A Lifetime Achievement Award last year at the RTÉ Radio 1 Folk Awards gives a hint about how the Irish see the extraordinary 50-year career Andy Irvine.
Hailed as a tradition in himself with a voice that reaches into the very soul of Ireland, Irvine will bring his talent to the Auckland Folk Festival to be held at Kumeu showgrounds from Friday 24 – to Monday 27 January 2020.
Irvine has maintained his highly individual performing skills as a solo act and as part of bands like 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. Later 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. After a spell with Sweeny’s Men, Back in 1968 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. His first solo album Rainy Sundays…Windy Dreams followed a stint with Planxty.
Irvine recorded his second solo album Rude Awakening in 1991 and then created the hugely influential East Wind which featured Davy Spillane on uillean pipes and was produced by Bill Whelan who went on to write Riverdance. Irvine recorded his third solo album Rain on the Roof in 1995 – this one really is (nearly) solo. It includes his anthemic song Never Tire of the Road and then his fourth, Way Out Yonder in 2000 which closes with the haunting song The Highwayman.
The year 2017 marked 40th anniversary of Andy Irvine & Paul Brady and the pair joined Dónal Lunny, and Kevin Burke for a series of sold-out concerts across Ireland. Just the welcoming applause as they took the stage lasted five minutes on each occasion. This concert series was carried further afield in 2018 and was again very well received.
Ever the man for new pastures, Andy has played concerts all over Europe and has toured many times in Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Canada. He was also undertaken extensive tours of Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua, 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.