Strange Boy is a remarkable contemporary rapper hailing from Limerick, embodying the spirit of a thousand-year-old poet. With profound and thought-provoking lyrics, he seamlessly blends hip-hop and Irish traditional music, creating a unique fusion that pays homage to the timeless cultural influences of Ireland. His debut album, HOLY / UNHOLY, produced by Enda Gallery, features the soulful voice of Grammy award-winning Clannad vocalist, Moya Brennan. This album received extraordinary critical acclaim, being recognized by Hot Press as one of the top six global hip-hop albums of 2021 and hailed by Nialler9 and District Magazine as one of the top six Irish albums of the year.
Strange Boy’s journey began with a captivating performance at Limerick’s Make a Move Festival, leading to collaborations with notable artists such as Rusangano Family and Naive Ted on his debut mixtape, Passionate Example. His popularity soared as he appeared on The Tommy Tiernan Show, collaborated with PX Music artists, and contributed to Enda Gallery’s acclaimed single, ‘It’s Alright,’ featured in the BBC series Normal People. He also impressed audiences at renowned festivals including The Great Escape, Body & Soul, All Together Now, Doolin Folk Festival, Sionna Music, and It Takes a Village.
In 2023, Strange Boy received the prestigious Liam O’Flynn award, recognizing his visionary artistry. The National Concert Hall granted him a residency, providing a platform for him to further push the boundaries of his groundbreaking fusion of hip-hop and traditional Irish music.
Critical voices have lauded Strange Boy’s craft. Tony Clayton Lea of The Irish Times commends his unique approach, while Ed Power of The Irish Examiner considers his album one of the exceptional hip-hop records of 2021. Cailean Coffey from Golden Plec describes the convergence of youth and Ireland’s musical heritage in Strange Boy’s music as both convincing and incredibly powerful.
Maureen Kennelly, Director of The Arts Council, acknowledges the significance of Strange Boy’s artistry, recognizing his contemporary take on traditional storytelling as a natural and relevant response to the evolving art form. The partnership between The Arts Council and the National Concert Hall in presenting Strange Boy with the Liam O’Flynn award celebrates his innovative and exciting contributions to the music scene.