Month: December 2016

Archive: 1980 Hotpress Interview

Music/Interview: 26 Jun 1980 Dermot Stokes


Dermot Stokes records a personal history of Irish Folk through the eyes of Andy Irvine

I. Early Days

“I started off playing American stuff on the guitar. Woody Guthrie was my idol, and I wanted to play every instrument that he played. So I started playing the mandolin too. Then I met Johnny Moynihan, and he was singing ‘Van Diemen’s Land’ and playing the mandolin as well and I thought, ‘Amazing! You can accompany your singing on the mandolin and take it from there!’ Which I did. But if I hadn’t been into American music in the first place, I don’t think I would have arrived at the same starting point for the accompanied singing of Irish songs.”

Andy Irvine is a highly acclaimed folk singer, both on his own and in partnership with other singers and musicians, such as Paul Brady, and especially Planxty. Yet he’s a lot more also. As the opening quote shows, his musical roots are on another continent, and he also has utilised eastern European music and rhythms, as well as jazz in his personal, and so far open-ended musical odyssey. And while he is best known, and most usually seen as a folk singer, the term does not do him full justice.

“Folk singer” and “traditional musician” are phrases that are heavy with suggestion – old men in smoky corners passing on an age-old inheritance of music and song, a gradual, local and almost anonymous process. It is part of his music, of course, and he has served his times in the smoky sessions too. But his vision, his experience and the music he has written, sung and records transcend the local, the gradual, and the anonymous, because he’s . . . Andy Irvine, who while undoubtedly modest, shy and retiring, is also a well-known public figure, one of a number of people basing their music non traditional sources, who have revolutionised both folk and popular music in Ireland. As such, while he sticks to many of the conventions of folk singers, his is a far more individual stance.

The odyssey took its first major stint in the public eye with the near-legendary Sweeneys Men in the later 1960s.

“Sweeneys were a kind of scratch band before the name was stuck on them – we’d known each other for some years when Joe Dolan, who was living in Galway at the time, got this gig in what used to be called the Enda Hotel and later became the Coachman’s. (more…)


Archive: 1982 – Liam O’Flynn & Andy Irvine  in conversation with Paul Magnussen 

Note from Paul:

This interview took place in November 1982, in London. It was done for Guitar International; but by the time I had transcribed it, GI went through one of the lurches in editorial policy to which it was prone, and I was told that it would now only be interested in classical and flamenco guitar.
Around 1990 it lurched back, long enough for me to do the interview with Alec Finn (and transcription of De Dannan’s version of Carrickfergus) that appeared in the October 1991 issue. I had intended to contact Liam and/or Andy to see about revising the old interview and using it; but before I could do this, the editor had died and the magazine folded. Transcribing a three-cornered interview presents some problems; in what follows, Liam‘s comments are in green, Andy’s in blue, and mine in black italics.

LO’F: The Uilleann pipes are a distinctively Irish instrument. They began their development apparently about the year 1700, and they’re developed out of our equivalent of the Scottish bagpipes. Exact dates are unknown about when the first reed was produced which you could overblow; (that is, produce a second octave, as opposed to the Scottish pipes which just have—I think—an octave and a note). They developed throughout the 18th century, and reached their present point of development about the year 1800—that’s the bag, bellows, chanter, drones and regulators. (more…)

Planxty – No Disco documentary to air this Christmas on TG4!

Christmas on TG4

 02.01.17 – 00.00am          Planxty – No Disco                      

Dedicated to legendary Irish band Planxty. Presented by Leagues O’Toole, the programme features exclusive interviews with founding members Christy Moore, Liam Óg O’Flynn and Andy Irvine as well as Paul Brady who replaced Christy in 1974. The programme also looks at Planxty from the perspective of some of today’s artists. Guests include David Kitt, Richie Egan (The Redneck Manifesto), Jimi Goodwin (Doves) and Colm Mac An Iomaire (The Frames).

