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Piper to the End – A Tribute to Liam O’Flynn

via Piper to the End – A Tribute to Liam O’Flynn

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 RTÉ: A salute to Andy Irvine

Updated / Monday, 22 Oct 2018 09:21

Andy Irvine performing at Imagining Ireland at the Royal Festival Hall, London in April 2016. Photo: Amy T. Zielinski/ Redferns/Getty Images
Andy Irvine performing at Imagining Ireland at the Royal Festival Hall, London in April 2016. Photo: Amy T. Zielinski/ Redferns/Getty Images
Analysis: throughout his remarkable career, Andy Irvine has remained a consummate singer, storyteller and interpreter of songsSince arriving in Dublin in 1962, Andy Irvine has been an ever-present figure on the Irish music scene, and is a worthy recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award at the inaugural RTÉ Radio 1 Folk Awards next week. Highly respected across the traditional and folk spectrum, the singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist is celebrated both for his solo work and for his contribution to a succession of ground-breaking ensembles, most notably Sweeney’s Men and Planxty.

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From RTÉ Radio One’s Second Captains, an interview with Andy Irvine (starts 4:03)

To understand his contribution to music in Ireland, and his influence on later musicians, it is helpful to look at how Irvine encountered this music for the first time. Born in London in 1942, his Irish mother and Scottish father had both been involved in music, and he found early success in film and TV as a child actor. Like many of his generation, his first involvement with folk or vernacular music came through the skiffle boom of the mid-1950s. He had already been studying classical guitar, but after hearing some of Lonnie Donegan’s recordings Irvine abandoned this to set up a skiffle group; a common step for many budding musicians in this period.

Skiffle’s eclectic repertoire introduced these young British and Irish musicians to a heady brew of American folk and blues sources, and it was through this that Irvine first encountered Woody Guthrie, who has served as a touchstone throughout his career. The attractions of the road, the identification with workers and the oppressed, and the potential power of protest song all stem from his relationship with Guthrie. Right from the outset, then, Irvine helped shape perceptions of Irish folk music in the 1960s and 1970s as having a political dimension, even if this wasn’t always the primary focus of his groups.

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From RTÉ Radio One’s Arena, Andy Irvine remembers the life and career of Woody Guthrie 

After some time in rep as an actor, Irvine moved to Dublin, where he became involved in the city’s burgeoning folk scene, and was caught up in the intensity and fervour of the folk revival. For Irvine and many others, this was a period of restless exploration and learning, whether from older singers, peers, recordings or books. The energy, camaraderie and the characters of the period are wonderfully captured in Irvine’s song “O’Donoghue’s”, named for the Merrion Row pub which was the hub of the 1960s revival.

While the folk clubs and pubs provided many opportunities for singing, there was little money in the scene, and a life of bohemian precariousness was punctuated with sometimes chaotic domestic and European tours. In 1966, Irvine joined with two of his regular partners, Joe Dolan (later replaced by Terry Woods) and the Dublin singer Johnny Moynihan, in the group Sweeney’s Men.

Sweeney’s Men – Johnny Moynihan, Andy Irvine and Terry Woods – in London in 1968. Photo: Brian Shuel/Redferns/Getty Images

 

Coinciding with the high point of the ballad boom, they had success with the singles “The Waxie’s Dargle” and “The Old Maid in the Garrett”, although the bulk of their material was more diverse and more exploratory in its blend of English, Scottish and American folk songs. The possibilities afforded by the combination of guitar, mandolin, and bouzouki laid the foundations for many other subsequent groups, and the occasional dance tunes pointed towards the more integrated approach of later bands, most notably Planxty.

Prior to the group coming together in the early 1970s, Irvine left Sweeney’s Men to travel and play in Eastern Europe, learning and bringing back tunes in distinctive Bulgarian asymmetrical rhythms. This encounter has left a significant imprint on Irish music, from Irvine’s own “Blacksmith/Blacksmithereens”, Bill Whelan’s Timedance” (1981), the “East Wind” collaboration with Davy Spillane (1992), and of course “Riverdance”(1994).

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From RTÉ Archives, Planxty playing “Kitty Gone A Milking” and “Music of the Forge” at the National Stadium in Dublin as featured on a June 1973 episode of The Music Makers

In one sense, the coming together of Irvine, Dónal LunnyChristy Moore and Liam O’Flynn as Planxty marked a détente between the sometimes-opposing forces of the folk music and traditional music revivals. It also coincided with (or helped spur) the emergence of a more youth-based traditional music culture, as is evident from Planxty’s concert footage in this period.

As well as electrifying audiences with their live concerts, the band released six studio albums that still impress today in their creativity and artistry. Among these were some of Irvine’s most memorable interpretations such as “The Jolly Beggarman”, “The Rambling Siúler” and his own “Băneasă’s Green Glade”.

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From RTÉ Archives, Planxty perform ‘You Rambling Boys of Pleasure” at the National Stadium in Dublin as featured on a May 1983 episode of Festival Folk

It was also during this period that Irvine forged a partnership with Paul Brady, who had joined Planxty as a replacement for Christy Moore in 1974. After the initial breakup of the group in 1975, Irvine and Brady developed the band’s unrecorded later material for one of the best-loved albums from this period.

