RTÉ

 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”.

https://embed.spotify.com/album/6VmfFekXsv7GJeaZiTZde5

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/ 

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Listen Back: 16th Apr 2017 – RTE Radio 1 – The History Show (Easter Sunday)

The History Show

A special Easter Sunday programme looking at Ireland in 1917 – a year on from the Rising, with historian Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh; playwright Philip Orr; and poet Dermot Bolger.

Andy Featured on the History Show singing a song written in 1917 "That's the Stuff to Give 'Em". 
Unfortunately the songs has been intentionally excluded from the podcast. 
You can listen back to the show to hear a background to the song anyway which is rather interesting none the less.

 A year on from the Easter Rising

In the programme, we look at life in Ireland in 1917 – a year on from the Easter Rising.  Myles is joined by Galway historian, Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh; Belfast playwright Philip Orr; by Katherine McSharry from the National Library; and Mark Duncan from Century Ireland.  There’s also music from Andy Irvine and Kate O’Callaghan; a poetry reading by actor, Barry McGovern; and a reflection by writer, Dermot Bolger.


About The Show

Bringing the past to life! Discover how our world was shaped as Myles Dungan and guests explore events ranging from medieval times to the recent past.

We want to help explain ourselves to ourselves. We will search out fresh angles on familiar topics, seek out the unfamiliar and will not shy away from bizarre or controversial issues. Our ultimate goal is to make The History Show the primary port of call for those with an intense or even a modest interest in the subject. We want to entice the casual and the curious to join us in celebrating the past.

Our aim is to create informative, reflective, stimulating and above all, entertaining radio.

Join us on Sundays from 6.05pm for The History Show with Myles Dungan on RTÉ Radio 1.

Listen: rte.ie/radio


THAT’S THE STUFF TO GIVE ‘EM

I’m always fond of company; I’m always fond of noise
And never so delighted as when with the Khaki boys
To try and make our Tommies smile of songs I’ve sung a few
It’s grand to hear them on the march and don’t they sing ’em too.

Chorus: That’s the stuff, that’s the stuff, that’s the stuff to give ’em
There’s nothing beats the cheery song
To help our gallant boys along
Never mind about the words
Blow the bloomin’ rhythm
But a nice little girl with a saucy curl
That’s the stuff to give ’em.

They do say half a dozen women round a pot of tea
Will talk for hours and hours of things they never see
But if you’d like to hear the spicy stories they can spin
Just place that same old half a dozen round a drop of gin.

Chorus: That’s the stuff, that’s the stuff, that’s the stuff to give ’em
A drop of Mother’s ruin neat
They soon begin to feel their feet
When their tongues begin to wag
There’s nothing in it with ’em
And to open a school for scandal, whoa
That’s the stuff to give ’em.

When nice and cosy in your bed you can’t say it’s a treat
When wifey dabs into your back a pair of icy feet
And when the twins begin to cry then off will go the clothes
For safety pins and dummies, well you bet that Mother knows.

Chorus: That’s the stuff, that’s the stuff, that’s the stuff to give ’em
And when the twins begin to shout,
You shouldn’t put yourselves about
Mother knows just what to do
As soon as she gets with ’em
Oh, a tickling up with the powder puff
That’s the stuff to give ’em.

You often hear a fellow say he’s tired of married life
Well, that’s because he knows not how to treat his darling wife
But I’ve invented something that will please each little dear
It isn’t much but I can guarantee what I’ve got here.

Chorus: That’s the stuff, that’s the stuff, that’s the stuff to give ’em
When wifey dear begins to jaw
Why, don’t go out and slam the door
Never argue, never shout,
Or say that you’ll forgive ’em
But a nice little tap on the top of the nap
That’s the stuff to give ’em.

Written and composed by Harry Freeman & George Grant – 1917
Performed by Harry Freeman (1858-1922)

source: monologues.co.uk

Archive: 30th Jul 2004 – RTÉ Radio Interview

Here is a short interview with Andy Irvine from an RTÉ Radio show 30th July 2004. Andy also sang three songs, Prince Among Men, O’Donoghues and Reynardine. Andy’s words in bold.


The first half of the show is music, music, music from Andy Irvine, who’s public debut was in ‘A Tale Of Five Cities’ but eventually he left the ‘star child thing’ and went on to discover skiffle and moved into music. The history has not been a very linear beginning, middle or end, so he is guarded that trend throughout his career. Many of the great bands and albums of the last 30 years have benefited from his great musicianship. Including Sweeney’s Men, Planxty, Patrick Street and now, the cross border, cross ocean Mozaik. Not even to mention ‘that’ album with Paul Brady. Andy Irvine joins me in the studio this morning.

A very, very warm welcome Andy Irvine.

A- Thanks Myles.

We’re going to hear a few pieces of music from you and we may as well start with one straight away. Your going to play a thing called ‘Prince Among Men’

A – Yeah, A Prince Among Men. I wrote it a few years ago. I met a man in Glasgow, who’s Father had been a coal miner and who had worked very hard to avoid his son going down the pit as well, so it is just that.

( sings song ) 

Thank you very much, terrific song. Prince Among Men from Andy Irvine. You were actually in the studio a few weeks ago with Planxty.

A – Yeah!  (more…)

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