Norman Kennedy

Norman Kennedy
Scottish-born singer and master storyteller
Sat. May 18 1996, 8:00 p.m.
First Parish Church, 35 Church Street, Watertown, MA

Norman Kennedy is an unaccompanied singer of traditional Scottish songs. He learned his songs naturally by growing up around some of the great Scottish singers of the last generation. He has a wide repertoire of songs learned directly from them without the facility of tapes and records. He learned them, not because he wanted to be a folk singer, but because even as a boy he was drawn to the music.

In concert, Norman draws only from that body of old songs. His concerts have a relaxed informality about them. He comes out on stage, takes a seat and seemingly starts a conversation with the audience. His dry sense of humor and memory of the stories surrounding the songs make his listeners appreciate not only the old songs, but the old ways as well. "You can tell stories, you can recite them, you can sing them," he says. Singing and recollecting are all part of the same cloth. With this directness he presents ballads -- stories of love won and lost, betrayal, death -- in a way that holds everyone's attention.

Norman shares what is enduring about traditional songs - their authenticity to life, the humorous turns of every-day events, the beauty of old melodies. As Norman explains it: "These songs are my roots; they're older and more important than I am." This unpretentiousness makes Norman's music as wonderful to the audience as it is important to him.

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