Hands up if you were aware that Kevin Bacon can play the bodhrán?
*Editor's Note: This column first appeared in the October 14, 2020, edition of the Irish Voice newspaper, a sister publication to IrishCentral.
The Footloose star – he’s got a ton of other stuff to his credit too, but the ‘80s dance movie will always be at the top – told RTE host Ryan Tubridy back in 2020 that he loves the Irish hand drum, though he needs more practice to make it sound perfect.
“I play hand drums in my band, and my brother got me a bodhrán a few years ago," Bacon said via videolink on Tubridy’s Late Late Show.
"I’m not good at it, it’s a real skill that I don’t really have. I wrote a song about a giant squid and once the band got together and started playing it, it ended up having a very Irish feel and I ended up playing bodhrán on that song."
"I love how melodic it is but there's also a certain edge to Irish music that is hard to put your finger on"@kevinbacon talks music and Ryan promises to set him up with @christymoore45 as his new teacher!#LateLate pic.twitter.com/rDB6Zho3Ir— The Late Late Show (@RTELateLateShow) October 9, 2020
Bacon and his elder brother, Michael, perform live as the Bacon Brothers and formed their band in 1995. They’ve also got 10 albums of original music to their name, including one that was released in July. Irish music is one of Kevin’s favorite genres, and he’s a big fan of the Chieftains.
"It’s got a rocking edge that I find really, really compelling,” he said.
A trip to Ireland for the Bacons will definitely be on the cards and Tubridy advised that the Irish trad legend Christy Moore might be able to help Bacon get better at the bodhrán.
"I’d like to come over and get lessons, frankly. That would be the best idea. Find somebody who is the most badass player and have him sit down with me and take me to school,” Bacon said.
In an interview with the Irish Times, Kevin Bacon spoke about his love for the bodhran and how it has influenced his music. He said, "I love the sound of the bodhran. It has a unique rhythm that you can't find in any other instrument. It's a very expressive instrument, and I feel like I can really connect with the music when I'm playing it."
Many in the music industry have praised Kevin Bacon's skill on the bodhran. The Irish musician Mundy, who has performed with The Bacon Brothers, said in an interview with the Irish Examiner, "Kevin is an incredible bodhran player. He's got a real feel for the instrument, and he can really bring out the rhythm in a song."
* Originally published in Oct 2020, updated in Apr 2023.