Cuchulain Kelly

Cuchulain Kelly

Class of 2009

Communications Coordinator at Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council

  • Yale University, B.S. in Environmental Engineering (2013)
There I was, guitar in hand, performing with my band Handsome Hound at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC.

It was my biggest audience ever, and still is (you can watch the concert on YouTube). As the stage lights shined into my eyes and sweat started beading on my forehead, I began our tune Songs In An Open Key: “I’ll write you songs in an open key / the notes will ring out into eternity / They’ll last much longer than you or me, you’ll see…” And I found myself thinking about sound waves and the wave-particle duality of nature and, subsequently, about Doc G’s Modern Physics class, and then, quite naturally, about my time at GSSM. 

I remember coming to GSSM felt like being dropped in a cold pond – startling and intimidating at first, but refreshing and eye-opening once I figured out how to keep my head above water. I got a healthy dose of physics with Doc G (an experience which would later inform song lyrics (see above)), APUSH with Dr. Hendrick, Bio with Dr. Bill, Student Council with Mr. Caffee, and no shortage of performance outlets with the Step Team and student chorus.

When I went on to study Environmental Engineering at Yale, I continued seeking out and finding performance outlets. I sang bass in an all male a cappella group called the Society of Orpheus and Bacchus. I performed in a handful of musicals, and joined a folk music group called Tangled Up In Blue (which performed at GSSM in the spring of 2012! Shout-out to Ernie Boyd for helping to set that up). Also at Yale, I met my girlfriend and current musical partner, Claire Daviss.

After graduation, I moved to Paris, France to work for the United Nations Environmental Programme. That was an incredible experience, or as they would say over there, c’était énorme! While there, I found a home away from home at a monthly bluegrass jam hosted on a boat in the Canal St. Martin. I practiced guitar, learned French, and began writing songs like the American folk tunes I sang in Tangled Up In Blue.

Before moving back to Washington, DC, in 2015 to take my current job with the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council, Claire and I made a New Year’s resolution to professionally record some of the songs we had been writing. Our band Handsome Hound formed out of that recording process. Our studio sessions started with just Claire and me playing all the instruments and singing all the parts, but we filled out the sound by finding other DC-area musicians to help. We released our debut six-song E.P., titled I Guess We’re Doing Alright on March 4 2016, and since then we’ve been performing in and around Washington, DC. We’re currently planning mini-tours up and down the east coast, and a full-length album in 2017.

I guess you could say… we’re doing alright. Thanks GSSM!