THE HIGH KINGS – Finbarr Clancy, Brian Dunphy, Martin Furey and Darren Holden – will get Galway's 2017 off to a rousing folk and trad start when they play the Seapoint Ballroom, Salthill, on Saturday January 14 at 8pm.
The group, who draw members from the distinguished folk music families of the Clancys and the Fureys - formed in the noughties with the idea of reviving the ballad group tradition.
“We could sing well, play our instruments well and harmonise well,” says Darren Holden. “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. We knew within the space of a few songs that there was magic."
Their self-titled debut album, released in 2008, reached No 2 on Billboard’s World Music chart. It was during The High Kings' second tour of the US in 2011, and second album Memory Lane, which also crashed into Billboard’s World Music chart, that things really began to take off. Subsequently, the group’s tour of Ireland sold out within hours.
“We didn't expect that,” admits Darren, “and then about three gigs into that tour we realised we had touched not only a nerve but also a memory. People loved what we were doing, and they would tell us after the shows that what we did and how we were doing it meant so much to them – they had waited years for a group like us.”
The band then earned the stamp of approval from Christy Moore and the late Ronnie Drew, while 2013's album, Friends For Life, saw them writing their own material. "We felt the songs were really good, and we sensed it was the next step," says Darren. "We finally sensed we were about to embark on a new chapter for The High Kings, rather than repeat the approach we took on the first two albums.”
The latest part of the journey came in the year just gone, with the band's Grace & Glory album. “There is something for everybody on the album," says Martin, "and any doubters out there might just discover there’s a whole lot more to us than perceptions would have them believe."
This is a 'Róisín Dubh presents...' concert. Tickets are available at www.roisindubh.net, the Ticket Desk at OMG Zhivago, Shop Street, and The Róisín Dubh.