Once in a while, America produces an exceptional artist with tremendous talent and versatility. Such an Artist is KATHLEEN KEANE. A vibrant force in traditional Irish music and beyond, she can ignite an audience with her potent combination of extraordinary music and classic beauty.
A multi-instrumentalist, singer, composer, champion stepdancer and actress, Kathleen is one of the finest exponents of the Irish community in Chicago. She was a "child prodigy on the whistle" (MARTIN HAYES). Her virtuosic tin whistle playing earned her appearances in several hit movies, including "THE ROAD TO PERDITION" (Tom Hanks) and "BACKDRAFT" (Ron Howard). She is also "one of the world's finest Celtic fiddlers" (Chicago Tribune), and is "a phenomenon with that instrument" (Rambles). Her whistle and fiddle skills were also featured on the "CINDERELLA MAN" (Russell Crowe) soundtrack. A consummate performer, she has graced stages around the world with TITANIC band, GAELIC STORM. Her explosive style and soulful brilliance led them to new heights. She composed, sang, played and arranged for their album "Tree", earning them their highest BILLBOARD World Music chart position to date at #2. During her days in Gaelic Storm she made several TV appearances, including recurring episodes of "Providence" and performances on "The Roseanne Barr Show". Kathleen resigned from Gaelic Storm after more than two years of concert touring. As a solo artist, Kathleen collaborated on an original composition for "Windham Hill's "Celtic Christmas Silver Anniversary" album which featured a host of respected Celtic players. The track entitled "THE LONGING", which she co-wrote, sang, produced and performed, resulted in her first # 1 record in BILLBOARD'S World Music chart, topping the chart for nearly a month. Kathleen's musical style embraces her first love of Irish music and blends fluidly into modern contexts. Testament to that is her self-titled debut solo recording which garnished lavish reviews from both the press and fans. From movie soundtracks to commercials to Grammy nominated albums, and from intimate acoustic performances to headlining world stages, Kathleen is an exceptional musician who rises to the occasion on any platform with the highest performance standard.
Kathleen's dance history is equally impressive. She is a champion Irish stepdancer, choreographer and instructor. She began her dancing career at the age of five with the Dennis Dennehy School of Irish Dancing (where Michael Flatley (Riverdance, Lord of the Dance) studied Irish dancing.) She quickly progressed over the next few years accumulating hundreds of medals and trophies, having reached the open championship level by the young age of nine, and winning the title of Midwest Regional Champion at her first regional Oireachtus. She transferred to the Flatley School of Irish Dancing, where she was privately tutored by Michael Flatley and continued her success at the competitive level, qualifying to compete at the World Championships in Ireland seven times out of seven attempts. (When she was just 10 years old, she also made her debut musical recording which also featured Michael Flatley on the flute. It was released in 1981 by the Irish Musicians' Association of Chicago and captured the vibrant Irish music scene in Chicago during that era.) When Michael quit teaching to pursue his own performance career, she continued studying with Canadian dance instructors June Butler and Ruth Garrett. Her tenth and last year of competitive dance was with the Trinity Academy of Irish Dancing. At the age of fifteen, Kathleen officially retired from the competitive stage and took a few years break from dancing as advised by her doctor due to knee injuries: however, the demand for her skills as both a teacher and performer quickly brought her back to the dance floor. She began private tutoring and also taught Irish Dance at the prestigious Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago. Her performance prowess did not go unnoticed as she was asked to be the featured solo dancer with world reknown Irish Musician/Scholar Mick Moloney (Green Fields of America). Her tours with Mick rekindled her love for dancing and Kathleen continues to perform as both a musician and dancer. Last fall she choregraphed all of the dance numbers for Tomaseen Foley's "A Celtic Christmas" with the UCSC Symphony Orchestra. Kathleen is also a TCRG candidate for the Irish Dancing Certification awarded by An Comisiun le Rinci Gaelacha, Dublin, Ireland.
Quite an extraordinary musical and dance career from a young lady who was a Congressional Scholar and who also graduated from Dominican University as the Distinguished Senior in the Bachelor of Arts Honors Degree Program in International Business. But music was her first calling. Even in her earlier years, Kathleen was quite ambitious having opened The Keane Academy of Irish Music when she was only 16 years old. It quickly became the premier school of its kind in the Chicagoland area. She was happy to be giving back to the community some of the teaching she had received from her mentors LIZ CARROLL and MARY MAYER. She quickly led her students into winning regional championships and qualifying for the world championships in Ireland. Kathleen herself garnered numerous American and International awards, having achieved top three status in the world championships on both the tin whistle and the flute. She began her professional career in THE DROVERS where she stayed long enough to record two critically acclaimed albums. From there she was inspired to start her own group WILDING with percussionist JACKIE MORAN and guitarist DENNIS CAHILL who is renowned for his work with fiddler MARTIN HAYES. Always up for new challenges, Kathleen took the role of lead vocalist and also integrated her wooden flute and button accordian playing into the groupâ€™s unique blend of traditional and contemporary music. Later on, her minor degree in Music Performance became invaluable when she was selected to be the lead vocalist in a month long run of Mabou Minesâ€™ theatrical production of "Peter and Wendy" at Yale University Theatre, which featured an all original score by Johnny Cunningham.
Kathleen's quest for new musical opportunities and challenges inspired her to move to the sunny shores of California. She spent four years in LA where she immediately became an integral part of the music scene both as a stage performer and studio recording musician and was represented by the prestigious LEVIN AGENCY of Beverly Hills. While in LA, she also attended the Holmes Center for Hypnotherapy where she was inspired to pursue her Hypnotherapy Certification, which she received in the fall of 2003. Now back in Chicago, Kathleen is represented by both bmgTALENT and shirleyhamilton. She is slowly making her way up to Canada where new adventures await her. Whatever she encounters, this Renaissance woman will undoubtedly meet it with unbridled enthusiasm and astonishing success.
Check out the artist's website:
1. Carmel Mahoney Mulhaire/Kitty Gone A Milking/The Blackhaired Las
2. A Bunch of Thyme
3. Tatter Jack Walsh/Kitty from Coleraine/East to Glendart
4. The Coalminer/Speed the Plough/The Rainy Day
5. Fairy Queen
6. Unknown/Ships Are Sailing
7. Patiently Waiting
8. Wild Mountain Thyme
9. The Sally Gardens
10. Unknown/Fr. Tom's Wager