Recently among some studio archives I came across an old (2009) recording that I'd forgotten all about. It was Bap and me singing Love Hurts together. When I heard the song again after so long it brought back some very precious memories, so I’m putting out a Special Edition EP featuring Love Hurts.
This is my way of helping people remember Bap and his music - but the EP is about more than music. It’s also about who Bap really was, the man behind the music, both in his own words (spoken) and from my personal tribute.
Thanks everyone for your support.
"Raving For Bap" sleeve notes, from Stuart Bailie
We miss Bap Kennedy. There was a tone in his music that will not be replaced. It was an authentic part of the man and there was a grain in his voice that related like Hank Williams, Townes Van Zandt or Gram Parsons. Fathoms of blues. Untold stories between the cracks in the words. His lyrics hinted at the deeps but he wasn’t inclined to put it all out there. You had to trust Bap, and we did.
I used to see him perform with Energy Orchard at the New Pegasus in north London, 1988. They were a displaced Irish band in a fusty venue on Green Lanes. When they played, the venue was busy and most of the people there were also immigrants with cracked histories, sad eyes and a bit of drink in them.
But they were uplifting nights because Energy Orchard had the songs and the chops and Bap rallied all the souls when he sang about the waterways and the passage out. These were sentimental tunes about the beautiful girl and the leaving of Beechmount and the cost of a livelihood across the Irish Sea. Paul Brady and Christy Moore were writing those songs also, but that did not lessen the ache. And of course there was the ultimate touchstone of ‘Astral Weeks’, Van Morrison’s album about the roving condition. Bap sang ‘Walk In Love’ in a simpatico style. He was searching a direction home but ‘Hard Street’ was essentially a tough passage.
Energy Orchard channeled it well for a time and then Bap lit out alone for Nashville and the essence of Hank, the Hillbilly Shakespeare. The connection was well met and ‘The Way I Love Her’ was proper, lovesick blues. Steve Earle was helping out and Nanci Griffith sang a while and the wells of melancholy fetched up many good songs. ‘Lonesome Lullabye’ was rough comfort. He also co-wrote with Van, sang with Shane MacGowan and there was beat literature in ‘Moriarty’s Blues’, a treatment on the ever-rolling Neal Cassady.
Bap did make it home and into a profound relationship with Brenda Boyd. He started to slough off layers of reserve, sang about space travel and the rescued Chilean miner Jimmy Sanchez. He was happily realised as an artist and a man in love. The cancer came and he blogged about his lot with great poise and honesty. His fans put his music all over social media and the guy came to appreciate how many people were listening and believing. We lost Bap much too soon, but the music offers a deal of consolation.
Brian Bell and The Raving Beauties understand this. Their recordings have a lift and stylistic verve, but the original heart still pushes blood through those chambers. Such a songbook, and doubtless many other artists will visit it over time. This is a beginning, of sorts.
To pre-order 10” vinyl
To donate (via Raving For Bap)
To donate (via Marian’s challenge)
Brian Bell was interviewed this week about on the BBC Arts Show about RAVING FOR BAP, the new Bap tribute EP.
All profits will go to Marie Curie.
Listen again from 16:45
Listen to the inspiring story of Bap's sister Marian Bunton and her “dry year” to raise funds for Marie Curie.
Marian's interview with Vinny Hurrell will be transmitted on the show tonight some time between 10 and 11
Click here to listen live.
Click here if you'd like to donate to Marie Curie via Marian’s challenge.
Ralph McLean featured RAVING FOR BAP on his show on BBC Radio Ulster last night, including with an interview with Brian Bell.
The EP is already raising funds for Marie Curie, as is the “dry year” 2017 challenge by Bap’s sister Marian Bunton.
Listen Again is available till 22 Dec 2017 (From 5 min 20)
To pre-order 10” vinyl
To donate (via Raving For Bap)
To donate (via Marian’s challenge)
Where would you start to commemorate a musical genius and raise money for the hospice where he died? Marian Bunton, brother of Bap Kennedy, started by saying no to alcohol. Here, she tells Gail Bell, why she has no intention of falling off the wagon
The Raving Beauties who, together with the band Dreaming Spires, release a hospice fundraising EP this week in memory of the late Bap Kennedy.
A VERY personal, very 'dry', year-long quest to raise money for Belfast's Marie Curie Hospice is nearing completion for Marian Bunton, who gave up alcohol in January "out of respect and love" for her much-loved brother, the late Belfast singer-songwriter, Bap Kennedy.
Martin 'Bap' Kennedy (54) passed away at the hospice on November 1 last year, following a short, bravely fought battled with pancreatic cancer.
