Andy Irvine is one of the great Irish singers, his voice one of a handful of truly great ones that gets to the very soul of Ireland. He has been hailed as “a tradition in himself.” Musician, singer and songwriter, Andy has maintained his highly individual performing skills throughout his over 50-year career. From Sweeney’s Men in the mid 60s, to the enormous success of Planxty in the 70s, his duo with Paul Brady in the later 70s and then from Patrick Street to Mozaik, LAPD and Usher’s Island, Andy has been a world music pioneer and an icon for traditional music and musicians.
As a soloist, Andy fills the role of the archetypal troubadour with a show and a travelling lifestyle that reflect his lifelong influence, Woody Guthrie. To quote The Irish Times, “Often copied, never equalled”, his repertoire consists of Irish traditional songs, dexterous Balkan dances and a compelling canon of his own self-penned songs.
Andy Irvine first made his mark with the seminal band – “Sweeney’s Men” in 1966 but after two years he left and travelled ‘way out yonder’ by ‘the sunburnt thumb’ to Bulgaria, Romania and Yugoslavia, earning his living as a street musician and absorbing the musical traditions of the Balkans.
Returning to Ireland in 1970, Andy united with Christy Moore, Dónal Lunny and Liam O’Flynn to form Planxty, fanning the flames of Irish traditional music well into the next and future generations. Planxty broke up – for the first time – in late 1975 and Andy performed and recorded with Paul Brady, making the classic album “Andy Irvine & Paul Brady” in 1976. He also worked and recorded brieefly with De Dannan before re-uniting with Planxty in 1979 until it’s second break up in 1983.
Andy’s first solo album “Rainy Sundays…Windy Dreams” followed, as well as “Parallel Lines” a duo album with the great Scottish troubadour – Dick Gaughan.
In 1985 Andy formed “Mosaic”, a pan-European band that included Dónal Lunny and Hungarian singer Marta Sebestyen. The band lasted for one blissful summer and Andy returned to solo work.
Andy was touring the US regularly with guitar player Gerry O’Beirne at this time and in 1986, at the instigation of fiddler Kevin Burke (Bothy Band), Patrick Street was born with the addition of Jackie Daly (De Dannan) and guitar maestro, Arty McGlynn.
Patrick Street has since recorded eight studio albums and one live with differing personnel. They released their last album in November 2007, “On the Fly”, being the first with fiddle, banjo player, John Carty and the last with retiring member, Jackie Daly.
Andy recorded his second solo album “Rude Awakening” in 1991 and then created the hugely influential “East Wind” which featured Davy Spillane on uillean pipes and was produced by Bill Whelan who went on to write “Riverdance”.
Andy recorded his third solo album “Rain on the Roof” in 1995 – this one really is (nearly) solo. It includes his anthemic song “Never Tire of the Road” and then his fourth, “Way Out Yonder” in 2000 which closes with the haunting song “The Highwayman”.
In 2002, Andy drafted some long-time musical friends and formed his “dream band” – initially for a one off tour of Australia. Calling themselves Mozaik, reminiscent of the earlier cross-genre group, Andy was joined by Dónal Lunny, Dutch multi-instrumentalist Rens van der Zalm, American Old Time fiddler and 5 string banjo player, Bruce Molsky and Hungarian multi-instrumentalist Nikola Parov.
They have since released two albums, “Live from the Powerhouse”(2003) and “Changing Trains”(2007) and have toured Australia, Europe, USA and Japan with great musical success. This band, like Patrick Street is currently in mothballs but look out for it’s new album recorded in Budapest in 2014 and about to see the light of day as “The Long and the Short of it”
2004 saw, after a break of 21 years, the return of the great group Planxty, The band played a small gig in Lisdoonvarna, largely to family and close friends – it was not advertised as Planxty – and then opened at Glór in Ennis to a fantastic reception. Planxty went on to play 10 sold out nights in Vicar Street in Dublin and record a live CD and DVD.
The following year 2005, they played 6 sold out gigs at The Point Depot in Dublin, as well as shows in Galway, Belfast and The Barbican in London. It was generally reckoned that the band was better than ever and those who experienced it will never forget it.
In January 2008, Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow featured a special reunion of Andy Irvine & Paul Brady at the Royal Concert Hall for their “Classic Album Showcase” concert, honouring the duo’s album first released in 1976.
