The Kelly Family

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The Kelly Family
Kelly Family 1989.jpg
Left to right: Jimmy, Patricia, Paddy, Kathy and John in 1990
Background information
Also known asThe Kelly Kids (1974-1975)
Original Voices of the Kelly Family (2016-2017)
OriginIreland/United States
GenresPop, rock, folk
Years active1974–2008, 2011-2012, 2016-
LabelsKEL-Life, EMI, BMG, Ariola, Polydor, Universal
MembersPatricia Kelly
Joey Kelly
Kathy Kelly
Jimmy Kelly
John Kelly
Angelo Kelly
Paul Kelly
Past membersBarby Kelly
Dan Kelly
Maite Kelly
Michael Patrick Kelly
Barbara-Ann Kelly
Caroline Kelly
Maribel Kelly
Daniel Kelly

The Kelly Family is an Irish-American-European music group consisting of a multi-generational family, usually consisting of nine siblings joined occasionally on stage in their earlier years by their father and mother. They play a repertoire of rock, pop, and folk music. They have had chart and concert success around the world, especially in Germany, the Benelux countries, Scandinavia, Poland, Spain and Portugal. They have officially sold over 20 million albums, though they sold their albums on concerts from Tours Europe to Over the Hump, except the Polydor years. The Kelly Family was ranked as the 6th most popular music act in Germany in the 1990s.[1] Despite its Irish-American origins, the group is virtually unknown in Ireland and the United States.[2] They have sung in English, Spanish, German, Italian, Basque, French, Dutch, Irish, Luxembourgish, Latin and Japanese.

The group was formed as The Kelly Kids in 1974. For many years, the group presented a ragamuffin image and a vagabonding lifestyle, travelling around Europe in a double-decker bus and houseboat. Their image was enhanced by their eclectic and often homemade clothing, and the very long hair worn by both male and female members of the band. The Kelly Family began to break up in 2000 and afterwards they performed mostly as individuals or sub-sets of the full group and took on a more mainstream look.

The Kelly Kids[edit]


During the great famine in Ireland in the middle of the 19th century, many Irish people immigrated to America. Sean O'Kelley, born 1839, was one of them. He was only eight years old when he and his family emigrated from somewhere around Cobh, Ireland, to Michigan in the US. Sean O'Kelley is the great-grandfather of "The Kelly Family". In USA, the family changed the name O'Kelley to Kelly, to sound more American.

Sean grew up to be a well-known violin player and musician in the Irish community where they lived. He married a woman called Mary and they had a number of children, one of them was John (Papa Kelly's father). John married Caroline, and they had ten kids: eight boys – Edward William, Ray, Jack, Joe, Henry Lawrence, Bob, Jim and Daniel Jerome – and two girls – Margareth and one more.

Early years[edit]

The patriarch of the family, Daniel Kelly Sr., has been described as a "grizzled, ageing druid aesthetic," but according to his daughter Kathy he was in earlier days "a clean-cut, intense conservative Catholic" who studied for the priesthood. He grew up to be a teacher and professor in math, Latin and philosophy. Dan Kelly married his first wife, Janice, in June 1956. The family lived a modern life with TV, radio and two cars. But Dan got sick of the "American Life." He wanted his kids to grow up in a safe environment, which he believed they wouldn't find in the US, and the couple left their native United States in 1965 with their children Daniel Jr., Caroline, Kathleen and Paul, settling in Spain, where Daniel opened an antiques shop. In the US, Barbara-Ann Suokko worked for Daniel Kelly. In 1966 she, along with a friend named Linda who would help Janice with the children, moved to Spain, where Barbara-Ann continued to work with Daniel.[citation needed]

Daniel Kelly and Janice separated in 1969, and Janice returned to the US, where she remarried and had additional children.[citation needed] In 1970, Kelly married Barbara Ann Suokko. Because of the age difference between the two, the marriage was not accepted by Barbara's parents, Barbara-Ann (1929–2009) and Victor J. Suokko (1928–1982). Daniel and Barbara had eight children, with the eldest, John, born in 1967, and the youngest, Angelo in 1981. The children were homeschooled and given lessons in music and dance.


