Katell Keineg

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Katell KeinegKatell Keineg (born February 1965), is a Breton-Welsh singer-songwriter, based in Dublin and New York. Born in Brittany and raised in Cardiff, Katell Keineg is the second child and only daughter of Breton poet and playwright Paol Keineg and his then wife, Judith, a Welsh political activist and schoolteacher. Both parents were active in their nation's respective independence movement, Judith with Plaid Cymru, Paol with the UDB. The family moved to Wales where, exposed to Breton and Welsh folk music, Katell beginning singing, mainly in choirs and eisteddfods. Early influences included George Harrison, Robert Plant, The Beatles, The Skids, and Led Zeppelin.
She has cited The Song Remains the Same as influential; she watched it in the same year she began busking in Cardiff, which led to travels around the UK and Ireland playing at ad hoc gigs and festivals.
After taking a law degree at the London School of Economics, she lived for a few years in Cardiff and, at age 25, moved to Dublin, having particularly come to enjoy the city and its ambiences. Despite her annual trips to New York City, Dublin remains her home.In the mid-nineties, after a spell in Ireland, she went to live in New York and was quickly embraced by the buzzing cafe scene around St Mark's Place's Sin-e. In 1993, while building her reputation for "conveying a nearly beatific sense of joy in performance" (Los Angeles Times), she released a seven-inch single on Bob Mould's SOL Records label. That same year, Katell sang on Iggy Pop's "American Caesar" and following his passing of her single on to Elektra, they signed her and released her first album "O Seasons, O Castles" in 1994. 1997 saw the release of Katell's second album "Jet". Recorded in Bearsville,"Jet" received rave reviews and led to much touring in the U.S. and Europe. It was even named one of the "Best Overlooked Pop Masterpieces Of The Decade" by Esquire. Keineg's live work has included singing with Jeff Buckley, Allen Ginsberg and Calexico, opening for many people from Morphine to the Tarafs De Haidouks. In 2002, free from merger-addled Elektra, Katell released an E.P. entitled "What's The Only Thing Worse Than The End Of Time?" on Brooklyn based indie, Field Recording Co. The recording included a live performance of "River Man" from a tribute to Nick Drake held at St Ann's Church in Brooklyn. In their review of the night, The New York Times declared her "...a young songwriter due for her own cult, who travelled the fine edge between rapture and loss so essential to Mr Drake's art." Following the release of a second E.P. (Shaking The Disease), Keineg released "High July", her third album, in late 2004 to further enthusiastic reviews. A re-recorded version of "On Yer Way" from that album was used on the soundtrack of Deborah Kampmeier's indie film "Virgin" with Robin Wright Penn, also in 2004. Katell was the subject of a 6-page profile in The New York Times Sunday Magazine in July 2006 which led to sold out gigs in New York City. Summer 2007 was spent playing European festivals with concert pianist Katia Labeque's experimental band, B For Bang, whose first album was released in January 2008. Keineg releases a 4-song E.P. in January 2009 that includes the re-recorded "On Yer Way" and a Welsh language cover of the Super Furry Animals song "Y Gwyneb Iau". She has just finished recording her fourth album in New York and recently played at Levon Helm's Midnight Ramble in Woodstock.
Her first release was a seven-inch single called "Hestia" on SOL, an independent label co-owned by musicians Bob Mould and Nicholas Hill. She was signed by Elektra in 1993 and in 1994 her debut album, "Ô Seasons Ô Castles" was released. It garnered much acclaim, most especially from fellow musicians, the album's compositions demonstrating her keen, moving voice in a subtle range of styles. One of the songs, The Gulf of Araby, was played regularly by Natalie Merchant at concerts for several years and is featured on her live album "Live in Concert, New York City - June 13th 1999". Merchant also invited Keineg to sing on her debut album, Tigerlily, on the song Carnival.
For the next two years she continued to gig regularly, gaining new fans at events such as Lilith Fair in the summer of 1997. However, her second album, Jet, while it sold well among fans, was not well marketed by Elektra. Jet featured a biographical song about bisexual Argentine surrealist painter Leonor Fini. In the same year, her friend Jeff Buckley drowned in the Mississippi River at age thirty. An interview with Hot Press, meant to publicise her new album, was marked by this tragedy. Katell returned to New York where she sang at a tribute.
Following disappointing sales of Jet and a change of management at Elektra, Keineg endured a number of unhappy years at Elektra during which time she released no new music. Eventually she was able, after intense negotiations, to secure a release from her contract with Elektra and to gain back rights to her first two albums. Katell completed this process a couple of years ago, and after they were out of print for a while, "Ô Seasons Ô Castles" and "Jet" are now available again on the Field Recordings label (see www.katellkeineg.com for details). Also as a result of the return of the rights for the albums to Keineg, all of her music is now available on iTunes.
Following a few years out of the public eye, in 2002 Katell released a four-track CD titled "What's The Only Thing Worse Than The End of Time?" which more than marked a return to form. It consisted of the title track, an exquisite live version of Nick Drake's River Man sung at a Nick Drake Festival at St. Anne's, NYC, Waiting For the Weight of Space and Beautiful Day.
It was followed in 2004 by her third album, High July, released via the independent label Megaphone Music.
In spring 2006, Katell toured the UK with Adrian Crowley and Ann Scott. A high profile interview with Darcy Frey appeared in the New York Times, published July 2, 2006 [1] and this sparked new interest in Katell's music in the USA.
A mini tour of North Wales followed, with an appearance on S4C's Wedi Saith evening programme in which she played a cover version of Super Furry Animals' "Y Gwyneb Iau".
Katell began recording new songs at Ann Scott's studio in Dublin, and played several times at The Living Room in NYC, culminating in a month-long Friday night residency in February 2007. Katell and Ann are due to tour in Ireland in autumn 2007.
A new album entitled "At the Mermaid Parade" was released in March 2010.

Official Website: http://www.katellkeineg.com/