Following the passing of Bap Kennedy on Tuesday evening, tributes have been paid to one of Northern Ireland’s 'truly great songwriters'. The Belfast singer-songwriter and former frontman of Energy Orchard was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer earlier this year.
Writing on his personal blog, Across the Line presenter Stuart Bailie said “Bap Kennedy was heroic in his final months. He faced up to mortality with honesty and even humour. He was able to finish preparations for another album and he took joy in the fact that people were sharing his music online – old and new – and putting out their love for him at the same time. He had a soulmate in Brenda. They created music as a pair and became a powerful complement.”
On his Facebook page, Belfast artist Malojian recalls meeting Bap Kennedy for the first time, when Bap attended the launch of his album, ‘The Deer’s Cry’.
“I couldn’t believe it and was totally star struck. I feel lucky and privileged to have been able to open for Bap and his band a couple of times since then. Any time I met him he was a really lovely guy, funny, super cool and hugely supportive.”
Musician Joby Fox performed in the band Energy Orchard with Bap Kennedy during the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. Belfast Live quotes him as saying he was “one of the funniest people I’ve ever met, and talented beyond belief”. “Northern Ireland will be missing one of its greats”.
BBC Radio Ulster’s Ralph McClean described Bap as “one of our truly great songwriters”, stating that, “Bap’s always been about the music and I think, more than anything, he was just an incredible musician, incredible artist… He had a kind of sad, Celtic mysticism about him as well, which was great.”
Born Martin Christopher Kennedy, Bap was well known for his collaborations with Steve Earle, Van Morrison, Shane MacGowan and Mark Knopfler. The latter was quoted as saying he was "an extremely talented and committed songwriter who applied himself to his craft at all times".
"I have nothing but happy memories of our days and nights in the studio and out on the road."