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Live report: Up Close and Personal with Andy Irvine and Donal Lunny at The Grand Social

Hot Press presents Up Close & Personal with… Donal Lunny and Andy Irvine from PLANXTY at The Grand Social, Dublin.

Chelsea Henderson

CHELSEA HENDERSON

Andy Irvine and Donal Lunny revisited their 1973 album Planxty on Tuesday night, as part of the Up Close and Personal series at the Grand Social. The Up Close and Personal series is run in partnership by Hot `Press and Aidan Shortall of Up Close and Personal promotions, and is supported by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.

In 1973, Irish folk group Planxty released their eponymous debut album. Musicians Andy Irvine, Donal Lunny, Christy Moore and Liam O’Flynn transformed the landscape of Irish music, representing a pivotal moment in the evolution of Irish traditional music.

As part of the Up Close and Personal series, Irvine and Lunny revisited their legendary album, speaking with Hot Press’ Pat Carty about their lives and careers leading up to – and beyond – the creation of Planxty. Donal Lunny, Pat Carty and Andy Irvine. Hot Press presents Up Close & Personal with… Donal Lunny and Andy Irvine from PLANXTY at The Grand Social, Dublin.

Produced by Phil Coulter, who had a bit of a laissez-faire approach since the Planxty musicians had a clear-cut vision for their eponymous album, Planxty was a revolutionary album, sparking a wave of excitement in the Irish folk and trad community. As described by Carty, the work of Irvine and Lunny – and their Planxty cohorts – represented a “seismic shift” in the Irish folk idiom, due to their innovative mixing of ballads and tunes. For the musicians, however, the process was an organic one, driven by a love and passion for the music itself.

“I’m not sure that any of us really understood the success we acquired,” said Irvine. “It’s what we did.”

“It’s not that we had no control of it,” added Lunny, “but it’s what we loved.”

Throughout the night, Carty guided the musicians through their careers, talking about how they got to where they are now. For Lunny, he discovered music alongside fellow Irish folk icon (and Planxty man) Christy Moore. During sessions at Pat Downing’s, he found a like-minded community – and a new obsession.

“That’s really where I developed a passion for traditional music,” said Lunny about his times at Pat Downing’s.

Elsewhere, Irvine was an actor in London, where he was born and had spent much of his childhood.

“I was a child actor, and I was very good,” he admitted with a laugh. “I say that without conceit because all child actors are good.”

When he finally moved to Dublin, he said that he “found the niche in life [he] was looking for.”

After listening to the album’s opening track, ‘Raggle Taggle Gypsy’, Irvine and Lunny began their first live performance, ‘Arthur McBride’. From their seats on stage, the two men exuded a commanding presence and showcased their powerful musicianship. The song – by now an Irish folk standard – which expresses an anti-war sentiment, was greeted by huge applause from the crowd. Hot Press presents Up Close & Personal with… Donal Lunny and Andy Irvine from PLANXTY at The Grand Social, Dublin.

In between listens to ‘Planxty Irwin’, ‘Sweet Thames Flow Softly’ and ‘Junior Crehan’s Favourite – Corney Is Coming’, the musicians discussed their times on the road, the introduction of the bouzouki into Irish music, and where the name ‘Planxty’ came from – though it seems that both Irvine and Lunny were unsure of the origin of the latter word.

“It could have derived from the word ‘sláinte’,” Lunny started to explain. “You grow into the name, and the name becomes novel.”

‘The West Coast of Clare’ was the second track performed live, featuring delicate and precise backing on the musicians’ instruments. With the audience hanging on every note, the song’s deep emotions could be felt throughout the venue.

This was followed by the recorded versions of ‘The Jolly Beggar – Reel’, ‘Only Our Rivers’ and ‘Sí Bheag, Sí Mhór.’

