Ómós: Kieran Halpin

Kieran Halpin

June 4 1955-October 5 2020

Singer-songwriter and guitarist, Kieran Halpin, died on Monday October 5, aged 65, in Munich. Based in Germany in recent years, Kieran was born in Ardee, Co. Louth and began playing clubs at the age of 15. He toured extensively in Britain and Europe before forming a successful duo with English fiddler, Tom McConville in 1979. After two well received albums, as well as a prestigious appearance at the Cambridge Folk Festival in 1981, the partnership was dissolved in 1982 when McConville joined the band, Dab while Halpin returned to Ireland. In 1983, Halpin released his first solo album, The Man Who Lived in Bottles, to considerable acclaim. A live album followed in 1985.

Contractual difficulties are alleged to have restricted his recording activities during the late 1980s with only further album, Crystal Ball Gazing, appearing in 1989. However, 1991 saw a spirited renaissance with the release of Mission Street which included guest contributions from uilleann piper, Davy Spillane, and regular collaborator, Martin Allcock from Fairport Convention.

By the time of his death, Halpin had recorded more than 20 solo and duo albums in Ireland, Scotland, England, Germany, Austria, USA and Australia as well as publishing three song books containing almost 140 of his compositions. Halpin’s songs cover every conceivable subject from love, loss and celebration, to the more global concerns facing humanity today in the tradition of the radical protest song.

His songs have been widely recorded by a number of other artists including Dolores Keane, Niamh Parsons, Vin Garbutt, The Battlefield Band, Ilse De Lange, John Wright, Flossie and Chris Jones. Indeed many of his songs have been so warmly embraced by the ‘folk community’ they have entered the canon of regular favourites sung in clubs, pubs and festivals. Some have been translated into German, Finnish and Spanish.

Kieran was also a very popular performer in venues ranging from intimate folk clubs to major festival crowds. He was acclaimed for his wonderful stage presence – which not only extended to the quality of his voice, his musicianship and his songs but also to his engaging personality and story-telling.

Selected Discography

1979 Port of Call (with Tom McConville)
1981 The Streets of Everywhere (with Tom McConville)
1983 The Man Who Lives in Bottles
1985 Live and Kicking1993 The Rite Hand
1995 Glory Dayz
1997 Closing Time in Paradise (with Anth Kaley)
1998 Solo
2000 Jangle
2002 Back Smiling Again
2002 Moving Air (with Chris Jones)
2002 Bootleg – The Missing Songs – ‘79/’83
2004 The Round Tower Sessions
2008 A Box of Words and Tunes
2009 The Deal We Made with God
2010 Road Train Driver (EP)
2011 The Devil and his Dealing
2014 One Night In Germany (with Chris Jones)
2015 It’s Always 3.15
2017 Doll

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