Monday, 19 December 2011

Merry Christmas, Royal Albert Hall and more....

Hi everyone

Well with Christmas almost upon us once again, let me first of all wish you all the happiest season of all!

The last few weeks, and indeed months, have been crazy to say the least, with constant touring in Ireland and the UK. The UK tour with Young Voices, will go down as one of the very best we have done so far. Massive crowds every night, in some of the biggest arenas over there. The YV Team have been incredible, as have the crew and fellow performers. It's a memory to last forever, and there is still more to come, as next month we hook up with the tour once more for dates in Manchester.

2012 is still in the planning stages at the moment, so I can't comment too much about what we have up our sleeve, but on a personal level, I hope to perform a few solo dates during the year.

It's been one year since was launched, and I would like to thank you all for stopping by regularly and keeping in touch with all things HK and DH through the regular blog's and newsletter.

All the best

Darren was proud to be invited to perform at the 2004 Christmas Pageant at The White House. The pageant marked the 81st lighting of the national Christmas tree in the company of President George Bush and Mrs Laura Bush.

Check out the player on to listen to two Christmas songs, written by Darren with Bryan Steele, as well as a recording of The High Kings singing God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen live from Grafton Street Dublin on RTE Radio 1's Joe Duffy show Christmas Eve 2008. 

Click Here for a free download of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.

The Royal Albert Hall

Following fantastic shows with Young Voices at the LG Arena Birmingham and the Motorpoint Arena Sheffield, the High Kings were heading down to London with the show to the Royal Albert Hall for a special Christmas Celebration in aid of the Children's cancer charity CLIC Sargent.

“Just finished soundcheck at the Albert Hall. Walking out on that stage again took my breath away. Incredible place. One to savour tonight.”

“Well, All rehearsals are complete, and now it's get ready time for tonight's performance at the Royal Albert Hall. It's complete for me because my beloved Michelle is here with me to share the occasion. Just hope she hasn't melted my credit card on Oxford St!!!!!!”

“Just landed back in Dublin after a sensational tour, ending with a very memorable Albert Hall show last night!
Quick clothes swap and then on to the RDS for the first of 4 shows there kicking off at 7pm.
Can't wait to see me kiddies!!!”

Would you like a DVD of the High Kings performing at the Royal Albert Hall, including the fabulous Queen Medley?

There was no video recording allowed on the night as the event was being recorded for an official DVD to be sold in aid of the charity CLIC Sargent. Copies can be pre-ordered now and will be available Feb/March next year.

The video will be in PAL format, region free, costing just £13.75 incl. P&P for UK shipping. Overseas shipping is available but this will incur additional postal charges by agreement.

They are also able to produce an NTSC version for US shipping at a premium cost of £22.00 including P&P by request.

For overseas orders, including Rep. of Ireland, please phone of email Pembrokeshire Video. UK orders can be made by email, phone or directly on their website.

Tel +44 (0) 1646 651 555

The Norbury 
Between their Young Voices concerts in Birmingham and Sheffield, The High Kings popped down to London to perform their only full UK show during the tour.

“London baby!”

“Thanks to everyone for coming out to see us at The Norbury tonight. Good to play London again. Tomorrow we take the train to Sheffield for 3 nights at The Sheffield Arena, then back to London for The Albert Hall on Friday!!”

Home Sweet Home....

After a very successful couple of weeks, performing with over 30,000 children to packed arenas with audiences totalling close to 100,000 people, Darren and the lads are now back in Ireland. They performed 4 Hallelujah concerts with the Young Voices choirs of Ireland at Dublin's RDS over the weekend and are now embarking on the second leg of their Irish Winter tour with only a short break over Christmas ahead of them.

“First of the RDS shows went down a treat. Roll on tomorrow.... and another.....”

“Great crowd this afternoon at the RDS. Very very LOUD! Roll on tomorrow night.”

“Brilliant Night at the RDS. Massive and very loud crowd. One more to go.”

“Wrapping up 4 amazing nights at the RDS. It's been a blast. Tomorrow it's Enniskillen and Thursday Armagh.”

It's been a very busy few weeks, with more ahead as the High Kings see out the rest of 2011 with their home crowd!

We'll be back with more news just as soon as we have it!

Thanks for your continued support

Merry Christmas one and all!

