Andy Irvine – Biography (Courtesy Artist’s site, 2005)
PLUS: From The Knotted Chord Archive.
Forty Years on the Road
Andy Irvine has been hailed as "a tradition in himself." Musician, singer and songwriter, Andy has maintained both personal integrity and highly individual performing skills throughout his 40-year career. From Sweeney's Men in the mid sixties to the enormous success of Planxty in the 70s, to THE Irish super group, Patrick Street, in the 80s, Andy has been a world music pioneer and icon for traditional music and musicians.
Irvine occupies a unique place in the musical world, plying his trade as archetypal troubadour, with a solo show and traveling lifestyle that reflects his lifelong influence, Woody Guthrie. Few others can equal his repertoire, Irish traditional songs, dexterous Balkan dance tunes, and a compelling canon of his own material that defies description.
In his two years with Sweeney's Men, the group ignited an interest in traditional Irish-music that survives to this day. Their successful singles, "Old Maid in the Garret" and "The Waxie's Dargle" landed at the very top of the Irish Hit Parade.
Andy left the band in 1968, and made his first trip 'way out yonder', traveling by 'the sunburnt thumb' in Bulgaria, Romania and Yugoslavia, earning his living as a street musician and absorbing the musical traditions of the Balkans. Returning to Ireland, Irvine united with Christy Moore, Donal Lunny and Liam O'Flynn to form Planxty, fanning the flames of Irish Traditional Music well into the next generation.
Planxty took a break in 1976 and Irvine worked and recorded with Paul Brady, making the classic album “Andy Irvine & Paul Brady”. After a brief time with De Dannan, he rejoined the reunited Planxty from 1979 until its breakup in 1983. . Andy’s his first solo album, “Rainy Sundays ... Windy Dreams”, followed, as well as “Parallel Lines” a duo album with the great Scots troubadour, Dick Gaughan.
Never one to rest on his laurels, Andy formed Mosaic, a pan-European band that included Donal Lunny and Hungarian singer Marta Sebestyen. After one blissful summer traveling through Europe with this band, Andy returned to solo and duo work. This work soon grew into Patrick Street, featuring Kevin Burke (Bothy Band), Jackie Daly (De Danaan) and guitar maestro Arty McGlynn.
Patrick Street, originally billed as Legends of Irish Music – one of the few times such hoopla was accurate, recorded three albums from 1987 to 1990. Andy then recorded his second solo album, “Rude Awakening”, and created the hugely influential ”East Wind”, an album of Balkan music, produced by Bill Whelan and featuring Davy Spillane on Uilleann Pipes. Patrick Street regrouped in 1993 with Kevin, Jackie, Andy, and Ged Foley. To date Patrick Street has released eight recordings, all on the Green Linnet label.
Early in 2002, Andy drafted some long-time musical friends and formed his “dream band” for a one-off tour of Australia. Calling themselves Mozaik, reminiscent of the earlier cross-genre group, Andy was joined by Donal Lunny, Dutch guitarist Rens van der Zalm, Hungarian bagpiper Nikola Parov and American fiddler Bruce Molsky. The response was so positive that they might well have another go at it.
October 2002 saw the release of Patrick Street’s Street Life, arguably their best ever. It showcases an ecumenical approach, while never letting go of the tradition that binds these amazing musicians, all at the very top of their game. Although an integral part of the finest Irish bands of our time, Andy Irvine continues along the road he set for himself so long ago - a vibrant career as a solo artist in the old style, a teller of stories and maker of music.
Also - From The Knotted Chord Archive.
Musicians of London:
Andy Irvine (1942- ) Singer, songwriter, bouzouki, mandolin, guitar.
Born in London to a Scottish father, an occasional saxophone player, and mother, a musical comedy actress from County Antrim, who gave him an interest in Jazz. He learnt Classical guitar and also acted in film, tv, radio and stage work. Andy was playing skiffle at 15 and eventually went into Folk with the influence of Woody Guthrie, who Andy has described as an inspiration and mentor. Andy spent a further two years with the BBC Repertory Company in London. He arrived in Ireland in 1962 where he played with Luke Kelly and Ronnie Drew. In 1966 he toured with Johnny Moynihan and Joe Dolan from Galway, and all three went on to form Sweeney’s Men who were to heavily influence The Bothy Band, Planxty and De Dannan.
In 1968 he went touring the Balkans, Bulgaria, Romania and Yugoslavia who’s music he took on board. In 1970 he played solo and also toured with Donal Lunny. They along with Christy Moore and Liam O’Flynn recorded the album "Prosperous" in 1971 which was the forerunner to Planxty. Andy was a founder member of Planxty in 1972, recorded 3 (of a scheduled 6) albums over their ‘first’ 3 years, spent a very short spell with De Dannan, and then went on to tour with Paul Brady from 1976-78 and released a classic album Irvine & Brady. The original Planxty reformed in 1978, with the addition of Matt Molloy, and recorded 3 more albums. Later after more touring and playing with Mick Hanly Andy released his first solo "Rainy Sundays" at the end of 1979 and "Parallel Lines" with Dick Gaughan. Further touring followed with Gerry O’Beirne and then a new band called Mosaic with Donal Lunny, Declan Masterson and others which toured with Kevin Burke and Jackie Daly.
Burke, Daly, Andy and Arty McGlynn went on to form Patrick Street, recording their first album in 1986, who still play and tour.
His Balkan and East European influences come through on the album made with Davy Spillane "East Wind". 1991 saw the release of the solo "Rude awakening".
In 1997 Andy released a solo recording "Rain on the Roof" and his last solo album is called "Rude Awakening" which he released independently last year. Patrick Street have also recently released "Compendium: Best of Patrick Street" taken from their 7 albums to date. Andy has also published a song book called "Aiming for the heart".
You can listen to short samples from some of the tracks from this artist using the player below.
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