Kelly Russell

Kelly Russell. Folk instrumentalist and collector, record producer, b St John's, Nfld, 30 Jun 1956. He studied piano with his mother, Dora Russell, and at 18 taught himself to play the fiddle, subsequently taking up other folk instruments (bouzouki, concertina, tin whistle, dulcimer, Celtic harp.

Russell, Kelly

Kelly Russell. Folk instrumentalist and collector, record producer, b St John's, Nfld, 30 Jun 1956. He studied piano with his mother, Dora Russell, and at 18 taught himself to play the fiddle, subsequently taking up other folk instruments (bouzouki, concertina, tin whistle, dulcimer, Celtic harp. etc). After playing with Figgy Duff 1975-7 and the Wonderful Grand Band 1977-80, he performed widely during the 1980s with the St John's singer-songwriter Jim Payne and/or the fiddler Rufus Guinchard at many Canadian festivals, including Expo 86, and in the USA, England, Ireland, France, Japan and Australia.

Russell has collected more than 500 fiddle tunes in Newfoundland, and is the author of Rufus Guinchard: The Man & His Music (St John's 1982). He has taught fiddling at Memorial U. His record company, Pigeon Inlet Productions, issued 24 albums 1979-90 of traditional and contemporary Newfoundland folk music by Guinchard, Émile Benoit, Pat and Joe Byrne, Ray Johnson, Gordon Quinton, Lem Snow, Baxter Wareham, and others.

Russell himself is heard on the albums Jim Payne & Kelly Russell (1983, PIP-7314, reissued in part as Newfoundland Songs & Fiddle Music, PIP-7321, cassette) and Kelly's Green Christmas (1988, PIP-7323, cassette). He has also recorded with the Wonderful Grand Band and Figgy Duff, and as an accompanist to Benoit, Guinchard, and several artists (Ron Hynes, Dermot O'Reilly, Art Stoyles, John White) included in the 1988 collection All the Best: Folk Music of St. John's, Newfoundland (PIP-7322).


Further Reading

  • Packard, Chris. 'Kelly Russell struggles to keep traditional music alive,' St John's Evening Telegram, 23 Dec 1988