In 1974, the older children formed The Kelly Kids (with Caroline on accordion, Kathy on violin, Paul on saxophone, John on drums and cousin Maribel on guitar), at first busking, then performing at parties and local events. John was initially the main vocalist. After a planned dance band dropped off the bill at a city festival in neighboring Santa Anastasia in July 1975, a family friend made contact with the organizers of the festival and arranged for the "Kellys Kids" to perform. For the gig, they expanded their previous repertoire by roughly 20 more songs, which they had to learn within two to three weeks. The performance was a complete success. They became well known enough that they appeared on the Spanish television channel TVE's children's program "La Guagua" in mid-December 1975. In Saragosa, the Kellys performed about 20 minutes for the station TVE under the title "Kelly Kids y sus temas navideños". For Christmas 1975, they played at the Casino España de Ejea.[3] They were also joined by Dan and Barbara, with Dan playing the bombo and asking for money with a hat, and Barbara dancing, as she was a dancer. The band was joined by the younger members of the family as they matured and learned to play musical instruments, starting with Patricia on guitar in 1975. The band's popularity increased in Spain, with several performances on television and in circuses. At a concert in the Caballo Blanco de Pamplona, Kelly Kids, by now well known in Spain, would be offered a place to stay in Belascoáin. So the Kellys left Ejea de los Caballeros and moved to Belascoáin, Calle Mayor No. 17. When the Kellys left Ejea de los Caballeros, Maribel returned to Gamonal. Linda also left the family for a monastery in Portugal; she would later die of cancer, with her name appearing on the tombstone of Barbara-Ann. In 1976, they went on tour as The Kelly Family, through Italy, Germany and The Netherlands. Their money was stolen during the tour and, penniless, they had to busk on the streets to earn enough for the return trip home.[2]

The family moved to Ireland, living at a campground and touring there in 1977. During this time, they were joined by Jimmy and Joey. Then, in 1978, they toured again in their hallmark double-decker bus.[citation needed] (They later lived on a large houseboat.)[2] Their first album was recorded in 1977, called Kelly Family Tours Europe and was sold during street concerts in Ireland. They performed on television and collected money for a children hospital. They stayed in Ireland for 5 months, before moving back to Spain.

Contract with Polydor[edit]

At the end of 1978, they landed a record contract in Germany with Polydor. They released their first album, The Kelly Family, in March 1979. Their first major chart hit came in 1979, with the song "Who'll Come With Me", with John Kelly, aged 12, singing the solo. The song, with a Gaelic melody by Vladimir Cosma, was the theme to a German television production The Adventures of David Balfour, based on Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson. The song hit number 1 in the Netherlands and Belgium, and it reached the top 20 in Germany. On September, the second album with Polydor was released, called Lieder der Welt first and then Songs of the World. At this time Barby had joined the band and Caroline was leaving, but returned later without taking much parts in the music.

In 1980, three albums were produced for Polydor: Ein Vogel kann im Käfig nicht fliegen, Festliche Stunden bei der Kelly Family and Kelly Family Loves Christmas and You. Polydor asked Dan to make John Kelly a solo star, but he refused and their contract expired in 1980.

Barbara-Ann's Death[edit]

In 1981 they also started their own company called "Kel-life". Dan wanted to have control over all the LP's The Kelly Family made, as they were tired of being pushed around. Two albums would be produced: Wonderful World! and Christmas for All. They toured in Europe once more, only to return in Spain after discovering that Barbara Kelly was ill.

Barbara Kelly died of breast cancer in 1982, months after the birth of the youngest child, Angelo. Her last wish was to make a Christmas video with all her children. The last shot was taken 2 weeks before she died in November 1982. Every night in the weeks before she died, the family was gathered around her bed, preparing the children for their mother's death. Her last words were "Keep on singing", and these words symbolize a promise for The Kelly Family.

Mama Kelly lays buried in Belascoain and on her grave there are 14 handprints, one of all the 12 children, Bob (Dan's younger brother who lived with the family for over 10 years) and Maribel (their cousin who lived with them). It also features a saying from Papa Kelly: "All my sufferings of my whole body to her as a sacrifice". The band continued to record, Daniel Kelly having formed his own recording company in 1980. As the older members of the family reached adulthood they left the band. Daniel Jr, who never took part in music because of a mental disability, left immediately after Barbara Ann's death and went to the US to live with one of Daniel Sr's brothers, Jim. Caroline left also in 1982 to study nursing in the US.

France, Eddy Barclay and Allstar[edit]

In 1982 the family retired to a place where they were unknown, in France. There they gave spontaneous concerts in the metro. In one of those concerts the family were once again discovered, this time by Eddy Barclay, who offered them a contract. This leads up to a new LP called Une Famille c'est Une Chanson, with songs mainly from 1981, except for the omonymous single and Didelidei. They also re-released Wonderful World! with the label Allstar and a new version of What a Wonderful World, with Paddy and Joey on the leads. On that year also another version of Didelidei and a German version of Une Famille c'est une Chanson (called Eine Familie ist wie ein Lied) were released as a Double A-Side single, just like Old MacDonald Had a Farm/Amazing Grace with Allstar.

The popularity of the family was growing in France, as they were featured on television many times. With big popularity in France, the family decided to go on tour in the US, but without Paul, who left to become a chef at Paris.

In 1985, a new single called Hiroshima, I'm Sorry was released with the label KEL-Life. The family left France soon that year.

From Live to Wow[edit]

In 1986, the family released a single called We Love the Pope/Our Father, which were both tracks from Wonderful World, who was once again sold with the 1981 tracks.

In 1987, a new version of Who'll Come With Me (David's Song) was released, featuring 10-years old Paddy on the lead vocals. On the single, Paddy is described as "the new main vocalist".

