David Keenan

(1971 - Present)

Irish songwriter, musician, and poet David Keenan was born and raised in Dundalk, Ireland, near the border with Northern Ireland. He moved to Liverpool after leaving school, where he busked, attended shows, and wrote music based on his developing life experiences. A move to London was followed by his return to Dublin, where he began to play live shows consistently and started releasing album on his own label, Barrack Street Records.

After self-releasing four EPs—Cobwebs, Strip Me Bare, Strip Me Bare Vol. 2, and Evidence of Living—Keenan put out his critically acclaimed debut album, A Beginner's Guide to Bravery, with Rubyworks Records in January of 2020. The album reached number 1 in the Independent charts and was the best-selling vinyl album in Ireland during the week of its release. In the same month, Keenan traveled to Paris to serve as artist-in-residence at the Centre Culturel Irlandais, where he wrote his first collection of poetry, Soundings of an Unnamed Bird, published with Inisciuin Press. He also created the live album–cum–concert film Alchemy & Prose (2020).

Keenan followed his first full-length album with WHAT THEN? (2021), CRUDE (2022), and the EP CRUDE BOYO (2023), all of which gathered further praise from fans and critics. Keenan has toured consistently in Europe and North America, and his many appearances include two headline nights in Dublin’s Olympia Theatre and a performance on Electric Picnic’s main stage. He has toured with acts including Hozier, David Gray, Glen Hansard, Counting Crows, and Rodrigo y Gabriela.

Keenan embraces a peripatetic lifestyle, spending time in cities around Europe. As a musician, he was praised by The Guardian for having “the epic sweep of Van Morrison, the high notes of Tim Buckley, and the soul of Samuel Beckett.” The recipient of a residency at New York City’s Irish Arts Centre, Keenan’s many projects include writing the music for Evanne Kilgallon's experimental play An Lár. He is performing in the UK and Ireland in 2023 and will play a headlining show in Dublin’s National Concert Hall in September.


More David Keenan

Video: Keenan reads Oscar Wilde's "The Harlot's House" for Poetry Day Ireland 2019

Audio: Keenan is interviewed by NPR in 2019

Video: Watch Keenan's concert film Alchemy & Prose