Andy Irvine

Irish Examiner Review – Andy Irvine at Cork Folk Festival 2017

Crowd soaks up sweet sounds at Cork Folk Festival opening night

 

THE two Irelands met a few hundred yards from each other near the South Main Street, Cork last night, where a 1,000-year-old Viking weaver’s sword was recently discovered by archaeologists at the historic site of the former Beamish and Crawford brewery.

But they might well have been thousands of miles apart.

The first gig of Féile Chorcaí saw the high king and high queens of Irish folk music, Andy Irvine, and Tríona and Maighread Ní Dhomhnaill take to the stage at Triskel Christchurch for a classic opening to the 38th Cork Folk Festival.

The width of a street away, an altogether different cultural and musical experience was in full flow outside two of the city’s nightclubs. What a contrast. One venue oozing history, the other oozing histrionics. But life goes on, and so did the music.

Sitting in the balcony of a Triskel venue, also steeped in history, directly under a memorial to one Major Arthur Gibbins, Kings Dragoon Guards, of Glenburn Glanmire, who died on the march from Meerut to Agra in India on October 27, 1881, age 35, we were insulated from the outside world, transported away from Trump, Rocket Man, Syria, threatened strikes and a weary world as the Ní Dhomhnaill sisters took us on an altogether harmonious journey to Gaoth Domhair, Tory Island… and Cahersiveen for a beautiful rendition of a song their mother, from Doneraile, loved dearly, (The Boys of) Barr Na Sráide.

This was an opening act that filled you with the final rays of autumn warmth, enough to keep you ticking over ’til the approach of the tinsel and toasts of Christmas, with ‘The False Fly’ and my favourite, ‘Do You Love and Apple’, among the many songs to warm the cockles and muscles of the heart.

The old pews and creaking wooden floorboards were soaking up the sweet sounds. And so were we.

Then up stepped Andy Irvine: “It’s lovely to be here, lovely to be anywhere, said the 75-year-old as he launched into what appear like mini novels, ‘When The Boys Are On Parade’, ‘The Three Huntsmen’, ‘You Rambling Boys of Pleasure’, ‘Down By The Sally Gardens’, ‘Prince Among Men’ and ‘Houdini’, with guitar and bouzouki finger work that would still give anyone a run for their money.

Then came ‘that’ special song he wrote while in a hospital bed, following his near drowning accident in Australia. “Your life flashes before you. I was amazed how much I had forgotten… and out of that brilliant mind came ‘My Heart’s Tonight in Ireland (in the sweet County Clare). It brought tears to one American visitor’s eyes, it’s not hard to see why.

“The Close Shave’, drew howls of laughter for the lyrics about a gold digger in Down Under who gets off with woman, only to wake up the next morning to find all his gold gone. “Why did she need the wig? Why did she need to shave? It’s then the truth it struck me, in a fit of blinding rage. Her hair as yellow as the gold she stole from me and you’.

Then it was back to Cork to honour a woman of altogether different morals. “I can’t come here without singing this song”, he told us … and out came The Spirit of Mary Jones, about the Leeside-born woman who organised American union workers.

Irvine was on fire as the night drew to a close with The Blacksmith, which brought the house down. “My mother says I have to leave stage and then come back for the encore. I never had the confidence to do that,” he said as he finished up with ‘As I Roved Out’, aptly followed by the final song of the night from his all-time hero, Woodie Guthrie, ‘Never Tire Of The Road’.

Just like that Viking sword unearthed this summer, the Ní Dhomhnaills, Irvine, Cork Folk Festival organisers William Hammond and Jim Walsh, and a myriad of volunteers, proved once again what national treasures they are. And when it come to Irvine, you know what they say… the older the fiddle, the sweeter the tune.

Friday, September 29, 2017 - Eoin Edwards

From <http://www.corkfolkfestival.com/eoin-edwards-irish-examiner-review-of-andy-irvine-last-night/>

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Archive: Reviews – Rain On The Roof (1996)

Label: AK (2) ‎– AK-1

Released: 1996


Andy Irvine has been labeled as a ‘ Legend of Irish music ‘, over the years and this must be a very heavy weight to carry around and to record new material under. Though he seems to do so with ease.

Rain on the Roof is a solo album, which up until very recently, was only sold at his concerts. It is an album of exceptional quality and freshness, that leaves you wanting more of the atmosphere created on this disc. It is mainly recorded in one take, just Andy, bouzouki and microphone. It is as close to a live recording as they come and is a small taste of what you would experience from his concerts. A small taste, as he has a very large repertoire now. This album leaves you wishing for more of that repertoire to be recorded in the same vein. I am not a big fan of people re-recording old tracks, they never seem to capture the emotion and energy from those first attempts, but there are very rare exceptions to that and this is definitely one of them.

