Celtic Junction Arts Center

Weaving the traditions of Dance, Music, Art & Language

836 Prior Avenue
St. Paul, MN, 55104

Norman Kennedy in Concert, May 10

Music begins at 7:30pm, $10 at the door. 

Norman Kennedy is one of Scotland’s finest traditional singers with a unique repertoire of folk songs and ballads in both Scots and Gaelic. Born and brought up in Aberdeen, he was a neighbor of the great ballad singer Jeanie Robertson and during the evolving folk scene of the 1960′s he picked up many songs from her and from other singers such as the bothy ballad singer Jimmy McBeath and the traveller and street singer Davie Stewart.

Norman shares what is enduring about traditional songs - their authenticity to life, the humorous turns of every-day events, the beauty of old melodies. As Norman explains it: "These songs are my roots; they're older and more important than I am." This unpretentiousness makes Norman's music as wonderful to the audience as it is important to him.

In performance, Norman can rare back and close his eyes and sing you off to castles, mysterious rides through the wood, long sea voyages, back to the old cattle stealing days, the sailing times, the rhythms of long evenings sitting by the hearth. He can break your heart with songs of lost loves and tragic ends. He can tell you how his sailor father went roond the world seven times wi’ never a passport, and how if somebody told his mither she was getting auld, she’d say, “I’ll knock ye doon anddance on ye!” He has never forgotten a detail of his long life and it has all been profoundly entertaining, to hear him tell about it.Norman is a “keeper of the old ways”. He was taught by great masters and he has become their legacy to us now. In 2003 Norman was awarded the highest honor in folk and traditional arts in the United States, receiving a Master Artist Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.

 But there is more to Norman than just singing and storytelling. Norman is a master practitioner and teacher of textile arts as well as an unaccompanied singer of traditional Scottish songs.. He is an accomplished weaver, who cards, spins, and dyes his own wool in the ‘old ways’. It is a mark of his quest for perfection that he is as well known in this field as for his singing. He does not see them as separate entities – the songs help him to concentrate on his weaving and the weaving gives rhythm to his songs.