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Paul Kelly
Featured Artist

Image: Paul KellyAbout Paul Kelly

Paul Kelly is an experienced multi-instrumentalist musician from Tallaght in Dublin, Ireland, who is equally at home in a variety of different styles of music. At 12 years of age, and already playing the guitar for 5 years, Paul was introduced to Irish Traditional Music by neighbour and well known fiddler Des Carty. During his teenage years he developed as a banjo and mandolin player, making many trips to Fleadhs (Irish Music Festivals), as well as many weekends in Co. Clare, where his style was honed, playing regularly with the Russell brothers from Doolin, Noel Hill, Tony Linnane and other great Clare musicians.

Around this time Paul started to play fiddle and gig with different folk bands in the Dublin area.

In the early eighties he discovered Bluegrass and spent four years as fiddler with 'The Sackville String Band', the legendary Dublin outfit who played at concerts and festivals all over the country. The band's reputation was such that many visiting U.S. musicians would jam on stage with them and so Paul got to hear and play with Bluegrass legends like Peter Rowan, Tex Logan and Kenny Baker.

Image: Paul KellyHe then joined forces with Irish singer/songwriter Mick Hanly, whose band Rusty Old Halo, he helped to form. Their only release, Still Not Cured, played a large part in establishing a "New Country Music Scene" in Dublin, with bands like The Wilf Brothers, Hank Halfhead, Chris Meehan and his Redneck Friends and the biggest of them all, The Fleadh Cowboys, all touring the country on a regular basis. Although Paul had played with all the above bands at some stage, he joined up with The Fleadh Cowboys 1989, who were one of the hottest bands in Ireland at that time, touring regularly around the country and also playing monthly in two of London's best known venues; The Mean Fiddler and The Powerhouse. Back in Dublin, The Fleadh's had half of the city dancing in the aisles at their weekly late night residency at The Olympia Theatre. The band established a format where every week a guest or guests would join them on stage.

Some of the more notable were; The Waterboys, The Hothouse Flowers, Nancy Griffith, John Prine and Joe Ely. The Fleadhs popularity was such at that time that they were invited to play support to U2 in The Point Theatre and to Bob Dylan in the RDS. They also supported The Pogues (who were riding high on the success of Fairy Tale of New York), on the English and Irish leg of their world tour!

In 1992, after Paul had established himself as a studio session musician, and even composed the music for the Irish movie, Hard Shoulder, he returned to his traditional roots by joining with Trevor Hutchinson and Gerry O'Beirne in The Sharon Shannon Band, touring America and Europe that year, in a hectic schedule which culminated with a Late Late Show TV Special which was dedicated to the Clare accordion wizard.

The nineties also saw Paul team up with his old colleague from The Fleadh Cowboys, Frankie Lane, touring Europe regularly as well as all over Ireland.

In 1997 Paul founded a record company called Malgamú Music, which tapped in to the new eclecticism in Traditional Irish music, and encouraged it's artists to experiment with other musical styles, although keeping Irish Music at the core. This project saw releases by Lia Luachra, fiddler Kevin O' Connor, guitarist Sean Whelan and Paul's own offering "a mandolin album", which received excellent reviews and is often quoted as a defining CD in Irish music for the mandolin.

In 2002 Paul and Frankie Lane began working with established Irish singer Eleanor Shanley, touring regularly in Denmark, Austria and Holland, as well as performing regularly all over Ireland. This collaboration resulted in the release of the trio's popular CD; A Place of my Own, which received extensive airplay on Irish radio stations.

The last few years have seen Paul record and perform live with many artists such as Ann Marie O' Grady, with whom he recorded two albums; Jerry Fish and The Mudbug Club, Clive Barnes and Limerick singer/songwriter Siobhán O' Brien.

A book of 110 tunes selected from his vast repertoire (including some of his own compositions) was published in 2007 and is widely distributed in the States by Mel Bay. Paul's fiddle playing is also featured on Grand Theft Auto IV, the worlds biggest selling video game.

Paul now plays mainly with The David Munnelly Band, with whom he regularly tours America. The band, which mixes Irish Traditional Music with swing rhythms, and draws inspiration from the 1920's melting pot music of New York, are much in demand, and have also performed in Holland, Denmark, Scotland, Spain, and Israel.

Website: www.myspace.com/paulkellymando

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