Darren & The DH Team

Friday, 9 December 2011

Young Voices and Irish Tour

The High Kings were thrilled to be joining the Young Voices choir on their tour of the UK and Ireland. The tour was to start off in Birmingham and would take in all of the UK's largest arenas, the RDS in Dublin, and a charity Gala show in aid of CLIC Sargent at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

Before they started off on the tour, they stopped off in Manchester for a corporate function that proved to be a very special night for Darren!

“Heading to the UK with the lads tomorrow for 2 weeks of arena dates with Young Voices, which includes a gala performance at The Royal Albert Hall on December 9th!
This Friday though, we play a private show for The red Devils at the Hilton in Manchester. Woo Hoo”

“On the train from Manchester to London after one of the most memorable nights ever. Fantastic event celebrating the "Irish Abroad". It was also a personal milestone, as the legendary Phil Coulter asked to join us for a version of his classic, "The Town I Loved So Well" where he and I swapped verses. A memory to last a lifetime.”

LG Arena Birmingham

“In the middle of rehearsals here at the LG Arena in Birmingham. Looking forward to performing in front of 14,000 people tonight, and having 6,000 kids sings along with us. Plus, we get to sing some of Queen's Greatest Hits in the finale. I finally get my chance to scream out "One Vision"!!!! ROCK ON!”

“Holy crap! 14,000 very loud Brummies tonight at the LG Arena! What an amazing feeling. Loved every minute of it! Hope we did Freddie and Queen proud. Haven't had a chance to rock it since Movin' Out!
Roll on tomorrow night!!!”

Check out the videos of the High Kings sets from the Young Voices Tour, including recordings of them performing the Queen Finale with featuring vocals from Darren and Brian.

Not to be missed!!

“Another amazing capacity crowd here in Birmingham's LG Arena tonight!
Incredible to hear such volume coming back at us from the audience!
Happy days!”

“Third and final sold out night here in Birmingham. Incredible volume from the crowd again. On to London tomorrow in preparation for Saturday Nights show at The Norbury in Croydon.
Thanks Birmingham!”

Motorpoint Arena Sheffield

"Tomorrow we take the train to Sheffield for 3 nights at The Sheffield Arena, then back to London for The Albert Hall on Friday!!”

“Kicking off 3 night's at The Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield tonight! Looks like 12,000 seats full so should be a blast!!”

“Sheffield! Holy moly. Seriously great crowd. Deafening during the Queen finale. Loved it. Can't wait to do it all over again tomorrow night!”

“About to get onstage again in Sheffield for the second of 3 nights at The Motorpoint Arena. The volume coming from the backstage area is deafening. Should be a blast!”

“What can I say. Another mind blowing show in Sheffield. These people know how to make a lot of noise! Way too much fun.”

“Half an hour to the final show in Sheffield tonight. It's been a great week so far, and there's a terrific atmosphere building. Ready to rock the house again. Tomorrow it's back to London and I can't wait to see someone very special.”

“Sheffield saved the biggest and loudest for last! Wow! Incredible audience. Loving this tour a lot. Roll on The Royal Albert Hall on Friday.”

Rewind - Irish Winter Tour First Leg....

“Kicking off the 2011 winter tour tonight in Whites Hotel Wexford, then on to The Olympia on Sunday night! See you all out there.”

“Fantastic first night of the tour tonight in Wexford. Really great crowd who made our job rather easy! Roll on The Olympia on Sunday night!”

“The High Kings are back in Dublin's Olympia Theatre tonight! Can't wait.
Should be a great gig. Are you ready to bring it Dublin????”

“Olympia!!! Amazing night. Loudest crowd ever!”

“Gotta drag myself to the gym, then busy day topped off with tonights HK show in Cavan!!”

“700 very loud Cavan people tonight! What a vibe. Loudest crowd in yonks!!! Thanks Cavan”

“Leaving Dublin soon. Heading to Birr for tonights show. Offaly are you ready??”

“OMG Offaly!!! What a night. What a huge crowd! Loved it”

“, but at least its a beautiful sunny Sunday morning.”

“Will be on KCLR FM with Sue Nunn after 10am news.”

“Heading to the launch of The Coronas new album in the city. Should be a great night!”

“Coronas! Fantastic. The new songs sound great. Really cool hang and great to see so many folks I've missed for a while. Hope it gets to number 1 guys!”

“About to take the stage at The Royal Theatre Castlebar. Should be a good one.”

“Brilliant night and fantastic crowd in Castlebar. Great vibe all through the show. The West knows how to party!!”

“Thanks again to Castlebar for a great night. We are about to leave here and travel to Belfast where we are onstage at The Waterfront hall at 8pm.
Happy Sunday everyone.”

