In the three years the Bothy Band were together, they emerged as one of the exciting bands in Celtic history. Although much of their repertoire was rooted in the traditional music of Ireland, their enthusiasm and musical virtuosity set off ripples that continue to be felt.
The genesis of the Bothy Band was sparked, in 1975, when bouzouki player Donal Lunny left Planxty to form his own record company, Mulligan. One of his first projects brought him together with uillean piper Paddy Keenan, flute and whistle player Matt Molloy, fiddler Paddy Glackin and accordion player Tony MacMahon. The group was soon joined by siblings Michael O'Domhnaill on acoustic guitar and Triona Ni Domhnaill, on clavinet and vocals. Hailing from a musical family, with their aunt having contributed 286 songs to the Dublin University folklore collection, the two had previously performed, along with their sister Mairead, in the traditional Irish group Skara Brae. Initially calling themselves Seachtar, which translates as "seven," the group reformed as the Bothy Band after MacMahon left to become a BBC producer. The Bothy Band featured a variety of fiddlers during their three-year tenure. Original fiddler Glackin was replaced by Donegal-style fiddler Tommy Peoples on the band's debut album and by heavily ornamented fiddler Kevin Burke on the second release.
With the breakup of the Bothy Band in 1979, the band's musicians continued to play influential musical roles. Donal Lunny returned for a while to Planxty and then helped to form the Celtic rock band Moving Hearts. He's continued to work as a record producer and has occasionally collaborated with former Silly Wizard's vocalist Andy Stewart.
Moving to the United States, Triona Ni Domhnaill formed the short-lived band Touchstone and, later, joined with her brother to form both Relativity and Nightnoise. Matt Molloy and Kevin Burke continue to work together in Patrick Street.
Though they disbanded in 1979 (after four albums) The Bothy Band are still one of the most popular recorded groups in Irish traditional music. The weaving of contrapuntal lines through already elaborate harmonic accompaniment was their hallmark. This created a lush canvas over which the pipes, fiddle and flute could exchange equally elaborate melodic ideas. Songs-taken from the Irish (particularly Donegal) and Scottish traditions- were treated similarly.
They formed in 1974 (as 'Seachtair') with a line-up that included Tony McMahon, Paddy Keenan, Matt Molloy, Paddy Glackin, Donal Lunny, Mícheál Ó Domhnaill and Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill. When McMahon and Glackin left, Tommy Peoples joined and The Bothy Band proper came to be. The name comes from a term for a Scottish migrant workers' hut.
The first album was 'The Bothy Band' though this has subsequently become known as '1975'. Kevin Burke replaced Tommy Peoples before the second album 'Old Hag You Have Killed Me'. They went on to record two more (live) albums 'Out of the Wind, Into the Sun' and 'After Hours' in Paris.
Each of the members has stayed at the forefront of traditional music since. Kevin Burke has recorded many solo albums and is currently a member of Patrick Street and The Celtic Fiddle Festival. Matt Molloy also recorded four popular solo albums and is currently a member of the Chieftains. Donal Lunny rejoined Planxty after the Bothies disbanded. He and Christy Moore then started Moving Hearts in the 1980's. His current band is Coolfin.
Michael O'Domhnaill recorded two albums with Kevin Burke before starting Nightnoise which Triona later joined. Micheal recently recorded 'Reprise' with Paddy Glackin. Keenan and Glackin recorded the seminal pipes/fiddle album 'Dooblin' in the late 70's.
Dubbed "the most important Celtic band in the rock era," The Bothy Band is probably the greatest of the new Irish groups that rose in the seventies, The Bothy Band was composed of Triona Ni Dhomhnaill, Micheal O Dhomhnaill, Paddy Keenan, Donal Lunny, Matt Molloy, Paddy Glackin, Tommy Peoples, and Kevin Burke.
The initial lineup of The Bothy Band had Paddy Glackin on fiddle as well as Tony MacMahon on accordion. The band turned professional in November of 1975, with Peoples replacing Glackin on fiddle, to be replaced in turn by Kevin Burke in May of 1976.
As members disbanded and went on to form their own bands, the music of The Bothy Band has lived on and will continue to do so as the wave of Irish traditional music sweeps all over the world today. /www.celticcafe.com/www.celticcafe.com
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