Born in Co. Roscommon in 1972, Alan grew up in a
house steeped in traditional music and dance. His grandfather was
a fiddler; his grandmother, a melodeon player; his father, Frank
Kelly, a piano accordionist from Fourmilehouse in southern Roscommon
who won the All-Ireland senior title in 1964; and his mother, Mary
(née Ryan) Kelly, an adept pianist and saxophonist. From the late
1950s to the early 1960s, Frank and Mary Kelly were members of the
Killina Céilí Band, a gifted ensemble also featuring fiddler Paddy
Ryan, a first cousin of Mary and a music instructor to both Alan
and brother John, one of Ireland's leading flautists and whistle
Although surrounded by flute players, Alan chose to
follow in his fathers' footsteps and learn the piano accordion.
Very soon, Alan had forged his own inimitable style influenced mainly
by his father Frank and local musicians such as Paddy Ryan, John
Carlos, Patsy Hanly and Frank Jordan.
In his early music years, Alan went on to win All-Ireland
titles on piano accordion and piano, and also with brother John
in duets and neighbour and life long friend John Wynne in trio's.
Determined to become a full time musician Alan moved to Galway in
1993 where he quickly became part of the thriving traditional music
scene, forging an excellent reputation for himself.
In 1994 he landed a part in the Druid Theatre's award
winning production of Vincent Woods' 'At the black pigs Dyke' and
spent the next 12 months performing in Dublin, Galway, Glasgow,
Toronto and Sydney. He also toured with Druid's and Vincent Woods
production of 'The Yellow Bittern' in 1995.
Back in Galway, Alan decided to concentrate on his
debut solo album and in 1997 he released 'Out of the Blue' (BBM
001) on his own label Blackbox Music. Co-produced by Alan and Steve
Cooney and featuring a host of Ireland's top musicians, the album
received estatic reviews from the critics, earned him a 'Best Newcomer'
award from Irish Music Magazine and launched Alan on his solo career.
Extensive touring ensued, especially in the U.S. and
Canada. His live performances have become something of a special
event with the Irish Times stating "his was a brilliantly talented,
effortless and exuberant performance"
However, it wasn't long before theatre beckoned again
and towards the end of 1997, Alan was invited by New York's awarding
winning avant-garde theatre company Mabou Mines to join their production
of Peter and Wendy in Los Angeles and has since performed with them
in New Haven ('98) San Francisco ('99) Dublin Theatre Festival in
1999 and New York 2002. Also, in 1997, he was invited to become
a member of the house band for Sibin, a weekly music programme for
TG4, performing with artists such as Matt Molloy, Sean Keane, Cathy
Ryan, Kieran Goss, Mick Hanley, Sean Tyrell, Arty McGlynn and Nollaig
Casey. More recently Alan featured in Brian Friel's 'Wonderful Tennessee'
at The Lyric Theatre in Belfast.
Following on the success of 'Out of the Blue' Alan
released his second solo album "Mosaic" in July 2000. Produced
by guitarist Arty McGlynn, "Mosaic" features many new compositions
from both Alan and Arty, as well as traditional music from Scotland,
Finland and of course Ireland.
In 2001 Mosaic was nominated
for 'Best Crossover Album' by Irish Music magazine.
Alan has toured the US Canada and Europe extensively. He was voted
newcomer of the year with Michael McGoldrick by Irish Music Magazine
1997 and also took part in the 1999 Music Network "Best of Irish"
nationwide tour with Michael McGoldrick, Karen Casey and Cathal Hayden.
He also featured on Michael McGoldrick's recent album 'Fused' and
continues to tour regularly with this band, as well as guesting with
Lunasa, one of Ireland's most popular traditional groups, on their
most recent Irish tour promoting their album 'Otherworld'.
Alan's live performances have become something of a special
event with the Irish Times stating
"this was a brilliantly talented, effortless and exuberant
A recent review from a concert in France stated that .
"Alan Kelly is regularly feted as 'one of today's finest exponents
of the piano accordion' and tonight's accolades of 'magnifique'
and 'formidable' is immense praise from a people steeped in the
accordion tradition. Alan's rich armoury of tunes, his infectious
zeal for the accordion and his on-stage mastery of the crowd "
Alan's other recording credits include appearances on Niamh Parsons's
Loosely Connected in 1992, Michael McGoldrick's Morning Rory in
1996 and Fused in 2000, and Seán Keane's Seánsongs in 2002. He guested
with Lunasa on their Irish tour promoting their album 'Otherworld'
and also collaborated with Alison Brown, the Grammy award winning
banjo player on her Irish tour in 2001. During July 2002 Alan toured
with Ireland's legendary De Danann in Canada performing at festivals
such as the Vancouver, Calgary and Winnipeg Folk Festivals.