“Belfast!! What a night! What a crowd. Brilliant audience and a very memorable show.”

“Hey folks, I will be chatting to Geoff Harris on WLR FM after 7pm tonight, in advance of Wednesday Nights concert at The Theatre Royal in Waterford.”

Click Here to Listen

“5 High Kings concerts in a row kick off tonight at The Theatre Royal, Waterford. It's kinda home turf for me so looking forward to seeing everyone.”

“Waterford!! Absolutely great night! Good to be back on the aul turf. Loads of the Mooncoin gang in too. Home with the folks for tonight then on to Galway tomorrow.”

“Good evening from a wet and windy Ballinasloe. Ready to do it all over again in 50 minutes.”

“Another great audience. Even the wind and rain didn't dampen their spirits. Brilliant fun all the way. On to Tyrone tomorrow.”
“All remaining shows on this tour will have to measure up to Cookstown Co Tyrone. Sensational audience. Brilliant night!!
On to the INEC Killarney tomorrow.”

“Great sleep in creepy ass hotel. Guess it doesn't help when we watch "Salems Lot" on the journey here. : ) Brians ghost radar must have been on overdrive! lol On to Killarney later.”

“INEC Fantastic crowd yet again. Brought it to a whole new level. Thanks Killarney.
Tomorrow its home.........Kilkenny.”

“So great to be back home in Kilkenny tonight! Great crowd and brilliant fun the whole way through. Caught up with loads of friends and family. Love KK. Heading home tonight.”

“About to play a solo pianoman show for the Chanel Christmas party! Ooh la la”

“Must admit, it felt a tad early singing "It's beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas" tonight! Really fun show in a very cool venue.”

That's all for now, we will be back very soon with news of the only full UK High Kings show at The Norbury in London, and the Gala night at the Royal Albert Hall.

Thanks for your continued support

Darrren & The DH Team

Friday, 28 October 2011

HK Heading For The UK!!!

The High Kings unfortunately had to cancel their scheduled Malvern Show due to an unforseen change in the Young Voices Tour schedule in Birmingham.

But UK fans needn't be disappointed, they are now thrilled to announce that they will be performing their show at The Norbury in South West London on 3rd December. Advanced tickets can be purchased from the venue at £15 and will also be available on the door for £17. Tel. +44 (020) 8679 0632

Darren and the lads are really excited to be joining the Young Voices UK tour, between their Irish Christmas Tour dates and in to the early part of 2012.

Young Voices is the world's largest organiser of school choirs and the High Kings will be performing with between 5000 and 8000 children in some of the UK's biggest arenas in Birmingham, Sheffield, Manchester and London.

Also performing will be 10 year old Connie Talbot who many will remember from the 2007 series of Britain's Got Talent when she blew Simon Cowell and everyone away singing Somewhere Over The Rainbow, then aged 6. Her YouTube videos have collectively had over 360 million views worldwide.

Please note the the Young Voices concerts ARE NOT High Kings events and they will only be singing a few songs, and a Queen Finale, at each show.

This is predominantly a schools event with most tickets being sold to parents and families through schools. A limited amount of tickets have been made available to the venues to sell in response to enquiries from the public.

28 & 29 November, 1st December 2011
Young Voices Tour
LG Arena Birmingham

+44 (0) 8443 388000

5th, 6th & 7th December 2011
Young Voices Tour
Sheffield Arena, Sheffield Yorks

+44 (0) 1142 565656

23rd, 24th & 25th January 2012
Young Voices Tour
MEN Arena Manchester

+44 (0) 8448 478000

5th, 6th, 7th & 8th March 2012
Young Voices Tour
O2 Arena, London

+44 (0) 2884 633250

The school children of the UK won't be the only one's enjoying getting to perform with the High Kings. After the success of last year's concerts, the High kings are thrilled to once again be performing with Ireland's school choirs at the series of Hallelujah Concerts at Dublin's RDS from the 10th - 13th December.

Tickets from

 Watch them performing at last year's RDS concerts

Click Here

 New Official HK Website

The High Kings have just launched a brand new look Official website. Check it out and drop by and let them know what you think

That's all the news for now, we'll be back with more just as soon as we have it.

