Andy Irvine is a truly legendary figure in Irish folk music. Born in London in 1942, he recently celebrated his 70th birthday. Andy has been ‘on the road” for almost 50 years. He was one of the original folkies associated with O’Donoghue’s Pub in Dublin and an early devotee of the music and songs of Woody Guthrie, the centenary of whose birth falls on the 14th July.
In 1966, he and his friends Joe Dolan and Johnny Moynihan came together to form Sweeney’s Men and a unique sound involving the interplay of bouzouki and mandolin worked itself into Irish folk music consciousness. “Waxie’s Dargle, Old Man in the Garret and Sullivan John” came from that wild period.
Always traveling, always meeting other musicians, always learning, Andy explored the folk traditions of Eastern Europe, Romania, Yugoslavia and Bulgaria, all behind the iron curtain through the 60s and 70s. His trips to County Clare inspired him further! He has traveled extensively in the USA and Australia picking up songs and tunes as he goes.
The recording of the Christy Moore album Prosperous in 1971 brought together Christy Moore, Andy, Donal Lunny and Liam O’Flynn, who afterwards formed Planxty in 1972. Their first album, known as the Black Album remains another milestone recording in Irish Folk music. Classics such as “Sweet Thames flow softly”, “The West Coast of Clare” by Andy himself and “Only our Rivers run Free” remain as landmarks in Irish folk tradition.
Albums such as “The Well Below the Valley” and “Cold Blow and Rainy Night” soon followed in a later period by “After the Break” and “The Woman I loved so Well” are remembered with affection by Irish folk music lovers.
Andy has toured extensively with many Irish folk musicians over the years such as Paul Brady, Mick Hanly, Donal and Kevin Burke, Arty McGlynn, Jackie Daly. Later still in the 80s Andy played with a group Mosaic along with Hans Theesink and others. Later still he was a member of Patrick Street. This was followed by Mozack with Donal Lunny and with Bruce Molsky adding Appalachian tunes.
Performance at the Mother Jones Festival & Ticket Information
His solo 2010 album Abocurragh, produced by Donal Lunny, contains the track “The Spirit of Mother Jones” inspired by his visit to the grave of Mother Jones in the union Miners Cemetery near Mount Olive in Illinois. His visit to Cork to play a fundraising concert during the Mother Jones Festival in the famous Shandon Bells Church (St. Anne’s Shandon) on the evening of Wednesday August 1st after the unveiling of the Mother Jones plaque around the corner on John Redmond Street, will be an eagerly highlight of this event. Tickets are 10 euro from the Maldron Hotel, St.Anne’s Shandon or phone 086 3196063 or from www.tickets.ie from week beginning 9th July.