Archive: Planxty – 1980 Concert Programme

Planxty - Concert Programme

Olympia Theatre, Dublin, Aug. 1980

At the beginning of the sixties there was a tremendous worldwide revival and interest in folk music. The high point of that for many was the growth in popularity of the folk clubs and folk music festivals. Folk music and folk groups were appearing all over Ireland. Many of the groups had very short lives but real musicians were emerging.

These musicians were learning their trade, and they were exchanging songs and dredging them out of old books and from older singers who had carried them for generations. (more…)

DEC 2016 – FEB 2017 – AUSTRALIAN Tour w/ Luke Plumb



28th DEC. – 1st JAN. Woodford Folk Festival, QLD w/ Luke Plumb

4th JAN. Old Museum, Brisbane, Queensland w/ Four Winds
480 Gregory Terrace, Bowen Hills, QLD 4006
Doors 7pm. / Stage 7.30pm. Tickets: $25/$20
Booking info: +61 (0)7 3257 4089 Email

6th – 8th JAN. Cygnet Folk Festival, Hobart, TAS w/ Luke Plumb

10th JAN. Private House Concert, North West TAS Solo

12th JAN. Smith’s Alternative, Canberra Solo
76 Alinga Street, Nigel McRae, Canberra ACT 2601
Booking info: +61 (0)401 084 773 Email

13th – 15th JAN. Illawarra Folk Festival, NSW w/ Luke Plumb

19th JAN. Bathurst City Community Club, Bathurst, NSW w/ Luke Plumb
Lower William Street, Bathurst NSW 2795
7.30pm / Tickets: $25 Available at Bathurst City Community Club and Books Plus
Booking info: Roger +61 (0)2 6332 1175 or +61 (0)427 028 433

20th JAN. Fairlight Folk Acoustic Lounge, NSW w/ Luke Plumb
3 William Street, Fairlight, NSW 2094
(the old Church off Sydney Rd)
Doors 7pm / Stage 7.30pm
Tickets: $30/$20 Online Booking

21st JAN. Petersham Bowling Club, NSW w/ Luke Plumb
77 Brighton Street, Petersham, NSW 2049
8pm / Tickets: $30 Online Booking
Booking info: +61 (0)2 9569 4639 Email

22nd JAN. Music Hunter Presents
at Kindlehill Performance Space w/ Luke Plumb
8 Lake Street, Wentworth Falls, NSW 2782
Doors 3.30pm / Stage 4pm. Tickets: $30/$25
Booking info: +61 (0)425 270 632 Email

26th – 29th JAN. Newstead Live! Music Festival, VIC w/ Luke Plumb

2nd FEB. Spotted Mallard, Brunswick, VIC w/ Luke Plumb, Kate Burke & Ruth Hazleton!
314 Sydney Road, Brunswick, VIC 3056
Doors and Dinner 6pm / Stage 8pm
Tickets: $35/$30 Information and Online Booking
Booking info: +61 (0)3 9380 8818

3rd FEB. House Concert, Melbourne, VIC w/ Luke Plumb
7.30pm – 8pm Start Booking by Email

4th FEB. The Tablelands Community Centre, Ruffy, VIC w/ Luke Plumb
8pm / Tickets: $25
Booking info: +61 (0)428 380 114

5th FEB. Duckpond House Concert, Healesville, VIC w/ Luke Plumb
7.30pm / Tickets: $25

11th FEB. House Concert, Harcourt North, VIC w/ Luke Plumb
2pm / Tickets: $20 Booking by Email
Booking info: +61 (0)3 5439 6525

MARCH 2017

USHER’S ISLAND Gigs in Paris and Ireland
w/ Dónal Lunny, Paddy Glackin, Mike McGoldrick and John Doyle

MAY 2017

Andy Irvine & Paul Brady – 40th Anniversary Tour in IRELAND (featuring Dónal Lunny & Kevin Burke)