Though Planxty’s ‘Follow Me Up To Carlow’ and ‘Merrily Kissed The Quaker’ went unplayed for time reasons – there was so much great conversation, the night flew! – the duo finished the evening with a performance of ‘The Blacksmith’. The Eastern European-influenced track is unique in its time signature and quirks, highlighting Irvine and Lunny’s incredible musicianship. Fingers were flying on both bouzouki and mandolin, the music filled with a passion that clearly hasn’t diminished since the original release of the album in 1973.

The final song was greeted by a standing ovation from a raucous crowd, who were whooping, hollering and cheering for the legendary musicians, capping off another excellent night of the Up Close and Personal series at The Grand Social. Hot Press presents Up Close & Personal with… Donal Lunny and Andy Irvine from PLANXTY at The Grand Social, Dublin.

See more pictures from Andy Irvine and Donal Lunny: Up Close and Personal here.

source: hotpress.com

Andy Irvine celebrates Woody Guthrie at the NCH

Updated / Friday, 1 Oct 2021 18:21

On 2nd October, Andy Irvine presents his Woody Guthrie Project at the National Concert Hall with Rens van der Zalm. Below, Andy talks about the influence of Woody, his correspondence with the folk icon and what people can expect from his NCH show.

I spent my early youth searching for the music I knew existed somewhere, the music that would lift my soul. I didn’t find it in my mother’s cracked and scratched collection of musical comedy 78s and I didn’t find it when Bill Haley & the Comets came to Europe in 1956. I nearly found it in the early 45 rpm singles of Rhythm & Blues recorded by the likes of Fats Domino. But…not quite. I found it for a short time with Lonnie Donegan and the Skiffle bands that proliferated a little later and on the sleeve of one of Lonnie’s early EPs I first saw the name that was to motivate me through my life—Woody Guthrie.

Woody Guthrie, pictured in 1940

I found an album, oddly titled More Songs by Woody Guthrie and Cisco Houston as it was the only one available. At home I placed the stylus on the first track and as the needle picked up the very first sound of Columbus Stockade a tingle went down my spine. The instrumental intro was followed by an Oklahoman voice, singing, “Way down in Columbus Stockade, want to be back in Tennessee”. And I knew I had found my treasure!

The notes on the back of the album gave nothing away as to who these two men were; I knew they were American, but the world was a much larger place in those days, and I could find no further information. Were they alive or dead?

The notes on the back of the album gave nothing away as to who these two men were; I knew they were American, but the world was a much larger place in those days, and I could find no further information. Were they alive or dead?

Not long after that, somebody introduced me to Pete Seeger and he told me about Woody being incarcerated in Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital in New Jersey. Finally, I was able to make contact. Unfortunately, Woody was unable to hold a pen by this time as he had inherited, full blown, from his mother, the genetic disease which was at that time called Huntingdon’s Chorea and had little or no control over his limbs.

Letters were written on his behalf by a lady who would take him out of the hospital at weekends to be entertained by his friends and admirers.

https://embed.spotify.com/album/4S2lUeHgZEvtsiR8OfCkTV

I’ve always been so proud of the fact that Woody and I were friends in this fashion. I began to record songs on tape for Woody and one letter from Sid Gleason, told me how he would sing along with me.

As the years rolled by and Woody died in 1967, I discovered traditional Irish Music and also started writing my own songs, a lot of them very much in Woody’s style.

It has been one of the plus moments of this pandemic that I have had a lot of time to come back to Woody’s songs and in the last year, I have begun to record an album of his songs with the help of a grant from the Arts Council.

Watch: Never Tire of the Road – Andy Irvine salutes Woody Guthrie

I’m delighted to showcase some of these songs at the NCH with my old friend and brilliant musician, Rens van der Zalm. The repertoire that we will be presenting is largely less well-known songs of Woody’s and will represent some historic moments in American history that may well be new to the audience.

Songs about Tom Mooney, whose parents were Irish, and who was wickedly and wrongly convicted of setting off a bomb at a parade in San Francisco, Henry Wallace, who was nearly President of the USA after FDR died in 1945 and who stood for President in 1948, a song about Charles Lindbergh and “The America First” committee who wanted to keep US out of the second World War – until Pearl Harbour intervened.