And, in a two-pronged challenge to range money for the "amazing" hospice where he spent his final days surrounded by his wife and family, the end of Marian's crusade coincides with the beginning of a new one: the release of a new tribute EP to mark the first anniversary of the singer's death.
Raving For Bap is being officially released on Friday and is a collaboration between long-time friend Brian Bell of Brighton-based The Raving Beauties and Oxford band The Dreaming Spires, with multi-instrumentalist Joe Bennett handling production duties.
The record, which includes five songs from Bap's solo career, as well as his years as frontman for Energy Orchard, is being released on the Farm Music label – although, the collaborators decided at the start that they didn't simply want to do 'straight' covers.
"The Raving Beauties and Dreaming Spires had done a couple of gigs together and we became friendly," Brian explains. "Originally, we talked about recording some joint new material, but Bap had been on my mind so much since he passed away, that the idea of a tribute EP came about and all the guys from the band were keen to get involved.
"We didn't want to just do 'straight' covers of Bap's original arrangements, so tried to choose songs that would showcase his wonderful song craft and melodic flair, but in a very different way."
The tribute EP – all profits from sales will go to the hospice – has been warmly endorsed by Bap's widow, Brenda, who described the resulting sound as "cool, 60s American West Coast" which would have been "loved" by her late husband.
Those sentiments have been echoed by Marian who says she will always be grateful to the Marie Curie nurses in Belfast for the "warmth and respect" they showed her brother while in their care.
"The dedication of the nurses, doctors and staff can never be repaid," she says. "It's a privilege to join forces to raise funds for Marie Curie with The Raving Beauties and I love their take on Bap's music."
Her own, unusual fundraising initiative started on NewYear's Day and – by her own agreement – officially ends at midnight on December 31. That means no glass of wine with Christmas lunch and avoidance of her favourite Friday night tipple – a vodka and diet coke – at every festive get-together.
"I won't say it has been an easy challenge, but Bap gave up alcohol for 12 years, so I thought I could at least last without it for 12 months," says the 54 year-old who always enjoyed being "Irish twins" with Bap – for six weeks of each year they were both the same age.
"I wanted to do it for him – I hope he would be proud of me – and also to raise funds for the hospice and the amazing care he received there. After he died, I thought, 'What can I do?' and came up with this idea. I set myself an initial target of £2,000, but I have reached more than £2,500 to date and hopefully that will increase before the end of the year."
Describing herself as a "moderate" drinker, she says the most difficult part of her self-imposed sobriety was a family party in January – to celebrate her father's 80th birthday.
"It was the first family occasion without Bap and I was still grieving – I still am – and did so without the crutch of alcohol. I was also just a few weeks into my challenge, so I would say that event was the most difficult. My mum and dad were delighted, though, because I was able to drive them home."
Any unexpected highs? "Losing two and-a-half stone was definitely a bonus and I can honestly say I have never felt fitter. My dad was an athletics coach and we all used to run – I have done two Belfast marathons and one in Dublin – so giving up alcohol has made me think about running again.
"The funny thing is, everyone keeps asking me if I'm looking forward to my first drink, but I don't know if I even want one now. Bap didn't want it and didn't need it – he was a fantastic character without it – and I'm starting to feel that maybe I don't need it now either."
By Gail Bell
Read on IrishNews.com
As reported by Belfast Telegraph.
The music of Belfast singer-songwriter Bap Kennedy is being celebrated with a new release in aid of charity.
Bap passed away last November aged 54 after a short battle with cancer.
The release of Raving For Bap by The Raving Beauties marks the first anniversary of his death.
The five-track EP, featuring cover art by Kenny McKendry and sleeve notes from music journalist Stuart Bailie, will be available on limited edition 10in vinyl and on digital download.
All profits will go to Belfast's Marie Curie Hospice.
The record includes songs from Bap's solo career as well as his years as frontman for Energy Orchard and is being released on the Farm Music label.
The project is a collaboration between Brighton-based Belfast expat Brian Bell and Oxford/Sussex band The Dreaming Spires, with multi-instrumentalist Joe Bennett handling production duties.
Bap's sister Marian Bunton began fundraising for the Marie Curie Hospice in his memory at the beginning of 2017 by taking on the challenge of abstaining from alcohol for a whole year. Proceeds from Raving For Bap will be added to the £2,000-plus Marian has already collected, and further fundraisers are being planned for the new year.
She said: "I will be always grateful to the Marie Curie nurses in Belfast for the warmth and respect they showed my brother whilst in their care.