September 2009 saw Andy collaborating with the fine guitarist and singer, John Doyle for three highly successful concerts at the Irish Arts Center in New York City.
Though Planxty was no more, it’s memory lived on with the band LAPD which featured Andy, Donal and Liam plus Paddy Glackin, the great Dublin fiddle player. LAPD had to throw in their hand when Liam decided to call it a day in 2012 but Donal, Andy and Paddy added John Doyle and his driving guitar and Mike McGoldrick’s brilliant flute, whistle and uilleann pipes to form a new band, “Usher’s Island”. Debut album – “Usher’s Island” – out in June 2017.
Andy reached the age of 70 in 2012 and two great concerts were held in Vicar Street, Dublin to mark the occasion. Sweeney’s Men were reformed(with Johnny Moynihan and Terry Woods, Mozaik got together, LAPD was there and Andy & Paul did a set. Andy’s great friends from Athens, the Galiatsos Brothers came over and the shows were recorded and later came out on DVD and CD as “Andy Irvine 70th Birthday Concert at Vicar St 2012”, music produced by Dónal Lunny and filmed by Philip King.
In August 2016 Andy went to Melbourne to record a new album with Luke Plumb – a brilliant mandolin player and record producer – they later toured Australia together in 2016/2017 with the album which is called “Precious Heroes”. It awaits its release here in the rest of the world and should be out after the Summer of 2017.
The year 2017 also coincided with the 40th Anniversary of “Andy Irvine & Paul Brady”. (It was recorded in August 1976 but not released till January 1977.) Andy & Paul, together with Dónal Lunny, who produced the album and played guitar and bouzouki on it and Kevin Burke who had played fiddle on the album, performed eight sold out concerts. Cork, three in Vicar Street, Dublin, Derry, Galway, Limerick and Belfast to rapturous audiences. The welcoming applause as they took the stage lasted for about five minutes on each occasion!
Ever the man for new pastures, in the last decade, Andy has played concerts in Moscow, Mexico City, Newfoundland, Costa Rica, Panama and Nicaragua as well as undertaking extensive tours of Japan, Iceland, Faroe Islands, Argentina and Chile.
Although an integral part of the finest Irish bands of our time, Andy Irvine continues along the path he set for himself so long ago – a vibrant career as a solo artist in the old style, a teller of tales and maker of music.
Originally hailing from the high desert of Northern New Mexico, Cahalen Morrison has made a name for himself. Over the past decade touring solo, as a duo with Eli West, or with his roadhouse country band Western Centuries, Cahalen has played shows and festivals all over the world and performed on stage with the likes of Tim O’Brien, Kelly Joe Phelps, Hot Rize, Crooked Still and Kris Drever.
Equally at home on guitar, banjo, mandolin, singing three part harmony or unaccompanied, he has carved out a place for himself as a unique voice in American music. An insightful and poetic wordsmith and songwriter, a subtle and accomplished roots multi-instrumentalist and a captivating singer.
In April 2019, Cahalen went down to a remote village on the border of New Mexico and Colorado and holed up in an old adobe chapel along with Erick Jaskowiak, who had brought out a mobile recording rig. In just a day and a half, they tracked his next solo album Wealth of Sorrow, ten intimate songs of just Cahalen and his guitar and banjo.
“It’s a sparse record no doubt, but that was my goal. I just really wanted to capture the moment as live and personally as possible. You can hear some wind noise, the woodstove, the occasional rustle of my mom or dad who were sitting in the same room while I recorded, and some other creaks and groans from the chapel. “
Look out for imminent news on the Wealth of Sorrow release date.
Cahalen has played all over the United States, Canada, UK, Ireland and much of Western Europe, and at festivals such as MerleFest, Red Wing Roots, Rockygrass, Wintergrass, Celebrate Brooklyn!, Strawberry Music Festival, Sisters Folk Festival, Meadowgrass, Timber!, Shetland Folk Festival, Larmer Tree, Kilkenny Roots Festival, TradFest Edinburgh, Celtic Connections, Bluegrass Jamboree…
“Cahalen is making music the world needs.”— TIM O’BRIEN
“A BRIGHT NEW YEAR” with MELROSE QUARTET
A Christmas Concert like no other
Nominated for Best Group, 2014 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards
Melrose Quartet invite you to join them for an evening of festive songs and good cheer. With their trademark exquisite close harmony and high energy accompaniments on fiddles, melodeon, guitar and bouzouki, Nancy Kerr, James Fagan and Jess & Richard Arrowsmith bring you a wide range of joyous seasonal music from traditional carols to contemporary wassails. You’ll be treated to a selection of the finest rousing village carols from their local Sheffield area alongside new seasonal songs from some of their region’s best writers.