In 1988, they rented a tent with the capacity to room 6000 people. It was a big risk, because they didn't know how many people who would show up on the two concerts. It was a big success and they were sold out on both concerts. That year the band released a live album called Live, which featured ten tracks recorded in 1987 and 1988. During this time, Adam Kelly was briefly touring with the family.

Keep on Singing! was released in 1989, featuring whole new material. The single Sean O'Kelly was also released. The family returned once again in television, this time in a concert for an East Germany television. That was the famous live when Paddy cried while singing Amazing Grace, and the concert was released in 1996 as a VHS called Live in East Germany.

In 1990, Daniel Kelly suffered the first of his five strokes which partially paralyzed him, but he remained fairly active in the group through the 1990s. In that year the album New World was released, featuring also a new version of Who'll Come With Me, again with Paddy and Dan.

In 1991 the album Honest Workers was released and in 1992 the live album Streetlife as well as the single House on the Ocean. During this time Adam Kelly and Henry Kelly toured with the family for one year with their band Adam O'Henry, as well as Michael Robert "Mike" Kelly, who was the band's drummer for some months.

In 1993 the album Wow was released, followed by the compilation The Very Best...Over 10 Years. It was the starting point of a new era. The streets and tents no longer offered enough space for audiences at the performances by the successful family of musicians.

By this time, the fanbase was heavily grown and their concerts were always populated by thousands of people.



The Kelly Family covered famous songs such as "We are the World" and "The Rose", but wrote most of their own music based on family and personal experience, their Catholic faith, and their worldview. Songs include "Santa Maria"; Why Why Why; An Angel, the video of which popularized a younger family member Paddy; "Break Free", sung by Barby; the haunting "Mama", in which Barbara Kelly is remembered by her children; and "The Pee Pee Song", in which the common childhood problem of bedwetting is portrayed by the raucous, flaxen haired baby-of-the-family Angelo.

Breakout and fame[edit]

In the 1990s, the group enjoyed their biggest success. Their 1994 album Over the Hump sold more than 2.25 million copies in Germany alone, and 4.5 million copies throughout Europe. They also released a VHS for that album, containing videoclips and live performances. In 1995, to promote the album, they played a concert to a Vienna audience of 250,000. In the same year they filled the Westfalenhalle, Dortmund, nine times in a row, a feat no other musician has since accomplished. In one of those concerts at Dortmund, Papa Kelly was also present, standing with his children on stage for the first time in five years. They also released a Christmas album in 1994, Christmas For All, which was on top of the German chart for years during the Christmas holidays. In August 1995 they performed at Loreley Waldbühne. It was the first time they hold a live concert on TV. Millions of people watched it on TV that evening and over 50,000 people were at the concert. In 1996 they headlined their first Stadium Tour, filling some of Europe's largest venues. In that year they also released Almost Heaven, another big success. That album was recorded in Italy. They were also present in the Pavarotti and Friends concert held by Luciano Pavarotti where they sung Ave Maria with him. They played in Beijing, China in front of 20,000 people.

In the year 1997 Jimmy went to Dublin, Ireland, to study film. He made a short film called Fortune's Fool, which became the Best Short Film at the Cork Film Festival 1998. They then released Growin' Up in 1997 with once again big success. In 1998 they released From their Hearts, with less commercial success than the previous albums, and they bought a castle, Schloss Gymnich, on the Erft near Cologne, Germany. During the Kosovo war, the band released a charity single with UNICEF to help the population, called Children of Kosovo. Jimmy briefly left the family and joined a monastery that year, only to quit within few months and returning in 1999. About the same time, Adam Kelly, son of Papa Kelly's younger brother Henry, started performing with his cousins in The Kelly Family. He toured with the band until November 1999. He is present on many videoclips and can be heard on "Saban's Mystic Knights of Tir Na Tog". August 1998, ​6 12-year-old Sean started school in Cologne after having a private teacher since he was five years old. Kathy decided to take a break from the tour because of Sean. She later returned in 1999 part-time. Barby, Jimmy and Patricia also were part-time that year.[citation needed] Success for the Kelly Family band continued until they started to disagree on a professional basis at the beginning of the year 2000. Kathy left in 2000, only to return in 2007, and John left in 2001.

Later years and first breakup[edit]

2001 was a stop for the Kellys; Papa Kelly was very ill and the band only did three concerts that year. They spent almost all days with their father on Gymnich, not only the nine members but also Paul, Caroline (who lost contacts with the siblings in 1982) and Danny. Eventually in 2002 Papa Kelly died from yet another stroke. That same year the family competed in the German Eurovision Song Contest with the song of Maite Kelly "I wanna be loved" and placed fourth.

In 2002, Barby's ongoing illness forced her retirement from the band and, to the disappointment of his fans, Paddy cut his long hair and joined a religious order in France. Members of the family continued to perform as soloists or together, or in combination with their partners, as both Jimmy and John married singers. In 2004, there were only seven members remaining: Paddy, who left in 2004, Maite, Angelo, Patricia, Jimmy, Joey and the returning Paul. In 2004 the band released Homerun, which had more rock influences than the other albums, but it was not a success. In that year they started touring again with the Roncalli Circus. Later, in 2005, the Kellys released Hope, a charity album containing old songs re-recorded. Fan interest prompted a comeback with gigs in Germany in 2007. Their last concert was in 2008.

