Spotlight: The High Kings

The High Kings Spotlight

This week we’re turning the Spotlight to The High Kings, a quartet of Dubliners whose tight vocal harmonies and energetic live performances have helped popularize traditional Irish music around the globe. The band is bringing the sounds of Ireland stateside this Thursday for a performance at Levitt Shell Sioux Falls — before the music starts, get to know them with some trivia!

  • The High Kings’ self-titled debut album became a surprise international hit in 2008, claiming the #2 spot on theBillboard World Album chart and going platinum in the band’s native Ireland. The album also reached #150 on US charts, becoming the only Irish folk album ever to crack the top 200.
  • The High Kings have fans in very high places ­— the group performed at The White House in 2012 with President Barack Obama and Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny in attendance.
  • The band’s name refers to the mythical High Kings of pre-Christian Ireland, who, according to legend, consorted with goddesses and were married to the land itself. 
  • Although it’s difficult to place exact dates on traditional songs, some tunes in The High Kings’ repertoire are thought to be over 300 years old.  
  • The High Kings are no strangers to huge outdoor concerts – over 15,000 people flocked into London’s Trafalgar Square to see the band perform on Saint Patrick’s Day in 2012.
  • In addition to the familiar sounds of accordion, guitar, and banjo, The High Kings incorporate a traditional Irish frame drum called a bodhrán into their music. (If unusual instruments pique your interest, check out our last blog post for more!)  
From jaunty jigs to heartfelt ballads, The High Kings’ mastery of the Irish musical lexicon has delighted audiences around the world for the past decade. Witness them in action for FREE this Thursday at Levitt Shell Sioux Falls!

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