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Bap Kennedy

Irish-born singer and songwriter Bap Kennedy has won a global audience for his music, which fuses elements of folk and rock with a decidedly Celtic world view. Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland on June 17, 1962, Martin "Bap" Kennedy got his start in music when he was 16, playing in a short-lived punk rock band called Sellout. Several years later, Kennedy joined a band called the Bankrobbers, and when Kennedy and a few of his bandmates teamed up with members of another Belfast outfit, Ten Past Seven, the group evolved into Energy Orchard, whose blend of lyrical folk and hard-driving rock earned them frequent comparisons with Van Morrison. After relocating to London, Energy Orchard won a following after playing a long-running residency at the New Pegasus, a pub in Hackney, which led to a record deal with MCA. Energy Orchard released five albums between 1990 and 1996, but despite critical praise and the endorsement of Van Morrison, who hired the band as his opening act for several tours, they never enjoyed a major commercial breakthrough. After Energy Orchard broke up, Kennedy got a call from American songwriter Steve Earle, who had been a fan of the group; Earle invited Kennedy to come to Nashville to record some music, which led to Earle producing Kennedy's solo debut, 1998's Domestic Blues, which featured guest appearances by Nancy Griffith and Jerry Douglas and was initially released on Earle's E-Squared label. One song from the album, "Vampire," appeared on the soundtrack of the critically acclaimed indie drama You Can Count on Me.