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To Hold the Red Rose

by Pete Kavanagh

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** Straight on the RTÉ Radio 1 Watchlist **

In May 2019, singer-songwriter Pete Kavanagh wandered through a bookshop in the days following his father’s death. He was lost in grief.

Pete found himself upstairs in the rare books section and a green hardback book with no dust cover, showing a woman in a regal robe holding aloft a red rose caught his eye. Something about the image stirred his soul.

For the Red Rose it was called, a novel by Eliza F Pollard with illustrations by James Durden.

Pete bought this book, sat down in the bookshop café and wrote a poem on the flyleaf. The ink flowed but not with words of grief; they were words of love, gratitude and survival. And so, out of the depths of despair a love song took life – To Hold the Red Rose.

As it happened, in May 2019 Pete was in the advanced stages of recording an album, but the life-changing impact of losing his father gave him a new perspective. He abandoned some of the previously recorded songs and To Hold the Red Rose was the first of a new batch of songs Pete would write and record for what is his debut album Join up the Dots.

The recording came to a sudden halt in March 2020 after the Covid-19 lockdown put everything on ice, but now Pete is proud to present his debut single. To Hold the Red Rose is set for release on September 10th, 2020.



A lover's passion
A pilgrim's quest
My love for you beats beneath my breast
The wind blows wisdom
Through joys and woes
Then I turn to you

To hold the red rose
To hold the red rose
Where your love grows
To Hold the red rose

A preacher's prayer
A sinner's song
Fast or slow
Time still moves along
We walk together down destiny's road and then I turn to you

To hold the red rose
To hold the red rose
Where your love grows
To hold the red rose

A beloved father
A mother's bond
A daughter's devotion
A son who belongs
We stand together
Through all that life throws and then I turn to you

To hold the red rose
To hold the red rose
Where your love grows
To hold the red rose


released September 10, 2020
Music & Lyrics by Pete Kavanagh © Pete Kavanagh 2020

Musicians: Pete Kavanagh, Lenny Cahill, Pamela Kavanagh & Hally

Recorded, Mixed & Mastered by Hally at Art House Studios Produced by Hally


Video derived from "DE-SET - contemporary dance and music performance - MN DANCE COMPANY ft. SILENCE", by MN Dance Company, under Creative Commons Attribution license (reuse allowed)
Original Video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=5N7vf...
Video edited by Pam Kavanagh

Authors of Concept, Choreographers and Dancers: Michal Rynia, Nastja Bremec Rynia
Dramaturg: Ana Krzisnik Blazica
Set Designer: Aleksander Blazica
Costume Designers: Michal Rynia, Nastja Bremec Rynia, Ana Spacapan
Composers and Performers of Music: Silence
Light Designer: Samo Oblokar
Sound Designer: Matej Celik
Video: Aljaz Novak and Fabris Sulin
photo: Urska Boljkovac
Co-production: MN Dance Company, Cankarjev dom Ljubljana In Cooperation with SNG Nova Gorica
The performance was produced with the support of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia.


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Pete Kavanagh

Pete Kavanagh is a contemporary singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist.

His songs explore dark themes with evocative lyrics, wry wit and a well-honed musical delivery.

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