At Home and Abroad

Stories and interviews from the Irish Diaspora

The High Kings

2023-09-10

The High Kings
Darren Holden is not only a prolific Songwriter and Musician but a master interpreter of lyrics as well. Audiences around the world continue to praise his exceptional vocal talents. Originally from Mooncoin County Kilkenny, he is comfortable performing all genres of music from Pop and Jazz to Country and Celtic. Darren starred as The Piano Man (Billy Joel) in the Tony Award-winning hit Billy Joel/Twyla Tharp musical Movin’ Out both on Broadway and on tour for four years receiving unanimous critical acclaim throughout the US, Canada and Japan. He was lead singer with RIVERDANCE on Broadway and on tour for more than three years. A top ten recording artist in Ireland, Darren toured with Boyzone on their first major tour of Ireland and the UK . He had numerous chart hits with such songs as “After Tonight” and “More Than I Can Say.” His debut solo album, “Suddenly” produced three top 20 hits. His CD of original traditional/contemporary Country songs, “Live & Learn,” released in 2002 in the US, produced three top 40 airplay hits and Darren was nominated for a 2004 New Music Weekly Award (“Best Male Country Artist”). The High Kings are Finbarr Clancy, Darren Holden, Brian Dunphy and newest member Paul O’ Brien. The High Kings formed in June 2007 when Brian, Darren, Finbarr and former member Martin Furey were asked to join a brand-new Irish ballad group by David Kavanagh after he had noticed a gap in the market for a band specialising in traditional Irish music. It didn’t take long during their first studio rehearsal for them to realise that the way their individual voices blended together meant that they were onto something special. The High Kings play 13 instruments between them, creating the unique sound and atmosphere that they still showcase to this day. This was confirmed when their self-titled debut album reached number 2 on the world Billboard Music chart. In March 2009 The High Kings played 5 consecutive sold out shows to a packed audience in Dublin’s Olympia Theatre. Towards the end of 2009 The High Kings licensed their second studio album ‘Memory Lane’ to Universal Music Ireland signifying the fast trajectory that the band had taken in their short lifespan. ‘Memory Lane’ was released in February 2010 and after a successful Irish tour the album went platinum in June only 4 months after its initial release. They followed ‘Memory Lane’ with a ‘Live in Ireland’ album which received critical acclaim as it showcased the energy that the band brings to the live shows. By 2011 the band had out grown the venues they had been previously playing and had to start playing larger venues not only in Ireland but also in America and across Europe. Many fans became regular faces as they effectively followed the band on their sold-out tours many crossing oceans and borders through-out the world just to see their favourite band perform live. People loved what they were doing; bringing a new take on traditional Irish ballads to audiences of multiple generations. In 2013 the band licensed their forthcoming album 'Friends for Life’ to Sony Worldwide, another indication of their global appeal. ‘Friends for Life’ featured 8 original songs written and composed by the band and was released in 2013. Taking their original songs on the road was a new and exciting milestone for the band and it wasn’t long before the likes of ‘Oh Maggie’ and ‘Irelands Shore’ were being sung back to them by the audience.

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