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Celtic Thunder play CN Centre September 12
It’s no secret the Irish love to party, says Celtic Thunder’s Ryan Kelly.
He’s hoping that Prince George audiences will be in party mode when Celtic Thunder – Mythology rolls into CN Centre Sept. 12.
“We leave our Irish shows Sept. 1 to go straight to Canada first and so right now we’re into rehearsals,” said Kelly of the group’s 62-city Canada and U.S. tour.
Is he anxious to get on the road?
“I’m chomping at the bit, to be perfectly honest with you,” Kelly told the Free Press on Monday.
“It’s obviously lovely for us to get back home to Ireland and get re-aquainted with family and friends ... But I’m really excited about this tour – probably more than any other tour. I love being part of the Mythology show. We [performed] it in Ireland last year but this is the first time we’re actually going to be taking it on tour – and that’s extremely exciting.”
Last time they were in Prince George, a few years ago, fans loved both the solo and ensemble spots.
So what does Kelly, a songwriter who has released a solo album In Time in 2011, think of performing in the spotlight?
“As much as I love the ensemble pieces – and I suppose we’re able to have a bit more fun with each other when we get to interact with the other lads in the group – I love singing my special songs for the shows we put together. For the Mythology tour these are songs that we’ve suggested ourselves.”
Celtic Thunder has six male vocalists: Kelly, Emmet Cahill, Keith Harkin, George Donaldson, Neil Bryne and Colm Keegan. They sing an eclectic mix of songs from traditional Irish numbers to international hits and original material.
“I do a song that’s probably one of the greatest Irish folk songs of all time, Carrickfergus. And I do another song which is not Irish, it’s The House of the Rising Sun – the Animals song. It’s a song I’ve always loved and it’s a real popular song.
“I realize now, in my sixth year with Celtic Thunder, that what’s really important to me is the story telling. I like the opportunity to go out there and tell stories – and there’s a great story with House of the Rising Sun.”
In the Mythology show, Kelly also performs The Thunder Rolls and a dark ballad The Hunter’s Moon which was written for him. The tour also features an eight-piece Celtic Thunder band with its strings, guitars, percussion, whistles, pipes and other instruments.
Kelly’s role with Celtic Thunder as the rogue, Dark Destroyer or bad guy (the opposite of his real-life, ‘nice guy’ image) is one he thoroughly enjoys.
“I love that role,” he said. “I’ve been very fortunate in getting to play the rogue or bad guy because it’s meant I’ve been able to get some fantastic songs and sing some fantastic songs with Celtic Thunder. It’s great for me to have this stage persona and I get to sing some of the more darker songs because of that.”
For the principal singer, it all comes back to story telling.
“I love the opportunity to tell stories and I think that I’ve always been passionate about that. As a songwriter, I think I appreciate that even more and we hope our audiences listen to the stories as well.”
Do members of Celtic Thunder feel like family?
“They totally do,” said Kelly. “When you live out of each other’s pockets (he laughs) you haven’t much choice – but we are pretty fortunate in that we do actually like each other.”
After the tour, what are his plans?
“The tour is over in early December and I think we finish up in Seattle. Then a couple of us have some acoustic gigs as well. I’ve actually just finished my new solo album within the last few weeks, it’s taken a few years since the last one.”
He thinks fans who come out for the Mythology tour will be glad they did.
“I hope people will enjoy the songs. I think it’s the proudest we’ve ever been of any show [and] it’s a real combination of hard work. When we come to Prince George – I think it’s the fourth show on the tour – we’ll be singing songs that we’ve grown up loving and that we’ve chosen especially for this tour. For us, it’s going to be like a big Irish party – and we know Canadians and people in British Columbia like to party as much as the Irish do.”
Kelly has a passion for sports, he’s played Gaelic football and basketball at the national level. He’s also a fan. One of the highlights of his career was singing the national anthem in Boston to open a game with one of his favourite teams, Boston Celtics.
The Celtic Thunder – Mythology comes to CN Centre Thursday, Sept. 12 as part of their 62-city Canada and U.S. tour.
The tour’s musical director is David Munro, who also plays keyboards in the show.
For more information about the Canada tour visit www.celticthunder.com/tour. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are on sale at all Ticketmaster locations including CN Centre box office.