Andy Irvine presents his Woody Guthrie Project at the National Concert Hall, Dublin with Rens van der Zalm On 2nd October, as part of the Tradition Now festival – find out more here.

Andy Irvine presents his Woody Guthrie Project at the National Concert Hall, Dublin with Rens van der Zalm On 2nd October, as part of the Tradition Now festival – find out more here.

Andy Irvine – Gigs aplenty! IRE / UK / GER / NL

SEPTEMBER 2021

Andy’s back on the road! Never Tire!

GIGS in IRELAND

Fri 17.Dolan’s, LimerickGet Ticket
Sat 18.The Doolin Sessions @Hotel DoolinGet Ticket
Sun 19.Carlingford Heritage Centre, Carlingford w/Zoë Conway & John McIntyreGet Ticket
Tue 21.The White Horse, Ballincollig w/Dónal LunnyGet Ticket
Fri 24.The Hot Spot Music Club, Greystones – Reschedule to October 22Get Ticket
Sat 25.- Sun 26.Hibernacle Presents “Meet Me At The Castle” @Claregalway CastleGet Ticket

OCTOBER 2021

SOLO TOUR in UK

Sun 3.Laugharne Weekend Festival, West WalesGet Ticket
Tue 5.Live at the Star, GLASGOW – PostponedGet Ticket
Thur 7.Live at Sam’s, SHEFFIELDGet Ticket
Fri 8.Blaxhall Sessions, BLAXHALLGet Ticket
Sun 10.The Irish Cultural Centre, LONDONGet Ticket
Mon 11.The Garret Sessions, @TADS Theatre, TODDINGTONGet Ticket
Tue 12.Kitchen Garden Café, BIRMINGHAMGet Ticket

GIGS in IRELAND

Fri 15.Cyprus Avenue, CorkGet Ticket
Thur 21.Spiegeltent, WexfordGet Ticket
Fri 22.The Hot Spot Music Club, GreystonesGet Ticket

ANDY IRVINE & PAUL BRADY “A Celebration Of A Classic Album”
featuring Dónal Lunny & Kevin Burke

-ALL ORIGINAL TICKETS REMAIN VALID-

Sun 17.Cork Opera House, Cork – Reschedule to 24th January 2022Get Ticket
Wed 20.Royal Theatre, Castlebar – Reschedule to 30th January 2022Get Ticket
Thur 21.Vicar St, Dublin – Reschedule to 31st January 2022Get Ticket
Fri 22.Vicar St, Dublin – Reschedule to 1st February 2022Get Ticket
Sun 24.Perth Concert Hall, Perth – Reschedule to 26th January 2022Get Ticket
Mon 25.Waterfront Hall, Belfast – Reschedule to 28th January 2022Get Ticket

SOLO TOUR in GERMANY & NETHERLANDS

Thurs 28.Katholische Kirche, HattingenGet Ticket
Fri 29.Heimathaus, Rotenburg/WümmeGet Ticket
Sat 30.Kleinkunstbühne, MeissenGet Ticket
Sun 31.Haus Schulenburg, GeraGet Ticket

NOVEMBER 2021

SOLO TOUR in GERMANY & NETHERLANDS

Tue 2.Kulturmanufaktur Gerstenberg, Frankfurt/OderGet Ticket
Wed 3.Alter Gasometer, ZwickauGet Ticket
Thur 4.ufaFabrik, BerlinGet Ticket
Fri 5.Osdorf Heidbarghof, HamburgGet Ticket
Sat 6.Künstlerzeche Unser Fritz 2/3, HerneGet Ticket
Sun 7.Fletcher Hotel-Restaurant Boschoord, OisterwijkGet Ticket
Mon 8.Irish Folk Club im Stemmerhof, MünchenGet Ticket
Tue 9.360°Gasometer, PforzheimGet Ticket
Wed 10.Folk im Feuerschlösschen, Bad HonnefGet Ticket
Fri 12.Pumpwerk, HockenheimGet Ticket
Sat 13.Club Kuckucksei, NürtingenGet Ticket
Sun 14.Venue-TBA, BüdingenGet Ticket

STREAM: Solidarity for Palestine – 31st May 2021

Musicians’ Union Of Ireland & SIPTU announce livestream gig in aid of Gaza

The concert will be broadcast on Facebook and Youtube on May 31st from 8pm, with proceeds being donated to MECA (Middle East Children’s Alliance).