The first track is prince among men, I loved the original with Andy and Patrick Street but this version knocks it flat. The emotion and atmosphere created here and to be honest, on the whole album is astounding. It reminds me of the feeling I had when I first heard him play live. Fantastic !

The second Track is Banesas’s Green Glade and I have admit that my first thoughts when reading the track listing was, why would anyone even try to redo this track. The original is a classic but somehow the emotion on this recording is spot on. This was originally done together with Planxty and it asks how would ‘Rambling boys of Pleasure’, ‘ Aragon Mills’ or a mountain of others sound with this treatment. I have seen Andy play ‘You Rambling boys of Pleasure’ live and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house, magical. Baneasa is following by a Balkan tune called Daichevo Horo, an excellent tune and I love the way this slow emotional track progresses to the fury of the Balkan melody. I have to say that I prefer the original combination of Baneasas being followed by Mominsko Horo but that takes nothing away from this version. I have seen him play Banesas/ Daichevo Horo live and it is quite breathe taking.

Rain on the Roof/ The Blue Mountains of New South Wales. Turn this track up to get full effect of the Rain and Didgeredoo. Surprising really, how well the mandolin works with the didgeredoo. Andy has spent so much time in Australia, that I am surprised he hasn’t recorded more of it. I love the feeling in this track !

My Hearts tonight in Ireland first appeared on a compilation album called Common Ground around ’96. Again a beautiful tune played together with Donal Lunny , Rens Van Der Zalm etc. But once again this version has so much more feeling to it. A tune of remember the good ol’ days back in Ireland and times of Sweeney’s’s men. In this version you can really hear it in his voice. This is sure to be one of those classic Irish tunes.

Forgotten Hero, was another track done with Patrick Street, about Michael Davitt. Again this opens the thoughts of a few more Patrick Street tracks reworked with this solo treatment. ‘Brackagh Hill’, ‘Springfield road/ monday Blues ‘ to name a few.

Pamela’s Ruchenitsa/ Gruncharsko Horo/ Bakers Dozen, I never get tired of hearing Andy playing this type of Balkan tunes. In the first concert I ever saw him play, it was these type of Balkan music that made me want to play the bouzouki. It still does !

He Fades Away is a new track and a wonderful one too. Written by Alaistar Hullett it paints a grim picture of asbestos miners, through the eyes of they’re wives. It is a very powerful tune and one that Andy sings with his heart.

Come with me over the mountain/ smile in the dark. A very lively set here, and the mandola here sounding in top form. I will have to get around to learning the Smile in the Dark. Wonderful. If anyone out there can play this, send me the tab.

The monument, the only track on the album that I don’t personally like. Maybe this is where Aragon mills or even Raoul Wallenberg could have been slipped in. A sad song with a serious not, and still beautifully sung.

Take no Prisoners and Old Brunswick are brilliantly played here. I get great pleasure listening to these tunes and even greater pleasure playing them. A really great set of tunes, for the bouzouki. The Balkan tunes on this album have a real edge to them and this is something that I would have like to have heard a lot more of on East Wind. A great album with Davy Spillane but Andy is washed out a little too much in the mix for my taste. I could listen to these tunes all day!

Never Tire of the Road, first appeared on Andy’s Rude Awakening album. A tune that has over the years, become Andy’s signature tune. I really like the original tune from the moment I heard it and was singing it for days. The Rain on the Roof version of this tune is more up beat, faster and is played with a little more aggression in its attack. A really great choice, for a final track and an incredible version too.

This is a very impressive rework of some of Andy’s material and presented together with some wonderful new songs and tunes. I must admit to have grown a little tired of a lot of albums these days being so over produced and a lot of the instruments being lost in the mix. While music is being mixed and produced to the ceiling, I feel so much of the emotion and feeling is falling through the floor. This album comes across with a fresh, crisp mix and performed with such emotion that you are sucked in to the atmosphere that is created in the words sung. I have to say this is my favorite album by Andy Irvine, and quite possibly my favorite album in my entire CD collection!

by Kieron

source: China2Galway.com [deadlink]

Interview: Cork Folk Festival headliner Andy Irvine on the road again

Monday, September 25, 2017

At 75, Cork Folk Festival headliner Andy Irvine still gets a buzz out of touring and playing his music, writes Joe Dermody.

Andy Irvine plays Triskel in Cork on Thursday night.