"The dedication of the nurses, doctors and staff can never be repaid.
"It's a privilege to join forces to raise funds for Marie Curie with The Raving Beauties and I love their take on Bap's music.
"Bap wants his music to live on and Raving For Bap will certainly help do that."
The musician's widow Brenda is delighted with the record.
"I'd like to say a big thanks to Brian and The Raving Beauties for making this tribute EP and for helping to raise funds for the Marie Curie Hospice," she said.
Mr Bell has been working on the tribute for the past year.
He explained: "They are all Bap's songs which we tried to reframe in a different way. There is a Sixties vibe and lots of guitar jingling and harmonies, but we hope we stayed faithful to the spirit of the songs and melodies."
- Stephanie Bell
To order the limited edition 10in vinyl version of 'Raving for Bap' EP go to
Click here to read on BelfastTelegraph.co.uk
Brenda's full interview with Vinny Hurrell is now available as a podcast. This was recorded on 30 Oct 2016 in advance of the first anniversary of Bap's death (1 Nov)
You can listen or download at this link.
The widow of legendary Belfast musician Bap Kennedy has vowed to ensure his music continues to touch hearts all over the world. Speaking for the first time about her heartbreaking loss, Brenda Kennedy says more than anything she wants her husband's legacy to be a positive one, just like the man himself. . . . .
BAP KENNEDY (17 GIUGNO 1962 – 1 NOVEMBRE 2016)
Report from Italy
The widow of the late musician Bap Kennedy is to mark the first anniversary of his death by sharing songs from his last album with fans online.
As reported by the Belfast Telegraph
The following post by Brenda on 1 Oct 2017 has received a phenomenal response with thousands of people clicking on to listen to Nothing Can Stand In The Way Of Love, from Bap's final album, Reckless Heart:
ANNIVERSARIES & SPECIAL MOMENTS
Today would have been Bap’s and my wedding anniversary.
This day last year we were still living in Marie Curie together; and as an anniversary present I got Bap a wireless speaker to listen to the final mixes of Reckless Heart.
It was a very special time as we listened together, and Bap was happy to know the album was going to be released.
Throughout October up till the 1st anniversary of Bap’s death on 1 Nov, I'm going to be posting every track from Reckless Heart. (They’re all great!) I think this is a good and fitting way to honour and remember Bap and the magic of his music.
So please click the music player below to listen, enjoy and share.
"Everyone agrees that music & Ireland have lost one their best ambassadors"
Le Cri Du Coyote (France)
Review as translated to English (Google Translate)
In May 2016, Bap Kennedy was on the Point to participate in a festival in Mayo, Ireland, when violent pains Stomach led him to the hospital where A cancer, inoperable, was diagnosed. Less than six months later, on the day Toussaint, he breathed his last, Too early to see the release of the album he had recorded Shortly before falling ill. He had, however, To realize how much he was loved and his work Appreciated. His recognition was late but unanimous and Everyone agrees that music and Ireland Have lost one of their best ambassadors. Reckless Heart would undoubtedly have been a great success for Martin "Bap" Kennedy, so this disc, rich of ten Original compositions, is one of the great albums recently. It is the work of a goldsmith in love with his art Which is translated into the most beautiful way, with texts Which swing between hope and despair, melodies Which immediately catch the listener. I do not know how Point Bap was involved in the final production, but This point of view is once again a total success. Next to Brenda Kennedy (harmonies and percussions) and Nicky Scott (bass), Gordy McAllister (guitar) and Rod McVey (keyboards and accordion) are doing a brilliant job. From The first title, Nothing Can Stand In The Way Of Love, the Guitars, acoustic and electric, catchy and vibrating, Are joined by a piano and then a accordion full of warmth. The piano then takes the direction of operations for The Good As Gold swing. I Should Have Said is a ballad Romantic typical of the artist. There are also titles More rock like Help Me Roll It, Por Favor or It's Not Me It's You, incursions to the tex-mex as Henry Atrim (A reference to Billy The Kid) or to the honky-tonk with Reckless Heart or Honky Tonk Baby. It is difficult to speak Of this album by erasing the emotional side provoked by Its premature disappearance but it is precisely the capacity Intrinsic of Bap to provoke emotion and to pass without From one atmosphere to another that brings it closer to an immense In which he paid tribute in the past, Hank Williams.
Bap has come in at #22 this week on the Alternate Root chart with his final album "Reckless Heart".
Many thanks to all involved.
Tune in to BBC Radio Scotland to hear songs from Bap
(Another Country With Ricky Ross) 10 Nov 2016
Listen again here