Castledaly teen joins up with The Fureys for major tour
Little did Castledaly teenager Adam Kelly realise when he picked up his first banjo at the tender age of 12 that he would end up just six years later on tour with world-famous Irish folk group, The Fureys.
It has been a whirlwind few weeks for 18-year old Adam as he prepares to join The Fureys, for their huge Irish and UK tour which will see the group playing 25 dates in venues all across Ireland, before heading to the UK for a tour which will take them all across England, Scotland and Wales until the end of May 2022.
“I still can’t believe it,” admits the only son of Lorraine and Tony Kelly. “It’s a huge break for me and to be honest, I’m still trying to take it all in.”
Adam says his Mam “nearly started crying” when he told her the news that he would be joining The Fureys on stage for their Irish and UK tour! “She was delighted for me, everyone is, and I am just delighted myself, it’s the best news I got in a long time.”
The young musician only completed his Leaving Certificate in Moate Community School last June and is currently working with a security firm. “They have been very understanding and I had no bother getting the time off to go on tour with The Fureys because they know how much it means to me and they are all very happy for me to get such a big break,” he explains.
Adam Kelly got his first guitar as a Christmas present when he was 10 years old, but he took up the banjo two years later after being persuaded to do so by his late Granddad, Martin Kelly.
“My granddad passed away in 2014, but he was a great musician himself and would be very well known around the Midlands as a bass player with Jimmy Rabbitte’s Big 8 Showband from Clara,” says Adam “so he was always a great influence on me and he really enjoyed listening to me playing the banjo.”
From the time he first picked up a banjo, Adam Kelly proved to be a natural musician and under the expert eye of his banjo teacher, Joe Connaire, he won numerous awards at Fleadh Cheoils around the country including the Leinster Fleadh in 2018.
“I am still in weekly contact with Joe Connaire six years later, and he has taught me everything I know about the banjo so I am really grateful to him,” a grateful Adam explained.
The young Castledaly teenager played with the Trad Group in Moate Community College and he also played banjo with a local ceili band, but it was while he was playing alongside Camillus Hiney at a Trad Session in Tubber that he was asked if he would be interested in joining The Fureys for their Ireland and UK tour.
“Camillus is from Ballycumber and he has been playing the accordion with the Fureys for the past eight years, and he told me they had a vacancy for a banjo player and that I should consider it.”
Adam travelled to meet with The Fureys two weeks ago and he said they were “very sound” and made him feel very welcome. “I played a few tunes with them, so after they heard me playing they decided to take me into the band, and I am still trying to get my head around it,” he laughs.
Adam will join The Fureys on December 27 for 25 tour dates across Ireland before departing for the UK in February for a major tour which will see the band play tour dates across England, Scotland and Wales until the end of May 2022.
“It will be an unforgettable experience for me,” says Adam, who has one older sister, 21-year-old Nicole, and whose other big hobby outside music is boxing.
“All my family were involved in boxing and my father and uncles would have won national titles, so I love boxing myself and would hope to pursue it as a hobby when I get back from the tour, ” he says.
Is he at all fazed by the fact that he over 50 years younger than some of the remaining members of The Fureys?
“I know I will be the baby in the band, that’s for sure, but that doesn’t bother me at all, it’s a dream come true for me to get such a huge opportunity at just 18 years of age, so I am definitely going to make the most of it,” he says.