Katell Keineg

With a sound that traverses modern jazz, blues, and folk, Katell Keineg is an alternative pop/rock musician and singer/songwriter born in Brittany, France and raised in the Rhymney Valley of Wales, U.K. Born in 1965 to a Breton-American poet and Welsh political activist, her upbringing was enriched with her parents' passion for activism as well as a profound love for music after she was exposed the traditional folk music of both Wales and Breton. She began singing in choirs and discovered the music of Led Zeppelin and the Beatles. At the age of 16, she began writing her own songs and busking around Cardiff, leading to her performing around the rest of the U.K. and Ireland. She eventually settled in Dublin where she began to focus more on her own material before relocating to New York in 1992. There she put out her debut 7" single "Hestia" in 1993, a morose and atmospheric track that lyrically focused on lamentation and rebirth. That same year saw her perform guest vocals on Iggy Pop's track "Mixin' the Colors," from his American Caesar album. Pop introduced Keineg's material to Elektra, which led to a record deal and the release of her debut full-length, Ô Seasons Ô Castles, in 1994. Her sophomore effort, Jet, was released in 1997. Several years of inactivity passed. In 1997, Keineg's close friend Jeff Buckley passed away and she fondly recalled his memory by singing at his memorial service and later at his 1999 birthday tribute concert, where she ended her set of traditional Celtic folk songs with a rendition of Led Zeppelin's "Thank You." After leaving her contract with Elektra and regaining the rights to her first two albums, she returned in 2002 with the What's the Only Thing Worse Than the End of Time? EP via Field Recording Co. Her third record, High July, followed in 2004 and released via Megaphone Music; she spent several years touring and promoting her material. She also spent a considerable amount of time traveling on her own, soaking up the varied cultures of places such as South America, Africa, and the Caribbean; the influences of which went on to her affect her subsequent material, as she began to experiment with different kinds of percussion, acoustics, and singing. In 2010, she released At the Mermaid Parade, followed by more international touring and traveling. She then went on to put out a single in Welsh titled "Platform 0" in 2012. 2015 saw her contribute an essay about Nina Simone to the book Here She Comes Now: Women in Music Who Have Changed Our Lives. Two years later she collaborated with Dutch composer and saxophonist Marike van Dijk and her 45-piece chamber ensemble to record an album released in early 2018, followed by a series of promotional performances. Later that summer, Katell performed in a show titled Highway One, a hybrid of live music and theater written with her father as part of Cardiff's Festival of Voice. ~ Rob Wacey

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