By HELEN NORRIS
Staff Writer, Senior Life
Photo by Helen Norris
"His voice is just phenomenal." Helen Norris Senior Life October, 2001
John Kennedy has become a well-known Irish folk singer-songwriter in the Michiana area. He is self-taught combined with the experiences he has had with other musicians. He continues to grow with his music by sharing the pleasure of it with others.
John Kennedy has become a well-known Irish folk singer/ songwriter in the Michiana area. Born in Ohio and raised in South Bend, he was influenced at an early age by a tradition of singing Irish folk songs with his family. He was also greatly inspired while serving in the Peace Corps in Chili from 1979 to 1981. His awareness of the universal language and joy that his folk songs and guitar brought into his life and that of the natives became a driving force.
Upon returning to the United States, Kennedy obtained a doctorate in development economics. Although his dream was to commit his life to his music exclusively, he completed his graduate program "out of stubbornness." The college road appeared to be a safer track to earning a living.
Kennedy says he is self -taught combined with the experiences he has had with other musicians. . As a singer-songwriter his instrumental repertoire includes: guitar, tin whistle, harmonica, bohdran and banjo.
Kennedy feels his best rehearsals are when he is playing before an audience.... At times, he feels he is singing to a single person in a crowd and they both feel the connection. When this happens "a little space opens up and I just sing my heart out." His voice is absolutely phenomenal. "Every day is different with music. There is a magic door you go through where tension and clocks go away, and there is no undone work."
After one recent performance an older woman approached Kennedy in tears. She told him how important his music was to her because she and her husband, who had recently passed away, had seen him perform many times. She told Kennedy that his music was one of the only that things that brought her out of her house. Experiences such as these serve as a confirmation to the musician of the effect and importance of his music.
October 2001 Senior Life