! This group is fantastic ... the very reason I have stayed with Highlander Radio is for the priviledge of finding musicians just like this group - The High Kings! http://www.videocelt.com/the-high-kings/wi..._d04279788.html Thank you Paul for introducing me to them. Thank you!
Member Name: CelticRadio
Date Posted: 02-Jul-2009
The High Kings are a Highlander Radio Featured Artist!
"For centuries, Ireland was ruled by High Kings. As their reign came to an end, their deeds and stories merged into the world of legend and myth and the High Kings of Ireland were no more except in story, music and song. Until now. Finbarr Clancy, Brian Dunphy, Martin Furey and Darren Holden, renowned vocalists and musicians, have come together to create the most exciting Irish ballad group to emerge since The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem electrified the worldwide folk revival of the 1960s."
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