Thanks for your continued support

Darren and the DH Team

Monday, 24 October 2011

Darren & Brian Dunphy 'High' on 4FM

Darren and Brian were in the studios of 4FM chatting and performing on the Guaranteed Irish show to promote the forthcoming High Kings Irish Winter Tour. They did a great interview, talking about the tour and their forthcoming Young Voices tour in the UK. They performed a medley of their big ballads from the show, Town I Loved So Well and Rare Old Times as well as Leaving of Liverpool.

But, these weren't the only treats they had in store. They also gave as a wonderful first ever performance of their own Holden/Dunphy composition 'High' as a taster of the original music they have been working on for the new show. The song got a huge reaction both in the studio and with the fans online.

You can listen to the full half hour interview and performances, including the new song, on the  latest news page of Darren's Official Website. 

A little video blog from Darren

A few words from the studios of 4FM a few minutes before they went on air to preview the new song!

Work in progress!! 

Darren and Brian hard at work inside the The Egg at Albany as they get busy writing their brand new song 'High' played live for the first time in the studio at 4FM.

We hope you have enjoyed listening to Darren and Brian's interview and in studio performance. Please drop by Darren's official Facebook page and let us know what you think of 'High'.

Darren's Official Facebook 
The High Kings Irish Tour kicks of in Wexford on Friday night where they will be starting to take the new show with more original songs on the road. Catch a show on the tour if you can, you won't be disappointed.

Back with news from the tour soon.

Thanks for your continued support

Darren and the DH Team

Monday, 17 October 2011

New Darren Promo Video - The Story So Far...

Darren is a very versatile and talented performer. As well as being an accomplished musician, with an exceptional vocal range, he is also a prolific songwriter. His wonderful interpretation of lyrics, together with an ability to perform in so many genres of music, continues to win him praise from audiences wherever he performs around the world. This video has been put together as a showcase of his talent and to tell the story of the highlights of his career so far.

The High Kings Radio Interviews

The High Kings were interviewed and performed live in the studios, of Sunshine Radio and East Coast FM to promote their forthcoming Irish Tour. You can listen to both the interviews on the Latest News Page of Darren's Official Website.

The East Coast FM interview includes an inpromptu performance of the Crowded House classic 'Always Take The Weather With You'. 

An update on what's been happening.......

The High Kings have only had one show since Holland and have taken the opportunity to start working on new material for the next tour.

“Kicking off in the studio today with Brian and Martin. Slowly compiling new material. It's another roasting day here on Dublin!!
More importantly though, I heard on the radio this morning that "Steps" are back together!!!
That's just brilliant!!! : )”

“Definitely 2 massive HK originals already in the early stages!”

“Gym done. Onto the studio for the day!”

While they are working on new material, there was good news for the last studio album when Memory Lane secured the number 12 position in the Hot Press album chart for 2010.

“Cahir...Are You Ready???
Heading down shortly. Hope it's a good night.”

“Thanks for a brilliant night Cahir. Loved it!
On the road to Dublin.”

The High Kings are continuing to work on new and original material ready to take it on the road for the new Irish Tour, which kicks of at White's Hotel Wexford October 28.

Thanks for your continued support.

Darren and the DH Team

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Full Irish Focus Interview and High Kings In Hoogeveen

We recently published the interview Darren did with Pete Maher for Irish Focus. This is the full interview from which the article was taken.

Q: When did you first discover you could sing? 

A: I was singing in church back home in Mooncoin when I was 3 years old. I would go up to the choir with my mam and sing along with all the hymns they were doing. My aunt remembers me trying to sing in church as early as 9 months old!

Q: Who inspired you/mentored you in the early days of your career?

A: There was always music in our house when we were young, and my mam would always have the radio on. I would be singing along to Elvis, Glen Campbell etc etc, and even taping myself sing stuff like "How great Thou Art". That recording is actually still at home. I was 4.

Q: Who do you most admire as a singer and who do you most admire as an instrumentalist?

A: My favorite singer is and always will be Elvis. As far as I am concerned,he had a god given gift of not only being an incredible singer, but also having blistering charisma, and an ability to turn even the most mediocre song into something special. He had the whole package, and I don't think the world will ever see his likes again.

I admire Vince Gill, not only for his amazing vocal ability, but he has to be one the greatest guitarists, and mandolin players ever. Sublime in his approach, and never overplays. he has performed on literally thousands of albums down through the years, and its easy to see and hear why. The man is gifted.

Q: Everyone knows about your early years traveling as the featured vocalist with the Riverdance troupe. But, while you were touring later with the Billy Joel revue, did you expect to return to more traditional Irish music again?

