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Ron Kavana

Ron Kavana has been on the cutting edge of contemporary Celtic and British pop music for more than two decades. His collaborations have brought him together with such influential musicians as Alexis Korner, Charlie Watts of the Rolling Stones, Jack Bruce, the Pogues, Donovan, the Chieftains, Elvis Costello, Clarence "Frogman" Henry, Doug Sahm, Richard Thompson, and the late Sandy Denny. Performing with a lengthy list of bands, Kavana has blended the musical traditions of the British Isles with blues, Tex-Mex, country, Cajun, and rock influences. Called a "hard-hitting, no-nonsense realist" by The Village Voice, Kavana has produced music that has been described, by Music Week, as "charming, disarming with a very dry sardonic wit."

The son of an Irish father and an American mother, Kavana was born in the Country Cork village of Fenmoy. After cutting his early musical teeth in a R&B band, the Wizards, Kavana helped to form a trad rock group, Loudest Whisper. Although together for a very brief period, Loudest Whisper recorded one album, The Children of Lyre, for the Polydor label. The album was re-recorded in 1993 by a group that included Donovan, Liam Og O'Flynn, Philip Donnelly, and the RTE Chamber Orchestra. Leaving Loudest Whisper in 1993, Kavana moved to London and became involved with the city's top folk, country, and R&B musicians. As a member of Panama Red, an all-acoustic, harmony-emphasizing band, Kavana played nightly at the Hope & Anchor in Islington. Replacing Albert Lee in the Thunderbirds, Kavana began a long association with Chris Farlowe. Kavana continued to change bands as fast as a chameleon changes colors. Together with Irish guitarist Ed Deane, he formed a duo, Identity Kit. With the addition of four top British session players, the duo evolved into a band, Juice on the Loose, which supplied musical accompaniment for touring American vocalists. In the late '70s, Kavana veered from the Irish music on which he had built his reputation. Accepting a position as bandleader/producer for Ace Records, he spent seven years recording with many of England's best-known performers. Joining the Alexis Korner Band in the early '80s, Kavana remained with the group through several incarnations, including the Boogie Band, which featured Ian Stewart, Charlie Watts, and Jack Bruce. Kavana left the group to join Bees Make Honey, one of the most influential of London's Irish pub rock bands.

By the mid-'80s, Kavana's reputation was strong enough that he decided to strike out on his own. Together with Miriam Kavana (fiddle), Rod Demick (bass), Andy Martin (accordion), and Les Morgan (drums), he formed the eclectic group Alias Ron Kavana. The group was subsequently named Best Live Act in the World by Folk Roots in 1989, 1990, and 1991. A solo album, Rollin' & Coasting, was followed by the first of three tours as opening act for the Pogues. Although he was invited to join the Pogues, business difficulties prevented him from accepting. Joined by two members of the Pogues -- Ron and Terry Woods -- Kavana formed a 29-piece ensemble and recorded an album, For the Children, to raise funds for LILT (London Irish Live Trust), a charity organization working for peace in Northern Ireland.

Kavana and Terry Woods have continued to work together. They recorded an album, Home Fire, released as Kavana's second solo effort, featuring Irish music performed in an unrehearsed, spontaneous style. Together with Miriam Kavana and Rod Demick, Kavana and Woods formed a band, the Bucks, and recorded an album, Dancing to the Ceili Band, in 1995. Kavana has appeared in and/or composed music for the soundtracks of such films as Sid and Nancy and Ryan's Daughter. ~ Craig Harris
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Irish Ways

1. Songs Of Our Land

2. Wild Geese

3. Young Robert Emmet

4. Fenians, The Land League And Parnell

5. Seevocuda

7. Robert Emmet's Last Words/Scaffold Passage

8. The Wife Of The Bold Tenant Farmer

9. Before History's Tale Began

10. Penal Days

12. The Uncrowned King/The Pinch O' Snuff

13. The Invaders

14. The Penal Laws

15. After '98

16. Revival And Rising

17. Arrival Of The Celts

18. Farewell Granuaille

19. The Plains Of Waterloo

20. The Foggy Dew

21. St Patrick

22. Deora

23. The Whiteboys

24. Easter 1916

25. The Partial Catastrophe (Medley):

26. Rambling Irishman

28. War Of Independence And Civil War

29. A Pagan Cult Survives

30. The Bardic Tradition And Death Of O'Carolan

31. Daniel O'Connell

32. Four Green Fields

33. The Wran (Medley):

35. O'Connell & Erin Go Bragh

36. Cry, Cry, Cry

37. The Vikings And Brian Bor

38. A Modest Proposal

39. Further Catastrophe (Medley)

40. Free State To The Troubles

41. Weep Now For Poor Roisin

42. John Barry

43. O'Connell's Dead

44. In The Smoke

45. Macmurrough And The Normans

46. American War Of Independence

47. The Praties

48. The Travellin' People/Death Chant Of The Navaho

49. The Bards

50. At Valley Forge

51. The Great Hunger

52. You Northern Gaels

53. Henry VIII

54. French Revolution

55. Mad Visions

56. Reconciliation

57. For All His Wives...

58. The Carmagnoles

59. The Famine Year

60. Old Ireland/New Ireland

61. A Royal And A Reasonable Fellow

62. The Sean Bhean Bhocht

63. Skibereen

64. Lovers And Friends

65. Irish Slaves

66. The Rights Of Man

67. Diaspora

68. Irish Ways

69. Elizabeth And The Planters

70. The Summer Soldiers

71. The New Road

72. Liza

73. 1798 And The United Irishmen

74. Canada-I-O

75. Follow Me Up To Carlow

76. Dunlavin Green

77. The New Dominion

78. Cromwell, Agent Of A Wrathful God

79. Boolavogue

80. Crossing The Niagara

81. Young Ned Of The Hill

82. Forging Of The Pikes

83. Bound For South Australia

84. Lament For Ireland

85. Rising Of The Moon

86. The Plains Of Emu

87. Remember The 12Th

88. Who Fears To Speak Of '98

89. Adieu And Farewell

90. Derry, The Boyne, Aughrim & The Treaty Of Limerick

91. Roddy Mccorley

92. On The Tide

93. Sean O'Dhuibhir A'Ghleanna

94. A Winter's Tale

95. No Irish Need Apply

96. Farewell To Patrick Sarsfield

97. By Memory Inspired

98. The Battle Of Bull Run

99. Both Sides Of The Boyne

100. Truth And Understanding

101. Muldoon, The Solid Man

102. The Union

103. The Shamrock Shore

Comments

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