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 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”.
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.
Photo credit: Brian Hartigan