A: Ironically, I was actually listening to a lot of Irish music during the last 6 months of being in "Movin Out" and was silently planning an album of Irish music. I just wasn't sure how to make the transition from singing rock 'n' roll in a Broadway musical to crooning Celtic ballads. So, it was while I was performing corporate dates around the USA with Billy Joel's band that I got the call to tell me that our management wanted me to come home to Ireland, and discuss being in The High Kings. Some things just sort themselves out.

Q: When you signed on with The High Kings, what was it like to return to such a recognized form of music?

A: I guess having listened to Irish music all my life, and learning it from my family, it was easy enough to sing it and feel it. I love singing these songs, they bring me back to a simpler time, while also teaching me to be a better vocalist. I have a tendency to pick some vocally testing tunes, in order to push myself further and learn more about my art.

Q: Three out of four of The High Kings come from rather legendary Irish music families. As someone from the relatively quiet hometown of Mooncoin who has carved out an impressive career of your own, how did you approach partnering with the lads to develop the group's sound?

A: It was never about approaching the lads initially. It actually happened very naturally, given that the first time we sat down in a studio, we just started singing 4 part harmony without any hesitation. It was kinda scary how it happened. I think we all knew there and then that we could do it and bring it to the masses. The thing about The High Kings is, we do songs that have been around for a very long time, but our main objective is to make them sound like they were written today. So far it's been working for us.

Q: You mentioned moving the family back to Ireland with the impending arrival of your second child. While I utterly respect any desire not to shine a light on them, could I share the fact that you're a family man and that you and your wife have decided to raise your family back home in Ireland? I'd like to mention her and your children’s names and ages in the story if possible.

A: Sure no problem, go ahead. My wifes name is Michelle. My kids are Josh, aged 6, Ava, aged 4, and Sophie aged 3.

Q: When The High Kings first came on to the international music scene, many seemed to think it was yet another incarnation of Celtic Thunder. Could you explain how the group has worked to stay true to another form of musical storytelling and how the two audiences, of Celtic Thunder and The High Kings are different as well as similar.

A: I guess people saw us as being similar to Celtic Thunder at the start, as we were unleashed in America at the exact same time, and we were doing the PBS promo tour, which I loved. Our debut album, and DVD were very different to how we sound now. The DVD was a huge deal, with the cream of the industry onboard to make it great, and the songs, produced by David Downes were amazingly orchestrated. We have stayed true to being an Irish group, in that the songs we sing are all Irish. The CT boys have done really well performing songs from all genres of music, including Broadway, standards and pop music. Their’s is a production show, where we are a band and we are all about keeping it real.

I don't know enough about their audience, but I will tell you this..... We have the most loyal, dedicated and loving fans in the world. We had people travel thousands of miles to see us all over the States this summer. We also have made great friends with a few of our fans, and that makes being on the road easier. I value our fans enormously, and I hope they know how much they mean to me, and how grateful I am that they go to such lengths to see us and support us.

Q: Where do you see The High Kings going next in the evolution of the group? Can we expect the introduction of some self-composed songs as well as the standards?

A: We are currently working on some new original material, which hopefully will be included on the next album we release. The plan is to do 50% standards and 50% original. I am hopeful that we come across a killer song soon, which will take us on to the next level and we can tour even further afield. Folk music has become very popular in the last few years since we were launched. There are folk groups popping up all over Ireland, and tipping the hat to us which is nice. Also, Mumford and Sons are having massive success around the globe and have completely redefined the genre. All in all, I think the next few years will be about finding great original songs.

Q: You mentioned you were working on an independent project which may or may not come to fruition. Comment how the chance to work independently as well as part of The High Kings is a part of maintaining your creative energy. Do any of the other lads have solo work accomplished/planned as well?

A: I am constantly writing and demoing new material while on the road, and I plan to do record another solo album down the road. Whether I release it or not is another thing, but I want to get it done and have it for when the time is right. I am gravitating towards acoustic, melodic breezy folk/pop tunes, almost crossover if you like. The process of creativity is very important when you spend so much time on the road touring. You can get very tired of hotel to hotel so writing songs is a welcome escape. I haven't released a solo record in 5 years, due to being so busy with the boys, which for now is my main thing. Before that I released 4 in 7 years! Martin and Brian have solo album also.

Q: Where would you like to see The High Kings five years from now?

A: I would love to see us successful enough to record whenever we feel the need to do it and tour whenever we feel like it. Honestly, original material is the only way forward in my opinion, while maintaining a healthy array of material from all our albums. I would love to see us touring the globe every few years, but not constantly touring. I am missing my wife and kid's too much lately while on tour, and there is no way I will continue that beyond a certain point.

