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 Irvine first made his mark with the seminal band – “Sweeney’s Men” in 1966 but after two years he left and travelled ‘way out yonder’ by ‘the sunburnt thumb’ to Bulgaria, Romania and Yugoslavia, earning his living as a street musician and absorbing the musical traditions of the Balkans.
Returning to Ireland in 1970, Andy united with Christy Moore, Dónal Lunny and Liam O’Flynn to form Planxty, fanning the flames of Irish traditional music well into the next and future generations. Planxty broke up – for the first time – in late 1975 and Andy performed and recorded with Paul Brady, making the classic album “Andy Irvine & Paul Brady” in 1976. He also worked and recorded brieefly with De Dannan before re-uniting with Planxty in 1979 until it’s second break up in 1983.