High Kings – folk ‘n roll for the 21st century

The High Kings are a traditional folk group who are among a wave of modern acts bringing classic Celtic songs into the 21st century.

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They can truly claim to represent the next generation of Irish music as three of their members are the sons of famous fathers.

The High Kings are a traditional folk group
The High Kings

Finbarr Clancy’s father, Bobby was a member of the legendary Clancy Brothers, Martin Furey’s father Finbarr is famous for his time in the Fureys, and Brian Dunphy’s father, Sean, once represented Ireland in the Eurovision song contest.

Following the death of his uncle, Liam Clancy, Finbarr said that while it felt like the end of an era for Irish music, The High Kings were determined to carry on the tradition. He also admitted that they had big shoes to fill.

Vocal group and accomplished musicians

The High Kings are named after the legendary rulers of ancient Ireland

The final member of the band, Darren Holden, is a successful Broadway star. He played Billy Joel in the Pianoman in the hit musical, Moving Out. He toured with the show for three years before joining The High Kings.

As well as being a leading vocal group, they are also accomplished musicians, playing 13 different instruments between them.


They were formed in Dublin by David Downes and Dave Kavanagh, who have also worked with Celtic Woman.

As with other groups such as Celtic Woman and Celtic Thunder, there was a lot of excitement in the media building up to the launch of the High Kings.

Topping the Amazon worldwide charts

The High Kings are a traditional folk group
The High Kings

Their first album, The High Kings, was released in 2008 and reached number 2 in the Billboard world music charts. It also reached the top of the Amazon charts worldwide.

They recorded a special show for PBS television that was broadcast on St Patrick’s Day. The DVD of the show was released later that year.

They went on a huge coast to coast tour of the US and made several television appearances following the success of their first album.

The High Kings describe their music as folk ‘n roll.

Their second album, Memory Lane, was released in 2010. They promoted it by going on a 30-date tour of major US cities including Chicago, Boston and Philadelphia in 2011. They appeared on the US television show, Live with Regis and Kelly, on St Patrick’s Day that year. They performed for the studio audience before playing a concert in Boston later that same night. That year, they also released a live album of a performance in Ireland.

Performing for the President

The following year, they were headliners in London’s Trafalgar Square St Patrick’s Day celebrations. They played in front of an estimated 15,000 people. Two days later they were at the White House performing for Barack Obama and Irish Taoiseach, Enda Kenny.

There should be plenty more to come from the High Kings over the next few years as their star continues to rise.

The High Kings
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