FOREVER the musician’s musician, Andy Irvine also has the somewhat unusual good fortune to be almost universally loved by audiences.

Expect a warm reception this Thursday when he headlines a night in Triskel Christchurch as part of this year’s Cork Folk Festival. His show follows the impressive opening act of Maighread and Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill, the famed sisters of the Bothy Band and Skara Brae.

“Hardly an opening act, more like a double bill,” Andy jokingly corrects me. Fair point.

Given his unique vocal style, you might expect the mention of Andy Irvine’s name to polarise opinion. Not at all.

In fact, if he were on Facebook, he’d break the ‘Like’ counter. When I tell people I’ve interviewed the London-born singer, literally everyone I speak to says they love Andy. Quickly followed by ‘What’s he like?’

As it turns out, he’s very chilled. I was running late for the interview, stuck in traffic, so I texted to seek a 15-minute delay. He texts back: “No problem, Joe!”

When I land, I begin with an apology. He stops me: “You weren’t interrupting anything. I was only out doing a bit of gardening.”

At 75, the gardening helps keep him fit, he says. And he is very fit. Mind you, he has been on his feet a long time. He began touring with Sweeney’s Men in 1965.

He still does shows all over the world, and he regularly gigs with Mozaik, Patrick Street and Paul Brady. Does he still love it as much as ever?

“I have always enjoyed it,” he says. “When I started out, I had no idea that I’d make a living out of music. I can’t think of a single time when I said to myself ‘I hate this’.

“I have said yes to so many gigs over the years. At this time of the year, I’d usually be going to Germany, usually in November, but I’m not this year. I am doing a show in Argentina in December; there’s a great folk club there that I really like. I’m also a big hit in Patagonia.”

It’s not just for his name that Irvine is big in the Andes. He brings a lot of travel and cultural depth to the way he plays mandolin; mandola; bouzouki; hurdy-gurdy; guitar-bodied bouzouki. His sound connects with people in so many cultures.

Irvine formed the legendary Planxty with Christy Moore, Donal Lunny and Liam O’Flynn in 1982. The band’s epic all-too-brief reunion was captured on a great DVD of their 2004 Vicar Street performances. Any chance of further reunions?

“No one has mentioned it. It’s too bad that it hasn’t happened again. I really enjoyed that. We were better than we had ever been, as energetic as we were as young men, and

musically we were more mature.

“Vicar Street is a lovely place to play, like a big folk club. I also really like the Triskel. I played there a good few times, including a Sweeney’s Men reunion. It feels like a concert venue.”

Last year’s 40th reunion shows with Paul Brady were also a big

success, featuring appearances by Donal Lunny and Kevin Burke. Any more of those on the horizon?

“We are thinking of doing something again next year, but we’re not sure. You can hardly celebrate your 41st or 42nd anniversary. Paul is such a great writer, and it’s good to mix styles. Paul’s main line is a different line to mine. He’s a bit rockier than I am.”

While on the subject of revivals, any chance of Andy reviving his acting career? He appeared in several Abbey productions, had a small role in the film Room At The Top (1959). Then, from about the ages of 8-14, he was a child star in RTÉ’s soap opera Tolka Row.

“I was a great child actor, but then I lost the desire. I did a lot of TV. I was in Tolka Row until 1963, and it was around this time that I started my music career. We were all playing in clubs before we played together. Sweeney’s Men was our first band.

“Then I had a desire to travel. In 1968, I headed to Eastern Europe. I learned a lot of new instruments and new rhythms.

“When I came back to Ireland, other people also started playing those rhythms. I suppose that’s what I brought to folk music.”

That’s a fairly modest account of Andy’s role in the way that Irish folk music broadened and evolved in the 1970s and into the 1980s.

The reality is that he is among the henchmen of choice for all the big names of the folk circuit, not just in Ireland but all over the globe.

I try to confirm one old tale of how the ballad of ‘Little Musgrave’ came into being. One version of the tale goes that Christy Moore found some old lyrics in a library, but no tune; Andy put a tune to it, and it became an all-time favourite for many.

“Whatever Christy said is fine by me. Let the legend stand; I wouldn’t want to be the one to knock it down,” says Andy politely, but firmly.

No guff, no showbiz blarney, nothing but the music. There’s a good reason Andy Irvine remains one of the most celebrated and loved of Ireland’s folk stars, both with the musicians and the fans.

Andy Irvine plays Triskel Christchurch in Cork on Thursday as part of Cork Folk Festival. Also on the bill for the gig are Also Maighread and Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill.

 

From <http://www.corkfolkfestival.com/cork-folk-festival-headliner-andy-irvine-on-the-road-again/>