Q: Ten years?

A: Very hard to see that far down the road, but if I'm being totally honest, I would like to be off the road at that point, and doing the odd solo shows/corporate events. I would love to do another Broadway show too. I never close the door on that one, as I have a massive love for that side of the business. I hope I'm as ambitious though, as I am now. If that subsides then I will be doing something else entirely.

Q: There is clearly a different kind of energy feedback from an audience in a concert hall versus an Irish festival. How would you describe this difference?

A: I absolutely love festival dates, outdoor shows. I am very comfortable live in front of huge audiences. It’s an incredible buzz hearing 7 to ten thousand people singing along at a festival or arena show. Hopefully, The high Kings can build on what we've achieved through all the US shows this summer and come back bigger next time.

Q: The High Kings have some incredibly loyal fans. What has been the most impressive example of fan loyalty you have encountered so far?

A: We have the most incredible fan base, who are willing and able to go to the ends of the earth for us if they have to. We have become friends with quite a few of them, and there is one lady in the UK who set up all my online fan sites a few years ago, and does an incredible job. She makes sure that all info relating to me is out there as it happens.

Okay, that should be more than enough for an article.
How about a little Darren Holden Trivia?

Shoe size:


Last CD you purchased:

Wonders of the Younger by Plain White T's.

Favorite film of all time:

Halloween (1978)

Television show you try never to miss, even on the road:

Sons of Anarchy.

Favorite non-alcoholic beverage:

Starbucks Iced coffee.

Your vocal range:


Favorite form of exercise:

Lifting weights and running.

Favorite healthy snack:

OH YEAH protein bars.

Special thanks to Pete Maher of the Irish Focus for allowing us to publish the full interview. 
High Kings in Hoogeveen Holland

The High Kings made their debut in Holland performing at the Irish Music Festival at De Tamboer in Hoogeveen, along with The Killkenny's and Keltic Kats.

“Just wrapped up family movie night. Tonight is was E.T.
Almost finished mopping up all the little tears. Awwwww......
Early start in the morning, heading to the Netherlands with THK.”

“Just landed back in Dublin after a fantastic night in Holland! Brilliant crowd and great friends and groups to share it with including The Kilkennys and Keltic Kats. Happy days!”

Tour Dates

The High Kings Irish Winter Tour dates have now been added to our Tour Dates page with ticket link details.

Click Here for Tour Dates

Thanks for your continued support

Darren and the DH Team

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Midwest Irish Focus Magazine Interview

Darren was interviewed by Pete Maher for the Midwest Irish Focus Magazine while he was at the LaCrosse Irish Festival. The article is in the September edition and Darren has been featured on the cover.

View readable article full size on the press pages of

Unlisted video of Darren singing 'Town I Loved So Well'
at the La Crosse festival

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Catching up with the Kings!

Last weekend was very special for Darren, but we still need to bring you up to date with all the news for Darren and the lads from their final show in the US through to last Saturday in Mullingar!

Message from Darren from latest his Newsletter

Hey everybody.

Can it really be newsletter time again?

Well, there has been so much happening for us while playing festivals all summer in the USA and Germany, that I guess I better keep you all updated.

We have been having a blast playing to thousands of HK fans for the last few months, and indeed if Milwaukee is anything to go by, there will be a few new fan's now too. What a great weekend we had there, and what a great festival. Very professional, and upbeat.

Tomorrow night we play The Budweiser Event Center in Loveland Colorado. This will be our biggest arena show to date in the States and I can't wait to get out there!

We then fly home to Ireland, and on landing, we are being picked up and driven to Killarney for the last of our summer shows at the INEC.

Thankfully a few days off after that, as I am sure we will be exhausted.

Hope you enjoy the newsletter.

'Til next time, be well and stay safe.

Last days in the USA

“Morning all from sunny Colorado. Gearing up for soundcheck at the Budweiser Event Centre, where we are live tonight at 8pm. Heading home tomorrow for a show at the INEC on Saturday night. Them....home to my clan. Ahhh”

“Fantastic night at The Budweiser Event Centre. Very cool audience thats rocked it out all the way with us. The Cheyenne Symphony Orchestra were out of this world! and the young choir that joined us for the second half of the show were great. Homeward bound tomorrow. :)” 

 “About to hit the road for Denver, to fly to Chicago and home.
Best of luck to all my East Coast friends over the coming few days. We'll be thinking of you. God bless.”