The band will be in the mood to party so there will be dressing up, games with prizes and lots of choruses to join in with, plus an award for the most memorable Christmas jumper. This is a concert with something for everyone and would even draw a smile out of Scrooge! The show will be available after the performance on the band’s latest CD “The Rudolph Variations.”
“…all in all an inspired ensemble so obviously playing for joy” Martin Simpson
Chris Wood is an uncompromising writer whose music reveals his love for the un-official history of the English speaking people. With gentle intelligence he weaves the tradition with his own contemporary parables.
A self-taught musician, composer and song writer, Chris is a lifelong autodidact whose independent streak shines through everything he does. Always direct and unafraid to speak his mind, his song writing has been praised for its surgical clarity. He cites his major influence as “Anon”.
His most recent album ‘So Much to Defend’ has received wide critical acclaim and includes reflections on minor league football, empty nest syndrome, learning to swim, Cook-in Sauce and, not least, the Gecko as a metaphor for contemporary society.
Hollow Point; his chilling ballad of the shooting of Jean Charles Menezez, won a BBC Folk Award (he’s won six.) and emphatically secured Wood’s place as a serious speech-master for the unofficial history of England.
Collaborators include Martin Carthy, Dizraeli, Billy Bragg, Andy Cutting, Andy Irvine, Karine Polwart, Jean Francois Vrod, The Imagined Village, Hugh Lupton, Martin Butler and many others.
On stage Chris has the air of a craftsman who no longer needs to be precious about his art. Without any apparent effort he reaches deep into an enviable repertoire of songs before revealing another gem.
“… at art school they said I had a remarkable eye for trivia, like it was a bad thing.”
“Chris Wood might be the Ken Loach of songwriting. Very political, but at the same time full of compassion, and he grows sharper and more acute with each passing album. He’s good, quite probably the very best we have today, and we
need him more than ever.”
“Steeped in tradition, yet always striving for a new day, this is a glorious album proving that Chris Wood is a bit of a national treasure.
The Herald ***** 5 Stars
“As close as it gets to a perfect union of voice and guitar, lyrics and melody, compassion, irony, realism, wit, and humanity.”
MOJO **** 4 Stars
“a rarefied talent, both as writer and interpreter.”
British folk and roots duo, Honey and the Bear, combine delicately interweaving vocal harmonies with emotive and evocative songwriting.
With a diverse range of sounds and textures and rhythms that flow from the fast and furious to gentle ballads, their live performance are spirited and dynamic. Conjuring stories in song, they tell tales of Suffolk folklore, courage , passion and heartbreak.
The multi instrumentalist pair, comprised of songwriters Jon Hart ( guitar, bass, bazouki) and Lucy Hart ( guitar, ukulele, bass, banjo, mandolin & percussion) have been writing and performing together since early 2014, having met at a songwriting event two years previously. Since then they have played at many revered venues and festivals, toured extensively across the UK as support for Sam Kelly and the Lost Boys.
Accomplished, easy-on-the-ear acoustic folk-pop for grown-ups” Froots Magasine
“Lucy and Jon have quickly established themselves as a must-see acoustic duo” Stephen Foster, BBC Radio Suffolk
Emily Portman & Rob Harbron are two of the finest and most distinctive performers on the British folk scene. With multiple accolades for their years of work in different collaborations, now they have formed an inspired new collaboration. Together they create a boldly stripped-back and intricately woven sound, exploring traditional song alongside new writing.
Emily (voice, banjo) is best known both as an original song-writer and for her work in traditional song band The Furrow Collective. Rob (English concertina, guitar, voice, fiddle) is known for his work with Leveret, Fay Hield & the Hurricane Party, Jon Boden and many more, being in great demand as a uniquely skilled concertina player as well as one of the finest multi-instrumentalists in the country.
Together they explore the traditional music in which they are both steeped, mining the archives for hidden gems and offering their own original contributions. Emily’s unaffected voice combines with Rob’s sympathetic musicality to startling effect, creating an unforgettable live experience brimming with subtlety, depth and a shared love of the music.