Stille Nacht[edit]

In 2011, the name of the Kelly Family begun again to show, as Paddy was trying to promote a comeback. It all turned out in a tour called Stille Nacht where only five Kellys took part (Paddy, Patricia, Kathy, Paul and Joey). In 2012 another Stille Nacht tour took place where Barby was also present in sporadic occasions.

In 2011, the 12 Kelly siblings were reported as living in Ireland, Germany, the United States, Spain, and Belgium.[4]

Controversies and problems[edit]

Along with their fame and rabid followers came problems. The father, Daniel Kelly, was described, allegedly by his children, as having a "tyrannical, controlling streak". The most outspoken sibling, Jimmy, has criticized his father for not giving his children a formal education and imposing on them a "Huckleberry Finn" lifestyle. Moreover, he said that as The Kelly Family group began to dissolve, he had almost nothing left of the millions of dollars the family had earned. The oldest daughter, Kathy, who managed most of the finances of the family, said that Daniel was more "free spirit than tyrant" but that "we got too big too fast, we should have cut things down some or handed over to professional management."[2]

Dan Kelly taught his children to "always keep independent of the structures of the modern entertainment industry."[5] He formed his own record label and "the Kellys kept everything in the family, from copyright and bookings to promotion and money matters."[5]

The Kellys ran into tax problems in Germany, the "Dan Kelly Foundation" was discovered not to be a registered charity, and they were criticized for their lack of transparency in accounting for money raised for an AIDS charity.[5] Likewise, the group had little success in the English-speaking world and aroused the derision of critics.[2][5]


After many years going in separate ways and founding families on their own, six members of the successful line-up - Angelo, Patricia, Jimmy, Joey, John and Kathy - finally reunited in 2017. On the album "We Got Love" they interpret their own most successful songs in new ways and arrangements, mostly because of Paddy and Maite missing from the reunion and, of course, their changed voices. Barby is also present in some of the songs, but she was never present in any concert. Michael Patrick, as well as Maite Kelly run their own musical careers which collide with the comeback schedule so they did not join. In May 2017 they booked the Westfalenhalle in Dortmund, Germany, afraid they would not be able to fill it. The show sold out within 17 minutes and they added another two gigs, which also sold out in less than 30 minutes each. Most of the concerts planned for 2018 throughout Europe are already sold out. For the live shows, older brother Paul rejoins the band and they also have a couple additional musicians playing in the background, giving the family the chance to interact more with their audience.

Also in 2017 Jimmy released his autobiography titled "Streetkid" as he is the only one who literally went back to the street. He's telling the whole story of his life and being a Kelly Kid. Although he also plays small venues from time to time, he mostly tours Germany to play on the street by himself, sometimes joined by his band "Street Orchestra". He released several studio and live albums over the years on his own label, containing own songs and traditionals from all around the world in French, German, English and Spanish.

Angelo, now having 5 children with Kira, moved to Ireland and lives out in the country. He pretty much recreates his own Kelly Family, by touring with his wife and kids. Patricias son Iggy in 2017 took part in "The Voice of Germany" and actually made it a few rounds into the "battles". Joey, having been an extreme sportsman for many years, running the desert and doing Ironmans and Ultramans everywhere, is meanwhile joined by his 16-year-old boy Luke who is also running marathons and half marathons. Joey over the last decades hunted down all of the original busses the family travelled the world with, of which three existed. He managed to find two of them and brought them home, he's now searching for the third one. Rumors have it, the bus has been modified to a fast food stand somewhere in South Africa.

Patricia has been making music in very small venues and always hoped for a comeback.

Kathy started their own career in Ireland, where she lives with her son Sean, who is a successful swimmer. She sings classical and opera tunes in churches and alike venues.

Maite and her husband split up in late 2017, officially divorcing in October 2018.[6]

A new live album (2CDs and 2DVDs) has been released on 25 October, called We Got Love Live, featuring the band live at the Westfalenhalle, Dortmund. The members in the album are to be Kathy, Paul, John, Patricia, Jimmy, Joey and Angelo.

The Kelly Family has been featured many times in German television in 2017, both as a band, as solo artists and (only Joey) sport personalities.

In November 2017, the biography "40 Jahre: the Kelly Family" has been released, celebrating the 40 years of the Kelly Family's first album, featuring the story of the family, from the US to the comeback. Also, the same day, a 3 hours long documentary has been broadcast by the German VOX.