Musicians’ Union Of Ireland and SIPTU have organised a livestream ‘Gig for Gaza’ concert, set to raise vital funds for children’s medical aid in the region.

Supported by the Palestinian Embassy, ‘Gig for Gaza’ will feature special performances and appearances from Palestinian rap sensation MC Abdul, Frances Black, Harry Bradley, Paul Anderson, Francy Devine, Andy Irvine, Róisín Elsafty, John Kelly, Aoife Kelly, Charlie le Brun, Sean McGinley, Sean McKeon, Niamh Parsons, Graham Dunne, Ann Russell, Ciara Taaffe, and Éoghan Ó Ceannabháin.

All proceeds will be donated to MECA (Middle East Children’s Alliance) to aid the youth of Gaza.

Details of how to donate will be carried on the broadcast and contained in a Facebook Event page.

“Thanks are due to the musicians and actors who are taken part and freely giving their talents – a tremendous commitment to the Palestinian cause. Lockdown has meant that in most cases, musicians and other workers in the arts have been denied any opportunity to perform, engage with an audience or earn any income,” a press statement says.

Trad/roots: Andy Irvine and Paul Brady Waterfront concert is one to look forward to

Things seem to be starting to get up and running again music-wise, and what better way to return to gig-going than in the company of Andy Irvine and Paul Brady performing their most celebrated collaborative recording live?

Andy Irvine and Paul Brady will perform at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast on October 25

Robert McMillen14 May, 2021 01:00

THE boys are back in town. Yes, Andy Irvine and Paul Brady are heading to Belfast’s Waterfront Hall on October 25, to again celebrate their eponymous classic of Irish folk song and music.

In the same way that nearly every household in the free world had The Eagles Greatest Hits, Bridge Over Troubled Waters and, er, Tubular Bells in their LP collection during the 1970s, folk fans had the ginger mop of Brady and the toussle-haired and bearded Irvine look out at them from the famous blue cover with a “wait till yez hear this” look about them.

Indeed, the pair had created new clothing for the Irish repertoire, taking classics like The Streets of Derry, Mary and the Soldier and, of course, Arthur McBride, turning them into something that chimed with the mood of the nation as it was back then.

In May 2017 the duo decided, due to the album’s still immense popularity, to do an Irish tour of live shows marking the 40th anniversary of its release. So successful was it that it was repeated in 2018, taking it to sold-out events in Ireland, London and Prague with other performances planned for 2020.

However, a certain pandemic got in the way but 44 years since it first came out audiences are still hooked on the fabulous songs, beautifully adapted and passionately performed; so much so that, by popular demand, Aiken Promotions have just announced that the duo’s performances which had been planned for March 2021 in the Waterfront Hall in Belfast and in Vicar Street in Dublin are now being rescheduled to October. They’ve even added an extra date at the Cork Opera House.

The show features songs and tunes from the album and many other musical masterpieces that Andy and Paul have performed throughout both of their illustrious careers and, as on the previous tours, they will be accompanied by Dónal Lunny and Kevin Burke, both of whom were players on the original album recording, with Dónal also producing the record.

Tickets for the Waterfront gig cost £38 and are now on sale from waterfront.co.uk or you can call the Box office at (028) 90 334455.

The revised dates are Cork Opera House – Sunday, October 17 2021; Vicar Street, October 21 and 22 and the Waterfront Hall, Tuesday October 25 2021.

Original Tickets remain valid for the new shows.

source: irishnews.com