KEN PURCELL began piano lessons at age five and sang in both the junior and senior choirs at his church. His musical development ran the course of a typical musical teenager of the sixties; strumming guitar in a folk music trio and then playing his Vox Continental portable organ in several rock & roll bands. While in college he discovered bluegrass and renewed his affection for folk music in the coffeehouse scene. He played keyboard in several country and western bands in the late seventies and then discovered Irish folk and traditional music in the eighties.
Although Ken still performs many genres of music, he gravitated increasingly toward Irish music as his repertoire expanded to include historical music of the American Civil War and the maritime music popularized by the Irish artists he enjoyed. Ken’s youngest sons, Corey and Connor, were attracted to Irish music also, first taking step dancing lessons and eventually becoming accomplished musicians on button accordion and bodhran (Corey) and Irish flute and whistle (Connor). Ken enjoyed performing with his sons for several years as a family band until the boys developed their own style and claimed their musical independence. In 2011, Ken began playing with claw hammer banjoist, Jake Laubach, and in 2012 they began performing as the Jolly Roving Tars. Since launching the “Tars”, Ken and Jake’s distinctive repertoire, appearance and sound have taken them aboard a tall ship, a passenger train, maritime museums and numerous heritage festivals. Ken and Jake also perform with upright bass player Bob DellElba in a campfire, gospel and goodtime sing along folk trio, the Coplee Creek Clodhoppers.
Ken entertains solo for various events, senior citizen groups and retirement homes. As Gaston & Purcell (with violinist and manualist Bruce Gaston), Ken performs novelty and comedic music. He also performs kid’s concerts and still plays Irish music in various duos, small ensembles and the Shanachians, his classic Irish band from Berks County, Pennsylvania.
Contact Ken soon to arrange a special performance for your special event!