Kennedy’s Kitchen has been making Irish music together since 1998, averaging about 80 shows per year playing everything from backyard parties and weddings to pubs, concert halls, and national festivals. From their home in South Bend, Indiana, they have travelled as far as New York City and Naples, Florida, recording five CDs along the way (they are working on their sixth). They are family and friends, gathering every Thursday evening for dinner, laughter, and music rooted in traditional Irish Music, jigs, reels, hornpipes, aires, recitations, stories, and songs . . . adding their own compositions along the way. It's a mix of all things Irish from traditional to pub songs, from toe-tapping to deeply moving . . . and it's always fun.
The band is led by joHn Kennedy, award winning singer and guitar player. It's Kitchen Music from the home, the hearth, and the heart. Joining in is joHn's nephew Liam Ladewski, Theresa Kubiak, Chris O'Brien, Rob Weber, and Jacob Turner.
Liam, Theresa, and Jacob are award winners themselves having competed in the All-Ireland Fleadh on their respective instruments.
They play fiddle, flutes, whistles, mandolin, bouzouki, guitar, tenor banjo, harmonica, bohdran, and bass. And they sing. They love to sing.
joHn Kennedy is a singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist, and the leader of the band. His rich, deep voice is an instrument unto itself. joHn is the 2004 All-Ireland Fleadh Silver Medalist in Accompaniment, competing on guitar. He has won numerous Gold and Silver medals in traditional singing and accompaniment at the Midwest Fleadhs.
joHn's solo CD ‘I'll Learn To Fly’ was chosen by WVPE FM 88.1's Back Porch program as one of the top ten folk releases of 1998. Other recording credits include: ‘St. Patrick's Day at Notre Dame’, recorded live with David James, Dan Gellert, Kevin and Maggie Henry, Pat Max, and Rosie McCormick; ‘The Notre Dame Experience’ with Nolan Ladewski, Autumn Rhodes and Tim O'Neill on the opening cut of this Piano Brothers production; and ‘Extra Stout, Live at the Inn at Long Trail’ a recording which joHn engineered and produced with Pat Max.
joHn is a founding member of the traditional Irish band 'Seamaisin' and co-produced two recordings with that group ‘Joseph Harvey's Fiddle was Left in the Rain’ and ‘Seamaisin: Live at The Tin Shop’. Seamaisin also produced music for the sound track of the short-film, Araby, an adaptation of James Joyce's short story of the same name. Araby was nominated for an Academy Award in the Student Narrative Film category. The band ‘Seamaisin’ can also be heard in one of the scenes from the movie ‘Rudy’.
joHn is a returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Chile 79-81), and has a doctorate from the University of Notre Dame in Development Economics. He current pretends to be an economist at Saint Joseph College in Renssallear, IN.
joHn plays a Fender 1100 Acoustic Guitar, usually in DADGAD tuning, a handmade Jim Shenk guitar (Wooden Music), and a Flat Iron Bouzouki.
Liam Ladewski is a multiple medalist at Midwest Fleadhs on both whistle and flute. He took a first on whistle and second in flute in 2011 and travelled to Ireland for the All-Ireland Fleadh in August 2011, studying with Joanie Madden at the Fleadh Traditional Music School. He has been playing whistle since the age of seven, studying with his uncle joHn. At the age of twelve, he joined the band as a full-time member in the fall of 2008 when his brother Nolan left town to attend college. Liam plays tin-whistles made by Patrick O'Riordan and Colin Goldie, and flutes made by Hammie Hamilton and Patrick Olwell.
Chris O'Brien began classical violin at the age of 9 and later turned to Appalachian and Irish Traditional music. Her early influences include the soulful and rousing tunes of Tommy Peoples from County Donegal, Ireland and the all Irish born Bothy Band. She has studied fiddle at the Willie Clancy School in Milltown-Malbay, County Clare, Ireland. She is currently employed in art and frame restoration. She is also an avid accomplished gardener, just for the joy of taking care of flowers that have no other place to go. Chris has spent many summers in Kilkee, County Clare, Ireland. Chris plays a Czech fiddle, 1947 unknown maker. Her banjo is believed to be a Lyon and Healy, and is about 100 years old. The mandolin is a lovely, gentle Eastman.
Rob Weber, a musician since the age of twelve, lived in Texas and performed with many of the blues, jazz, and R&B artists for which Texas is famous. His longest tenure was with the renowned 'Midnite Flyer Band', an eight-piece R&B group featuring Jimmy Luke, the Texas R&B singer and harmonica player. On his return to his hometown of South Bend, Rob "fell in" with the session players at the Monday night sessions at Lula's. A writer with a novel and hundreds of short stories and novellas to his credit, Rob was completely taken with the story telling qualities of Irish music. "The cultural similarities of the Irish and the Jewish peoples have many touchpoints: the value of family, the home, music, and the traditions of passing on the legends, myths, and the histories from one generation to the next." Rob was ordained as a Rabbi in 2012. Rob plays basses made by Birdsong.
Jacob Turner joined the band in the summer of 2011 after the retirement of founding bodhran player Bob Harke. Prior to joining the Kitchen, Jacob studied bohdran with joHn for three years. Jacob is a multiple medalist at the Midwest Fleadhs. In 2011, he placed second at the Midwest fleadh in his age group (aged 14) and that following summer travelled to Ireland to compete at the All-Ireland Fleadh in Cavan. Jacob's bodhran was made by Mike Quinlan.
Theresa Kubiak is the newest member of The Kitchen, having joined in September of 2016. Before joining the band, Theresa began playing tin-whistle at the age of 6 under the instruction of joHn Kennedy and Nolan Ladewski. She is a multiple medalist on the tin-whistle at the Midwest Fleadhs. In 2016, she placed first in her age category, qualifying her for the All-Ireland Fleadh. Later that summer, she travelled to Ennis, Ireland to compete in the All-Irelands. During her time there, she studied under the guidance of Joanie Madden at the Fleadh Traditional Music School. Theresa plays Pat O'Riordan and Colin Goldie tin-whistles, and a flute by Desi Seery.