Derek Warfield is a historian, singer, songwriter, mandolin player and the leader of the legendary Wolfe Tones. Performing with the band for over 37 years, he beguiled and entertained audiences worldwide, he has been their voice with stirring introductions and amusing antidotes that have endeared him to countless thousands of fans. He has written and recorded over 60 songs and ballads. “The Foggy Dew” was the first of 16 albums recorded by the Wolfe Tones (1964) while the popular “Sing Out For Ireland”(1987) was their last album.
Derek has kept the Wolfe Tones tradition alive into the new century. His album, “Legacy” was released in 1995 and followed with “Liberte’ ‘98”, “Sons of Erin” and this year on the prestigious Kells Music label, both “Take Me Home To Mayo” and “Clear The Way”. Derek also has to his credit a video “Legacy” and two books, “The Songs and Ballads of 1798” and “The Irish Songster of the American Civil War”.
Derek’s latest passion is performing his music and songs at American Civil War events and commemorations at such sites as Gettysburg, Sharpsburg and Harrisburg with his band “The Sons of Erin”. His ability to weave together the history and the song has earned him much respect. Derek’s 2002 release, “Clear the Way” is the second in his Irish Songs in the Civil War series. “Clear The Way” is a reminder of the mass exodus of the Irish race to America after the great famine. With careful and painstaking research Derek has brought to life the story of millions who departed Ireland for the New World from 1845 to 1865, only to become part of the bloodiest battle of the century.
The touching ballad “Take Me Home To Mayo” was recorded as a duet with famed Irish American recording artist Andy Cooney and is the title track of another 2002 Warfield release. It is the perfect touch on this album that focuses on the musical and lyrical legacy of the colonial rule in Ireland. These songs and ballads express a great deal about the social, political and literary force, past and present.
Through his songs, music and lectures, Derek Warfield, has been forceful in reminding the Irish at home and abroad of their debt to patriots of past generations. His recordings are a must for any serious student of Irish or Irish American history. It is this respect of the past with an eye to the future, which in between concert performances, has made him a sought after principal speaker at many commemorations and monument unveilings around the world to those very same patriots.
Born the eldest of four in Inchicore, Dublin in 1943, he was educated at Synge Street C.B.S. and then apprenticed as a tailor. Life as a tailor was not to be, as the folk music revolution of the early sixties soon found Derek as one it’s most popular entertainers. The rest is history. When not on tour he calls Kilcock Co. Kildare home. With his wife Nuala he passes his musical legacy on to their three children, six grandchildren and all of us.
You can listen to short samples from some of the tracks from this artist using the player below.
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