Next Stop Killarney via Dublin!! 

“Just landed back on the 'aul sod. About to board a sleeper coach for the drive to Killarney where due to massive demand for tix we will perform in the main room of the INEC tonight at 9.30.
Pretty tired but hoping to catch some zzzzz's on the way.
Big thanks to the USA once again for a marvellous summer!!!”

“Killarney!!! What can I say! Yet again it was a milestone for us in the kingdom. What a homecoming. Nobody parties harder than Kerry! Unreal.”

“I am so thankful to be heading home in the morning to my little family, especially as my beautiful, sweet, hilarious little girl is 4 years old. Happy Birthday Ava!!
Can't wait to see everyone! Good to be home.”

Ireland's Call!!
“This coming Friday night The High Kings will rock 50,000 soccer fans ahead of the crunch Euro 2012 qualifier between Ireland and Slovakia at the Aviva Stadium. I for one, cannot wait!!” 

“Amazing night so far! Crowd really got behind us, and the all round reaction was superb. Saw loads of friends from home in the crowd, great to catch up. Pity about the result, but hey, we are still there with a shout.
Great fun.”

Greville Arms Hotel Mullingar 

“I have to say Mullingar tonight was one of those shows that live long after its over. Over 800 people stuffed into The Greville Arms Hotel and the volume level coming from them was ear splitting. Mad mad night.
We wore the Loughlin Gaels hurling jersey's onstage for the second half and that set the tone for the rest of the night. Mayhem!!” 

The photos in this slide are copyright Therese Dunne.

So there you have it, all up to date with the High Kings news. It had been a weekend of pulling on the football shirts, but the following day of course Darren changed sports to pull on the black and amber shirt of Kilkenny!


Darren 'Harley' Holden

We have just one more set of photos to bring you from Darren's time in America. While he was in Milwaukee, Darren had some photos taken with the bikes in the Harley Davidson Museum.
These photos are courtesy and copyright of Charlie Brock.

That's all for now! Back soon!

Thanks for your continued support

Darren and the DH Team

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Hurling Through Kilkenny!!

It is no secret to anyone who knows Darren , or closely follows his status updates, that after music his next passion is for hurling and his county team Kilkenny!

A few weeks ago, during a break in the US festivals, Darren was able to return to Ireland to see his beloved Kilkenny Cats secure their place in yet another All Ireland Senior Hurling Final at Croke Park. With the festivals done, and a few Irish gigs under his belt, the High Kings calendar allowed him to return to Croke Park on Sunday and watch Kilkenny take on Tipperary, a repeat of last year's final.

There was a lot of pride at stake as last year Tipp had stopped them securing the first ever '5 in a row'. They desperately wanted to take the Liam McCarthy Cup back home to the Marble City where it had lived for the previous four years!

It was quite a weekend for Darren!

“Well, after winning 7 All Ireland's in 10 years, here we are again. Is there one last hurrah left in this amazing team? I hope so. They will need a massive one to put it up to Tipp today, who are great. This KK team owe us nothing. They've gone beyond the call for their county and made us all very proud of where we are from. Win or lose today, there will never be another team like them. Hopefully its the good, hard, flowing match we are all expecting. COME ON THE CATS!!!!!!!!!!”

Without a doubt the greatest team of all time!!!!!!!”

Yes, they had done it, in a fantastic game, it finished
Kilkenny 2-17 Tipperary 1-16.

Liam was going home!!!

“Greatest of all time! What a team. What a performance! I am a very proud Kilkenny man!!”

“It's a beautiful sunny day outside, and The Super Cats are Champions for the 5th time in 6 years! Unreal. What a feeling! Pure brilliance at Croker yesterday from start to finish, from every player! And what about those 2 goals! Fantastic. Ritchie's has to be goal of the year. Come on The Black and Amber!!”

“On route to The Marble City with Josh, Declan and Kevin to welcome home The Cats!!
Should be a blast!”

“What an amazing homecoming for the brilliant Kilkenny team. Over 30.000 fans showed up for a huge party on the streets of the Marble City and not even the rain could dampen the atmosphere!! Josh loved every minute of it and cheered his head off for all the players.
Great to have Liam home again!!”

“Josh was delighted to read todays Daily Star report on last nights homecoming and see his name mentioned for having been there. Great memory for him.”

