Musical duo finds community, love through Celtic music

Published: Oct. 3, 2022 at 2:03 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - A passion for Celtic culture and music sparked the love story for a pair of musicians behind the group known as Kinnfolk.

The husband-and-wife duo plays shows throughout the Roanoke Valley, but say the Celtic music community in the area helped inspire them to dive deeper into their instruments.

“So I was the weird kid in college that was in to that Irish stuff, and when I moved up here and found a group of people that really enjoyed it, instead of going to a Highland Games or Celtic festival, that was really cool,” Josh Kinn said.

It was a public jam like the one hosted every Monday at Big Lick Brewing Company that sparked their relationship.

“Some of the other session members were like you should make some duets, which may have been about more than just the music in retrospect,” Julie Kinn said.

Now their mission is to entertain listeners, while striking a balance between tradition and their own style.

“We think about a lot what it means for us to be participating in Irish traditional music while being Americans, because as we mentioned before this music is very much alive and exists all around the globe,” Julie Kinn said.

Sometimes that means adding a Celtic flare to a popular song or sharing information about things like their clothing.

“There’s nothing more Celtic than a kilt, so when you’re performing that’s the first thing people lock on to, so draw them in, and make them listen to the music a little more,” Josh Kinn said.

Those conversations help people discover their love for a different style.

“Almost every time if we perform somewhere that’s a brewery or a winery, and there are people who are just there for the drinks and not necessarily there for us. We will have someone come up every time and say ‘I had no idea I like this kind of music but my toe was tapping,’” Julie Kinn said.

Kinnfolk is preparing to release its latest album titled “The Knotted Circle” Oct. 14. They have already released a music video for their single Byker Hill.

You can find their music on their website or on streaming platforms like Spotify.