Name Birth Birthplace Notes
Daniel Jerome ("Dan") 11 October 1930 Erie, Michigan, USA Father and leader of the Kelly Family. Died, 5 August 2002, Cologne, Germany.[7] He studied at Rome to become a priest, before realizing that he wanted a family. He had 13 children, 8 with Barbara and 5 with Janice. His first child is born in October 1962 and died May 1964 after a drowning accident. The name of this child remains private.
Barbara Ann 2 June 1946 Fitchburg, Massachusetts USA "Mama" of the Kelly Family. She was a professional ballerina, and Dan once said that he fell in love with her after seeing her dancing. Eight children with Dan. Died of cancer, 10 November 1982, Belascoain, Spain[7]
Daniel Jerome ("Danny") 2 July 1958 Chur, Switserland Never present in the music business because of a disability. He's a good painter and often communicates with paintings. He used to work on a farm when he was in Spain. Every morning when he lived in Spain, he used to go to the next town to have breakfast because he wanted something special. He lived in a farm in the US for over 20 years. In 2011 reported to be resident in a home for autistic people.[8] Died 12 November 2017, Beverly Massachusetts, USA
Caroline 20 July 1959 Leominster Massachusetts, USA Performed with the Kelly Kids and The Kelly Family in the 1970s; participated occasionally thereafter. Left in 1982. In 2011 was working as a nurse in the United States, in a region close to Alberquque.[8] Married, no children.
Kathleen Ann ("Kathy") 6 March 1963 Leominster, Massachusetts, US Studied ballet and violin; leader and producer of The Kelly Family after Dan became infirm. Frequent lead singer with operatic alto voice. Became a part-time member in 1998 and left in early 2000. Became a solo artist in 2000, but continued to participate in Kelly family tours and activities. Divorced with one son, Sean. She lives in Cork, Ireland.

Kathy Kelly has a son, Sean Van Hille Kelly.

Paul 16 March 1964 Leominster, Massachusetts, US One of the Kelly Kids in the 1970s, Quit to become a professional cook at Paris in 1984. He rejoined his siblings in 1991 briefly and, since 1990, became a well known street artist called Paul Kelly and then Pol O'Ceallaigh (Irish for Paul O'Kelly). He released one MC and three CDs from 1991 until 1997. In 1996, he is featured on the Kelly Family VHS "Cross Roads". He lived in Galway, Ireland, in the mid-90s. In December 2003 he stopped being a street artists and rejoined Kelly Family in 2004. He restarted doing solo concerts in 2008 and stopped in early 2010. In 2011 he joined his siblings for the Stille Nacht tour, in 2014 he started a tour with Kathy and Patricia, and in 2015 he started a long tour with Kathy that lasted until late 2016. He now lives in Cork, Ireland. He took ballet lessons in his teenage years, with Kathy being teacher.[8] Married to Muriel, six sons Clement, Coco (Sean), Patrick, Yannick, Daniel, Michael, and a daughter Brenda. He has at least 10 hurdy gurdys and can also play the violin, saxophone, percussions, flute, along others.
John Michael ("Johnny") 8 March 1967 Talavera de la Reina, Spain The oldest male who performed regularly with the Kellys, he was the lead singer on many songs, and the favorite of young women fans early in the history of the group. He took ballet lessons in his teenage years, with Kathy being his teacher. In 2001, he married Maite (née Itoiz, b. 27 January 1975), a Spanish opera singer, and left the band. No children. In 2011, Maite and Johnny were performing together in Europe, focusing on rock-opera and medieval music. Returned in 2017. He made his first real solo appearance in October 2017.[9]
Maria Patricia ("Patricia") 25 November 1969 Gamonal, Spain Took ballet lessons. Married to Denis Sawinkin (b. 19 February 1973), two sons Alexander Joseph and Ignatius Aaron Maria. She has been active since 1975 and only left in 1995 because of ill problems, but re-joined in 1996. Started a solo career in 2008.
James Victor ("Jimmy") 18 February 1971 Gamonal, Spain Married to Maike (née Höchst, b. 3 November 1980), two daughters Aimee Benedicta Maria and Máire Therese Seraphine, and a son, Yeshua Fulton James Kelly, born Tuesday, 3 March 2015. Jimmy was known as the rebel of the family, became involved in drugs and alcohol, and later joined a monastery briefly. In 2011, he was touring in Europe and recording. He became a solo artist in 2004, known as James Kelly, becoming a street artist. In 2007 he changed his stage name in Jimmy Kelly,

starting to tour with Meike, Adam and Jessi Kelly, in a band called The Backyard Kellys. In 2010 he formed the Jimmy Kelly & the Street Orchestra band.[8]

