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Nuala Kennedy

“Dundalk native Nuala Kennedy, is a critically acclaimed and award-winning touring and recording artist. She sings, plays flute and whistle, and is a writer of songs and tunes. In addition to her solo work, she performs in The Alt with John Doyle and Eamon O’Leary, and Oirialla with Gerry (fiddle) O’Connor. Her work draws on songs and tunes from both the Irish and Scottish traditions and often blends sources and influences with a studied understanding of history and transmission, but she’s always out to find ways to make them sound like today.” —The Irish Echo

World renowned traditional singer and flute player Nuala Kennedy grew up playing Irish music in Dundalk, County Louth and now lives in Ennis, County Clare with her Appalachian singer husband A. J. Roach and their two young children. Her newest solo album ‘Shorelines’ (2023 Under the Arch Records) was recorded in and inspired by the rugged coastline of Clare. At its core is a powerhouse trio combination with Clare fiddle maestro Tara Breen (Chieftains) and Dublin guitarist of note Tony Byrne (Danu). Also playing on the record are some of Ireland and America’s most beloved performers in singers Muireann NicAmhlaoibh and Moira Smiley, pianist Caoimhin Vallely and Grammy winning bassist Todd Sickafoose.

Photograph by Eamon Ward

Nuala is known for her creative reworking and reimagining of traditional songs and for her unique Irish flute style, formed in Dundalk and honed in her long-time adopted home of Edinburgh, Scotland.

She is a musical adventurer who is recognized world-wide as a superlative performer of traditional music. Nuala has graced the cover of Irish Music Magazine, Sing Out! and appeared on the mainstage at festivals and venues around the world including Rudolstadt (GER) Celtic Connections (UK) Milwaukee Irish festival (USA) Telemark (NOR) Eurofonik (FRA) National Folk Festival (AU) and Celtic Colors (CAN). Her discography includes several releases on Nashville’s Compass Records, Borealis Records (CAN) and Ta:Lik Records (NOR) amongst others.

Photograph by Eamon Ward

Nuala has a singular voice within traditional music:

“Cheeky, dynamic and full of ideas.” —Scotland on Sunday

“A flute player and composer of remarkable finesse, fearless of the unknown.” —The Irish Times

Her roots are first and foremost in Irish music, but she ‘something of a genre bender’ according to Living Tradition magazine. Outside of traditional music, Nuala trained as a classical pianist under Prof. John O’ Connor, Dublin and has toured and recorded with Indie-Poet Will Oldham/Bonnie Prince Billie (**** MOJO magazine ‘Is it the Sea’) Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub), Euros Childs (Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci), with cutting-edge Canadian composer the late Oliver Schroer (duo album of original compositions nominated for two Canadian Folk Awards.) and is a member of Snowflake Trio, with Norwegian musicians Vegar Vårdal and Frode Haltli (ta:lik records, 2019).

Nuala is featured on ‘Celtic Soundtracks / Movie Themes’ by California’s Eric Rigler (Braveheart, Outlander, Titanic) and collaborated with composer Brian Reitzell on an episode of the hit television series ‘American Gods’ (2017). At Whispering Pines Studio in Los Angeles she produced American folk singer-songwriter Nels Andrews’ 2020 album ‘Pigeon and the Crow’, featuring Sebastian Steinberg (The Dixie Chicks, K.D. Lang, John Zorn, Eddie Vedder) on bass, Anais Mitchell (Hadestown) on vocals and Chris Wabich on steel drums (Leonard Cohen, Kevin Ayers, Sting ). Nuala sings with Janis Ian on her Grammy nominated 2022 release ‘The Light at the End of the Line‘.


Nuala Kennedy. Photo by Con Cassidy.
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