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Kilimanjaro Documentary - Darren's Storyboard

The Kilimanjaro documentary got a fantastic reaction when it was aired on RTE 1 in a prime time slot on July 18 2011. It was only broadcast within Ireland and for the benefit of the overseas fans, and those of you who would like to re-live the precious memories, we now bring you Darren's documentary storyboard.

This is the story of
The Climb for Kids

A group of Irish climbers set out to reach the summit of Kilimanjaro and raise one quarter of a million Euros for Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Crumlin.

First the paperwork needed to be done to allow them in to Africa, that meant attending a medical briefing and having those dreaded shots.

"Great, it wasn't too bad!"

My boy lollipop! He got his reward for being brave!


"We're here!!!"

"The basic thing is to pace yourself. It's not a race, nobody's out to prove anything you know, we're all here for the common goal, we're all here to help each other."

Before they set off on day one, they did some basic stretches to get the blood moving and help them sleep better.

At the Machame Gate, where they were about to start the climb, Darren couldn't resist a little joke.

"It was a wonderful experience, it wasn't that high after all, have fun!!"

There was a lot of nervous laughter on day one, but how were they really feeling?

"Very good, very good so far.
Happy days, beautiful"

"African Vodka"

"Day 1 over"

Darren Holden has performed on some of the worlds biggest stages but Kilimanjaro is certainly a unique venue. 

"As I was going over the Cork and Kerry mountains"
The singing on the mountain was cut with footage of Adam and the High Kings on the Late Late Show the night before Darren set off. They also blended Adam's voice with the live singing on the mountain so that he was 'singing' with them. A touching moment.

"Maybe you love me, but now I'm not so sure"

"That's the wrong words already, see it's way too early for a song"

"In the year of our lord 1806, we set sail from the Coal Quay of Cork
We were sailing away with a cargo of bricks
For the Grand City Hall in New York
'We'd an elegant craft
She was rigged fore and aft
And oh, how the wild winds drove her
She had twenty seven masts
and withstood several blasts
And they called her The Irish Rover"


"Yesterday was tough in places, but you know we made it. Unfortunately Karl abandoned ship but he gave it his all, we are all very very proud of him. But at the same time it's at the back of our minds that maybe this is a lot more tougher than any of us anticipated"

"There was a lot of climbing today, by the time I got to lunch I was in a heap. I just went in to the tent there a minute ago and had like a head rush and I'm like...  But I'd say I'd be OK"

Yippee!! I can't wait, it's gonna be great.
We should just do it now, a quick cuppa and off we go"


"It's not that big!!! Ha ha!!"

Darren hits the Barranco Wall, a day of serious climbing up a rock face without the aid of ropes and picks.

"Without a doubt the most physically and mentally challenging thing I have ever done in my life, bar none, and probably will ever do"

"We're about to set off on the night trek to the actual summit. It's what we all came to do. We are all very disorientated at the moment and don't know if we are coming of going. Having said that, it's an amazing adventure. Just getting out of the tents and seeing the stars, it's almost within touching distance tonight, absolutely amazing. I think the feeling is optimistic, we are going to do this."

After months of training the Climb for Kids team has reached the top of Africa. It has taken just four and a half days of intense physical and mental strength to reach the summit of Kilimanjaro, the world's tallest free standing mountain.

 "Out of breath, unbelievable, I am just so happy to see this"

"It's just an unreal feeling. It just seemed like it was so far away and we pulled it off"

"We did it Adam, we did it!!"

The summit, it had taken 10 hours having left the camp in darkness at 1am.

"Ain't no mountain high enough, ain't no valley low enough, ain't no river wide enough, to keep me away from you"

Yes he was still singing!!

There was just time for a group photo before they started the descent. They were facing another 5 hours of walking, adapting to the thickening air, with their aching joints and muscles.

We made it!

The summit of Kilimanjaro rises up 5895 metres above sea level. There is only half the amount of oxygen that there is at sea level.

"I work out quite a bit, but there was plenty of times yesterday when I really really wanted to give up."

"Toto have a great song called Africa, it was a massive hit in the 80's. Great, great song and it suits everybody down to the ground here."

"As wild dogs cry out in the night
As they grow restless longing for some solitary company
I know that I must do what's right
As Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti"

The Climb for Kids team returned to Ireland to a fantastic welcome, very proud at what they had achieved. They learned when they arrived that they had indeed already raised over 250,000 Euros for Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Crumlin. Hopefully with 365,000 households confirmed as watching this documentary, that figure would have increased significantly helping the sick kids of Ireland in need of their care.