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Andy Irvine is a popular folk singer and founding member of the band Planxty. He is an accomplished musician and his talents stretch to mandolin, bouzouki, banjo and harmonica amongst many others. With his impressive repertoire of Irish traditional songs and dexterous Balkan dance tunes, he creates an exciting new fusion of Irish and World Music.
Andy Irvine 70th Birthday Concert featuring: Sweeney's Men, Paul Brady, Dónal Lunny, Liam O'Flynn, Paddy Glackin & Mozaik
"Often copied, never equalled" - The Irish Times
It's funny, whenever I mention Andy Irvine's impending birthday I'm greeted with a raised eyebrow. He couldn't be 70! He doesn't look it! Maybe it's the timeless presence of his music since he set foot on Irish soil in the early 1960s. Or maybe it's the fact that he continues to maintain a seemingly impossible global touring schedule. If you're interested in Irish music, and its possibilities to extend and alloy with other cultures, then Andy Irvine is no doubt a musician you're familiar with.
He graduated through the vibrant scene centred around O'Donoghue's pub of Merrion Row, whose stalwarts included young folk singers such as Ronnie Drew and Luke Kelly as well as elder traditionalists such as Joe Heany and Seamus Ennis, and from which emerged the group Sweeney's Men.
Sweeney's Men are perhaps one of the great lost bands of the 1960s Irish folk world but they are as ground-breaking and important as any of the more talked-about ensembles of the time and very much laid the foundation for what was to follow. The trio consisted of Andy, Johnny Moynihan and (Galway) Joe Dolan - later replaced by Terry Woods - and their alchemic mix was made up of all sorts influences: Andy's obsession with Woody Guthrie, the exotic twang of Moynihan's Greek bouzouki, and a deep well of Irish, Scottish, American folk songs to tamper with.
Throughout the 1970s there continued to exist a dichotomy in Irish music; the ballad bands and traditionalists who kept straight to the script and those who were compelled to experiment and interpret and embrace the melting pot approach to music. Andy Irvine, Dónal Lunny and Johnny Moynihan were three idealists very much coursing through the veins of the latter concept.
Andy went on to enjoy great acclaim and success with Planxty, a band with Lunny, Christy Moore, and piper Liam O'Flynn who changed the landscape once again in the early 1970s. From there he made a timeless, peerless record with Paul Brady in 1976, established a cult-like solo career, formed Patrick Street with the cream of Irish musicians in the mid-1980s, and continued to collaborate with musicians from every corner of the world, notably his mid-00s Mozaik project with Lunny, Dutch fiddler Rens van Der Zalm, American old-timey fiddler Bruce Molsky, and Hungarian multi-instrumentalist Nikola Parov.
Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of Andy's long and complex career is his steadfast passion to tour. A born adventurer, of the musical variety, he never lost hold of his mantra, inspired by his hero Woody Guthrie: Never Tire of the Road.
This concert celebrates 70 years of Andy Irvine, decades of incredible Irish music, how it's evolved and changed and engaged with cultures around the world.