90s German group Kelly Family pops up in Pattaya

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Members of Germany’s most-famous family band, the Kelly Family, put on a command performance at Pattaya’s Thai Garden Resort following the 90s’ pop group’s comeback tour.

After years apart and out of the spotlight, seven members of the Irish-American-European Kelly clan – Angelo, Jimmy, Joey, John, Kathy and Patricia – reunited last spring for several sold-out concerts in Germany, where they had their greatest success.

Gerrit Niehaus (right) and Rene Pisters (standing) welcome Joey Kelly.
Gerrit Niehaus (right) and Rene Pisters (standing) welcome Joey Kelly.

Joey and his wife Tina came to the Thai Garden Resort with their four children for a family holiday. Welcomed by hotel owners Gerrit and Anselma Niehaus, General Manager Rene Pisters and Manager Danilo Becker, the group, backed by the Thai Garden Trio, sang their family’s comeback song, “Nanana”.

The next day, the family joined Ewald Dietrich, founder and honorary chairman of the Human Help Network, to visit HHN Thailand’s Drop-In Center and Child Protection & Development Center.

The group played with the children and got sprinkled with water in the Songkran tradition before giving gifts to the kids. Joey Kelly said he’s a regular contributor to Reiner Calmuns, the German celebrity who runs the Brave Children foundation.

Luke Christopher Kelly, Joey Kelly and Lillian Ann Kelly singing the latest hit of the Kelly Family ‘Nanana’ accompanied by the Thai Garden trio.
Luke Christopher Kelly, Joey Kelly and Lillian Ann Kelly singing the latest hit of the Kelly Family ‘Nanana’ accompanied by the Thai Garden trio.

While beloved by German teen girls, the Kelly Family is virtually unknown in their native U.S.A. and never achieved any sort of fame in Ireland either.

The band was started by patriarch Dan Kelly, four children and his second wife during the 1960s and adopted a hippie lifestyle, wearing homemade clothes, traveling Europe in a Volkswagen bus and surviving on selling cassettes of their music at shows across the continent.

The family – now missing wife Barbara Ann who died in 1982 – catapulted to German fame in 1994 after a youth magazine ran a two-page spread on the vagabonds. They eventually sold 20 million records before homeschooled children broke away in the early 2000s.

The founder of HHN, Ewald Dietrich (right) with Joey Kelly (left), a teacher and some children of the Drop-In/ ASEAN Education Center.
The founder of HHN, Ewald Dietrich (right) with Joey Kelly (left), a teacher and some children of the Drop-In/ ASEAN Education Center.

Dan Kelly died in 2002, son Paddy became a monk for a time, Barby disappeared from public view and Joey became an extreme athlete. Only Kathy and Maite continued as musicians.

In 2016, former child star Angelo Kelly, now a father of five, announced that he, Patricia, Kathy, Jimmy, Joey, John and Paul would reunited for a May concert in Germany. It sold out in 18 minutes. Two more sold-out dates followed.