10th Jan 2002 – Italian Keltika Magazine
Sweeney’s Men, Planxty, Patrick Street: three of the most important groups in the history of Irish music of there last decades, and you have been part of all three groups: what did they give to you, what do you think you gave them, and more, what does remain, today, in your music, of those experiences?
Sweeney’s Men was my first band. It was almost of first time that I had played with other musicians, having been a fairly solitary individual up to then. It was a great thrill to play with Johnny Moynihan and Joe Dolan and later Terry Woods. We shared our ideas and ideals. Planxty took this on further and my favourite music is the music we played on our last three albums. As musicians we had evolved together and had opened up the parameters a bit. I am still playing with Patrick Street and still enjoying ti thoroughly. Much as I enjoy playing solo, I get a great buzz out of Patrick Street these days. We have a new CD almost ready.
I have always looked at you as a great “cantastorie” (the Italian term for “storyteller”), someway as a 20th (and now 21st..) century bard. Do you recognise yourself in such a description? Any your opinion about it….
I see myself as a troubadour, yes. In my song writing I try to write songs about brave people who have become footnotes in History but should be better remembered. My greatest success is when someone comes up to me after a concert and says “I’m so glad you sang that song about……(could be Raoul Wallenberg, Michael Davitt, Tom Barker) I had never heard of that story and it made me very interested”. (more…)