Joseph Maria ("Joey") 20 December 1972 Toledo, Spain Married to Tanja (née Niethen, b. 25 January 1973), has two sons Luke Christopher and Leon Daniel and two daughters Lilian Ann and Lisann. He is present many times on the Guinness World Records for his sport activities, which started professionally in 1996. He never started a solo career, releasing only one song "Why Why Why" featuring German Celtic band in Extremo.
Barbara Ann ("Barby") 28 April 1975 Belascoáin, Spain Left the band in 2002, due to illness; later rejoined only as a studio member. She is a good painter and also a ballerina.
Michael Patrick ("Paddy") 5 December 1977 Dublin, Ireland Left band in early 2004,[10] to study theology. He joined the Saint-John community where he was a monk, and took the name John Paul Mary. He quit the monastery and by late 2011 had returned to music-making. On 13 April 2013, Paddy married Joelle Verreet at Ballintubber Abbey in Ireland.
Maite Star 4 December 1979 West Berlin Married to Florent Raimond (b. 5 January 1975) from 2005-2018, has three daughters Agnes Therese Barbara, Josephine Katherine Francoise and Solene. Left the band in 2008. She is a very popular schlager singer in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. In October 2018, Maite confirmed she and Raimond have officially divorced.[11]
Angelo 23 December 1981 Pamplona, Spain Married to Kira (née Harms, b. 7 October 1979), has three sons and two daughters: Gabriel Jerome, Helen Josephine, Emma Maria, Joseph Ewan Gregory Walter and William Emanuel.[12] Started a solo career in 2006 and in 2011 started the Angelo Kelly & Family project.

Other members[edit]


Daughter adopted for a while from Gamonal. Active in the band when it was called The Kelly Kids from 1974 to 1975, when the band was still in Spain. She lived with the Kellys and was the guitarist of the band before Patricia joined, but in early photos she was seen also playing the violin. When Dan closed his bar and toured Europe, Maribel remained in Spain and never returned in music.

Bob Kelly[edit]

One of Dan's brothers present in early recordings, he can be seen on the VHS A Long Time Ago with Mom while the band is playing. He is Henry's twin brother and lived in Spain before Dan.

Henry Kelly[edit]

Henry Lawrence "Larry" Kelly was one of Dan's little brothers, born in the US in 1937. He was one of Dan's brothers present in the early recordings, helping as a mixer or engineer but never did anything more. He wrote the text for Join this Parade (Scotland the Brave). He created the band Adam O'Henry in 1988 with his son Adam. They covered many songs recorded by the Kelly Family, such as Who'll Come with Me, Lord of the Dance and Let it Be. They also have sung some of their own material, just like Flames of Love. The band released two MCs in both 1988 and 1989, called The Kellys, Vol. 1 and The Kellys, Vol. 2. They were the opening acts for the Kelly Family from 1988 to May 1993, mainly in 1988 and from late-1991 to May 1993. Henry was seen only sporadically on stage with the main Kellys. Adam and Henry continued touring and making CDs, they published three further CDs, Adam O'Henry (1991), Fire Over Ons (1992) and Irish Stew (1993). They toured in Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Scandinavia and Poland. In the mid-1990s they were pretty known and even played a show in front of 10'000 people in 1995 at Malmo, Sweden. In 1994 they released the album C'mon In and in 1995 Merry Christmas. In 1998, the band released two live CDs, Singing the Flames of Love... and ...To Reach your Heart with Dropkick Murphys drummer Matt Kelly, Henry's nephew. Matt is Bill's son (born in 1920, died in 1987). When Adam was touring with his cousins, Henry was feeling too old, and he retired, only to return once again in Summer 1999, making a concert in Germany with his son Adam. Angelo Kelly was playing the drums in that concert. Adam O'Henry then continued to tour as a street band until 2001.

Adam Augustine Kelly[edit]

Son of Dan's younger brother, Henry, he was born in 1975. He was an additional member of the band, having played for a total of eight years. He was the main vocalist in the band Adam O'Henry, formed in 1988 with his father Henry. They made seven albums together, two MCs, five acoustics CDs and two live CDs. In 1988 he was also on stage with the Kellys, not doing so much things. He had also a part in the cover of the Beatles song Let it be, but his part was not featured on albums Live and New World. From 1991 to 1993 he started to tour with The Kelly Family on a regular basis, during the Streetlife times, along with few other members of the extended family, who collaborated to the albums: Paul, Mike and Adam's father Henry. He continued touring with his father as a street band. In early 1998 the band Adam O'Henry disbanded, and Kelly Family members Jimmy and Angelo asked Adam to join the Kelly Family. Adam accepted, and for the first time in a while there were ten Kellys together on stage. He lived with the other nine members of the band (and also with Daniel Kelly Sr) in Schloss Gymnich castle for a little while. He can be seen in some of the band's videoclips, "I Will Be Your Bride", "Oh, It Hurts", "I Really Love You", "Hooks" and "Saban's Mystic Knights of Tir Na Tog". He even had lead vocals in the latter, becoming the fifteenth member to have lead vocals on a studio song released by the band.

In summer 1999, Adam and his father Henry reunited and performed at a concert. Eventually, Adam Kelly quietly left the Kelly Family in October 1999, without any announcement, similarly to the way he joined them. There were no agreements on the payments when he joined, a problem that was significant for them to part ways. Adam was even getting a lawyer to ask the money he wanted, even when Joey once claimed Adam was paid.

