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David Keenan, A Young Singer With An Old Poet's Soul

David Keenan sits with a statue of the beloved Irish writer and poet Brendan Behan along the Royal Canal in Dublin.
Kim Junod
David Keenan sits with a statue of the beloved Irish writer and poet Brendan Behan along the Royal Canal in Dublin.

David Keenan is a young singer with an old poet's soul and wardrobe. His acoustic guitar is adorned with pieces of poems, love letters and photographs.

On our recent trip to Dublin, we asked Keenan to pick a meeting spot that felt important to him and were not at all surprised that he chose a spot commemorating beloved Irish writer and poet Brendan Behan. A life-like sculpture of Behan sits on a bench along the banks of the Royal Canal, inspired by a lyric in his famous piece "The Auld Triangle." When Keenan first moved to Dublin, he would often sit on this very bench beside Behan, confiding in him and drawing inspiration from his spirit.

We grab a seat by the water to hear Keenan perform a gorgeous song on acoustic guitar from his latest EP, Evidence of Living, and he tells the story of spitting in his own hand to make a pact with himself before opening for Glen Hansard.

Copyright 2019 XPN

Talia Schlanger hosts World Cafe, which is distributed by NPR and produced by WXPN, the public radio service of the University of Pennsylvania. She got her start in broadcasting at the CBC, Canada's national public broadcaster. She hosted CBC Radio 2 Weekend Mornings on radio and was the on-camera host for two seasons of the television series CBC Music: Backstage, as well as several prime-time music TV specials for CBC, including the Quietest Concert Ever: On Fundy's Ocean Floor. Schlanger also guest hosted various flagship shows on CBC Radio One, including As It Happens, Day 6 and Because News. Schlanger also won a Canadian Screen Award as a producer for CBC Music Presents: The Beetle Roadtrip Sessions, a cross-country rock 'n' roll road trip.
World Cafe senior producer Kimberly Junod has been a part of the World Cafe team since 2001, when she started as the show's first line producer. In 2011 Kimberly launched (and continues to helm) World Cafe's Sense of Place series that includes social media, broadcast and video elements to take listeners across the U.S. and abroad with an intimate look at local music scenes. She was thrilled to be part of the team that received the 2006 ASCAP Deems Taylor Radio Broadcast Award for excellence in music programming. In the time she has spent at World Cafe, Kimberly has produced and edited thousands of interviews and recorded several hundred bands for the program, as well as supervised the show's production staff. She has also taught sound to young women (at Girl's Rock Philly) and adults (as an "Ask an Engineer" at WYNC's Werk It! Women's Podcast Festival).