The album’s reputation was further enhanced last year when it was commemorated through a concert tour that involved the performance of the whole album (albeit in a different order). This seems to have been the first time that a folk or traditional album has been celebrated using methods more usually associated with the production of “heritage rock”.

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After Planxty’s second stint, Irvine began to focus more on solo recording and touring, interspersing this with a vast array of collaborations and membership of other groups. Included among these is a long series of albums with Patrick Street extending from 1986 until 2007 and further explorations of the connections between different folk traditions with Mozaik. Most recently, Usher’s Island brings Irvine, Dónal Lunny and fiddler Paddy Glackin together with younger musicians who emerged in the 1990s such as Mick McGoldrick(flute) and John Doyle (guitar).

The motif of travel continues to be prominent in his musical career, with new pathways being forged to Australia, where he made his most recent recording, “Precious Heroes”, with the Australian mandolin player Luke Plumb. Included on the album are songs about miners’ rights, Irish anti-fascists in the Spanish Civil War and the Australian bushranger Ben Hall. Clearly, the inspiration of Woodie Guthrie on Irvine remains undimmed more than 50 years on from discovering him.

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From RTÉ Archives, a Nighthawks’ piece on Andy Irvine from 1990

Throughout his remarkable career, Irvine has remained a consummate singer, storyteller and interpreter of songs. Not only never tiring of the road, his career has also shown a tirelessness in seeking out new connections, new musical experiences, and new repertoire. Perhaps it is this – and his ability to bridge the folk, traditional and wider musical worlds – which has been most influential on later generations of musicians.

The inaugural RTÉ Radio 1 Folk Awards will take place in Vicar Street, Dublin on Thursday October 25th


The views expressed here are those of the author and do not represent or reflect the views of RTÉ

sourece: https://www.rte.ie/eile/brainstorm/2018/1021/1005709-andy-irvine-profile-folk-awards/ 

Simply Folk Recommends: Andy Irvine & Paul Brady’s masterpiece

Updated / Friday, 28 Sep 2018 14:51
Every week, Simply Folk host Ruth Smith selects a record from the folk music archives.

This week, she’s chosen the eponymous duo album from Andy Irvine and Paul Brady.

Andy Irvine / Paul Brady

Released December 1976 (Mulligan Music Ltd)

Produced by Dónal Lunny

Additional musicians: Kevin Burke & Dónal Lunny

Most days, in my adopted town of Scariff in East Clare, I pass by The Merriman Tavern, a centuries-old stone building that began life in 1865 as a grain mill, and went on to become one of the most important folk music venues in Ireland in the 60’s & 70’s.

It’s now under lock and key and donning a ‘For Sale’ sign, but as the saying goes, ‘if the walls could talk’ they’d probably choose to sing instead, given the musical memories stored within. At its height. everyone from the Chieftans and Clannad to Christy Moore, the Wolfe Tones and Planxty played there – Finbar Furey credits The Merriman Tavern as the first place himself and his brother Eddie played together as The Fureys.

Listen to Andy Irvine / Paul Brady above:

Another first that happened in the town of Scariff in 1976 was the occasion that Andy Irvine and Paul Brady played their very first gig as a duo, in the very same Merriman Tavern.

Shortly after the break-up of Planxty in December 1975, the pair gravitated towards playing together based on the easy musical bond they had discovered over the previous years. The result of that musical union is an album still considered to be a peerless classic in the folk music canon.

Recorded over 10 days in Rockfield Studios, Wales from 24th August 1976, Irvine and Brady were joined by Kevin Burke on fiddle and Dónal Lunny as producer, along with his trademark bouzouki and some guitar, bodhrán and backing vocals throughout the album, too.

Released in December of 1976, their eponymous album is a collection of 10 tracks full of artistry, investigation, individual skill and collective musical ease. From the moment we hear the opening canonic strains of The Plains of Kildarewe’re carried by the confidence and inventiveness of the music through asymmetrical Balkan meters, otherworldly Hurdy-Gurdy drones, the filigree of mandolin & bouzouki interplay and some of the most definitive versions of folk song ever captured.

Outside of Brady’s unmatched and well-known rendition of the anti-recruitment ballad Arthur McBride, tracks to mention include the tender and magical Ulster love song Lough Erne Shore, that Brady learned from the Man of Song, Paddy Tunney:

Then there’s The Streets of Derry, sung by Irvine, one of the 3 songs on the album taken from the collections of Northern Irish musicologist Sam Henry:

And finally, there’s Autumn Gold, a self-penned number from Irvine written in the late 60’s after time spent in Eastern Europe showcasing his poetic sensibilities and his adroit melodic skill:

Listen to Simply Folk on RTÉ Radio 1 on Sundays at 10pm.

Ruth Smith is the co-presenter (with John Creedon) of this year’s inaugural RTÉ Radio 1 Irish Folk Awards, where Andy Irvine will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award, which take place on October 25th, 2018 in Vicar Street, Dublin – find out more here.

 

source: https://www.rte.ie

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