Adam performed with his father until 2001. He is married to Jessica (Adam O'Henry's long-time violinist) and with her formed an acoustic folk band called One Journey in 2003. They recorded together five CDs from mid 2000s until the early 2010s in the US. In 2009, they changed their name in Rebel Kelly's. They played some concerts for many years with Jimmy Kelly and his wife Meike in a band called The Backyard Kellys, and as a part of their Street Orchestra. They also played briefly with Angelo Kelly.

He has four children with his wife of Dutch origin and now plays with them in the band Culpa Free since 2015.

Michael Robert "Mike" Kelly[edit]

Michael Robert "Mike" Kelly is born in Leominster, MA. He played drums and guitars during the Streetlife era in the early 1990s. He is not featured in any album, though. He has been playing music since he was 11 years old. He plays the bass in the Central MA band "Trebek", can also play the guitar and banjo and is a skilled songwriter. For the past years Mike has been performing professionally with the blues man James Montgomery (singer) and appearing onstage with Dropkick Murphys, J Geils, Johnny A, James Cotton, The Uptown Horns, and various other artists in and around the Boston area.

Michael has been on tour with his cousin Jimmy Kelly in Germany, during the early 2010s.

Sean Jerome van Hille[edit]

Born in 1992, he is the son of Kathy Kelly and Vincent van Hille, he is present on the VHSs Tough Road (Vol. 1, 2 & 3), Crossroads and Growin' Up. He had lead vocals on Dance to the Rock 'n Roll from From their Hearts in 1998. After that period he never took part in music. He enjoys traveling.

Gabriel Kelly[edit]

Angelo and Kira's first son, born in 2001, he is briefly featured on New Morals (Human Race) from La Patata (2002). He, along with his siblings Helen, Emma, Joseph and William is a part of Angelo Kelly's band, called Angelo Kelly & Family. He doesn't sing often, compared to his parents and siblings and he mostly plays instruments. He can play the flute, the piano and the percussions. His first song composed was "Wouldn't Be the Same", from the 2014 album "Welcome Home", that he composed with his sister Helen. In the 2016 album "Irish Christmas" he only appears on the English and German versions of "Angels We Have Heard on High".

Kira Kelly[edit]

Married to Angelo, she has five children with him. Born in 1979, she and Angelo first met in 1991 and started dating in 1997. She is close friend to Jimmy's wife Meike. She is present on I Will Be Your Man from the charity album Hope (2005). She also appeared on the Maite Kelly album "The Unofficial Album" from 2009. She started singing with Angelo and is part of Angelo Kelly & Family's band. She also composed some songs, including "Three Musketeers".

Alexander & Iggi Sawinkin[edit]

Both Patricia's sons, they were featured on the Stille Nacht tour from 2011 to early 2012 and also present on the live CDs from that tours. Alex is born in 2001 and Iggi in 2003. The latter also took part in the German version of The Voice Kids in 2017, participating with Sound of Silence and started also making music. They both can play guitar and percussions.

Iggi, with the stage name Iggi Kelly, appeared on German television many times in 2017 singing arranged covers, especially "Auf Uns". On one show he sung "Every Baby", a song written by his aunt Maite Kelly in 1996. He released many electro-pop covers on his YouTube account.

Iggi went on his first solo tour early in 2018, in many cities like London, Berlin and Paris, many times as an artist before other singers' shows.

Luke, Leon & Lilian Kelly[edit]

Both Joey's children, they took part briefly in some of the Kelly Family's tours.

Luke is born in 2001, having first appeared on the "Making of La Patata".

During the mid-2000s Roncalli Circus shows, Luke made his stage debut, performing some stunts during the shows.

In the Stille Nacht tour Luke played the piano during Joey's song "True Love" during both 2011 and 2012, Leon did some choir parts and Lillian had lead vocals on the traditional song "Alle Kinder brauchen Freunde".

More recently, Luke is now a professional athlete, having taken his father Joey's footsteps, competing in marathons, sometimes with his father, sometimes on his own. In 2017 he completed the Race Across America, one of the hardest races of all times, a feat his father has achieved multiple times.

Emma Kelly[edit]

Emma is the third child of Angelo and Kira, born in 2006. She is a member of the Angelo Kelly & Family and she is one of the main vocalist, with her father Angelo. She is also present on the first version of An Angel from We Got Love (2017).

Other studio and touring members[edit]

Nippy Noya[edit]

An expert percussionist from the Netherlands, he helped the Kelly Kids during early recordings. He was present at recordings of several albums as a musician from the 80s until the early 90s.

Benito Lextundi[edit]

One of the guitarist in the recordings during the early years, he was one of the teachers of the family. He is featured on Searching for the Magic Golden Harp.

Carlos Itoiz[edit]

Another guitarist teacher, he is the father of Maite Itoiz, John Kelly's wife. He is also featured on Searching for the Magic Golden Harp and Live in East Germany. He was present with his daughter Maite at Loreley in 1995, as a musician before the Kelly Family's show.

Hartmut Pfannmüller[edit]

Another musician from the 80s-90s, he was the main producer with Dan Kelly in early 90s. He can be seen on many VHS and live events, playing mainly the drums when the band's drummers had to sing. He is featured on the video albums Tough Road and also Over the Hump. He was playing with the band until Almost Heaven.

