Luke Kelly

Discovering the Folk Music Legend: Luke Kelly's Impact on Traditional Irish Music Revival


Luke Kelly


Life, Career, and Influence of Luke Kelly:


Luke Kelly was a folk singer born in Dublin, Ireland. Luke was born on November 17th, 1940. He died on January 30th, 1984. He started his career in his later teenage years in the United Kingdom.

By then, he started to improve his skills to the point where he would become a notable figure in the revival of Irish folk music.

His early childhood consisted of living in a middle-class family in Lattimore Cottages in Dublin city before Dublin Corporation (former name of the Dublin city government) took it down.

He then lived at St. Laurence O’Tools flats, where Luke spent his childhood. He left school at 13 and started doing numerous odd jobs for five years before moving to the United Kingdom in 1958.

He has been in love with music since his teenage years. He would always attend Scottish social gatherings with his sister and listen to American singers like Perry Como and Al Jolson.

As a teenager, he has also been staging plays at Dublin’s Marian Arts Society. In 1960, When he was twenty, he joined his first folk club at Bridge Hotel, Newcastle upon Tyne. That is where he started his music career.

In 1962, Kelly returned to Dublin, where it was waiting for a resurrection of folk music. Kelly would be a founding member of a new band there.

When he returned to his home city, he started playing music at O’Donoghue’s Pub (ballads, rebel songs, and songs from the Irish folk music canon), cementing a new era of traditional Irish music in the 1960s and 1970s.

It became a hub for singing sessions. Soon, Kelly was performing folk music with future Dubliner members such as Barney McKenna and Ronnie Drew. It was a good time for folk music because the three singers, and others, would create the Dubliners. The Dubliners were a group that would eventually popularize and modernize traditional Irish music.

He has become known for his unique single style and innovative approach to folk music. He started from humble beginnings to becoming one of the most monumental Irish folk singers. 


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