Johann Daansen[edit]

Another musician from the Streetlife years, he can be seen on Tough Road. He was a mixer and a touring guitarist for the band and remained for a long amount of time from the 1980s till the mid 1990s. He went on to become Kathy's solo guitarist from 2000 until the late 2000s. He wrote two songs for her and sings in one of them. He is featured on the Scorpions' live album "Acoustica" in 2001.[13]

Matthias Krauss[edit]

Matthias Krauss is a German musician who appeared on more than an hundred albums from 1992. He studied at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, in the late-1980s.

In 1993 he formed Matalex, a jazz band. They released four studio albums and one live album. He was the keyboardist of the band. One of their songs, composed by Matthias, is coincidentally called First Time. The band had worldwide success in the jazz scene and two of their studio albums were recommended by the American AllMusic, with four and three stars. They played at every big jazz festival in Europe. They were active until 2006.

His next work happened with Samantha Fox: he played the guitar on one of her songs in the 1997 album 20th Century Fox. He also played many instruments for the electronic pop band Art of Infinity from 2001 to 2004, but never as an official member. He has been a musician and engineer for Stephan Runge in 2001. In 2006 he produced an album by Christina Lux. In 2008 he joined the German jazz band Trinity Xperiment, playing keyboards for the album Hollywood on Mars.

In 2000 he joined The Kelly Family as a touring member. As the band was having less members and others were focusing on solo projects, touring members were required. Krauss played many instruments (piano, keyboards, e-guitar, guitar, bass, drums and percussions) in both live shows and during the studio sessions both for the "La Patata" sessions (as he appeared in "Making of La Patata" very often), the "Homerun" sessions and the "Hope" sessions. He remained with the band until the band's first breakout in May 2008. He also appeared as a musician in the Kathy Kelly album "Godspel" from 2005. From 2006 until 2016 he has been an engineer and sometimes a backing musician in studio albums and live shows for Angelo Kelly's solo career, appearing in every album, both studio and live, Angelo Kelly released from 2006 to 2016.

In 2012 he formed the Klaus Major Heuser Band and released five studio albums and one live double-album between 2013 and 2018. He is still active in the band and has been singing on some songs, the first time Matthias became a singer.

He reunited with the Kelly Family in 2017, as an engineer in We Got Love and as a touring musician in their shows at Dortmund. He briefly appeared on We Got Love Live. Matthias is one of the Kelly Family's current touring members.

Matthias Krauss also played with Jon Lord, The Scorpions, Sally Oldfield, Wolf Maahn [de] and Georg Danzer.[14]

Christian Prüssing[edit]

Bassist in the early 2000s in live shows. Also present for some additional bass in studio in 2004 and 2005.

Peter Materna[edit]

Saxophonist in the Homerun sessions in 2004.

Marco Minnemann[edit]

Drummer for Michael Patrick's band on In Exile (2003), Human (2015) and Ruah (2016), he was also present on Homerun in 2004. He also played drums on some live shows from 2003 to 2005.

Jürgen Brunner[edit]

Featured on the Stille Nacht live CDs. He talked during the CDs, before, when and after some songs.


For the solo recordings of the individual members please see Solo Recordings.



  1. ^ "PopXport Ranking: The Top 10 music acts of the 90s from Germany | PopXport | DW.COM | 09.12.2016". Retrieved 26 March 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Keeping it Kelly". The Irish Times. Retrieved 26 March 2017.
  3. ^ "The Kelly Family - Biografie". 18 September 2007. Archived from the original on 18 September 2007. Retrieved 26 March 2017.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  4. ^ "Bio Angelo". Retrieved 26 March 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d "The man who turned his musical children into recording sensations". The Irish Times. Retrieved 26 March 2017.
  6. ^ "Die Kelly Family feiert ihr Comeback".
  7. ^ a b "The Kelly Family / The Kelly Kids". Archived from the original on 6 February 2013. Retrieved 26 March 2017.
  8. ^ a b c d "Bio others". Always The Kelly Family ~. Retrieved 26 March 2017.
  9. ^ "Bio John".
  10. ^ "Children of Dan & Barbara". 27 October 2009. Archived from the original on 27 October 2009. Retrieved 26 March 2017.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  11. ^ "Maite Kelly and Florent Raimond: successful star confirms divorce". 4 October 2018. Retrieved 7 February 2019.
  12. ^ News from Angelo. | Archived 18 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine. (22 September 2010). Retrieved on 23 October 2010.
  13. ^ "Johann Daansen - Encyclopaedia Metallum: The Metal Archives". Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  14. ^ "Diskographie – Klaus Major Heuser Band" (in German). Retrieved 9 July 2019.


  • Peter Wendling, Die Kelly Family, die Geschichte einer Supergruppe, Goldmann 1995 (German Book)
  • Lisa Reinhard, Die Kelly Family und ihre Erfolge, Heyne 1995 (German Book)

External links[edit]