Andy Irvine has been hailed as "a tradition in himself." Musician, singer and
songwriter, Andy has maintained both personal integrity and highly individual
performing skills throughout his 40-year career. From Sweeney's Men in the mid
sixties to the enormous success of Planxty in the 70s, to THE Irish super group,
Patrick Street, in the 80s, Andy has been a world music pioneer and icon for
traditional music and musicians.
Irvine occupies a unique place in the musical world, plying his trade as
archetypal troubadour, with a solo show and traveling lifestyle that reflects
his lifelong influence, Woody Guthrie. Few others can equal his repertoire,
Irish traditional songs, dexterous Balkan dance tunes, and a compelling canon of
his own material that defies description.
In his two years with Sweeney's Men, the group ignited an interest in
traditional Irish music that survives to this day. Their successful singles,
"Old Maid in the Garret" and "The Waxie's Dargle" landed at the very top of the
Irish Hit Parade.
Andy left the band in 1968, and made his first trip 'way out yonder', traveling
by 'the sunburnt thumb' in Bulgaria, Romania and Yugoslavia, earning his living
as a street musician and absorbing the musical traditions of the Balkans.
Returning to Ireland, Irvine united with Christy Moore, Donal Lunny and Liam
O'Flynn to form Planxty, fanning the flames of Irish Traditional Music well into
the next generation.
Planxty took a break in 1976 and Irvine worked and recorded with Paul Brady,
making the classic album “Andy Irvine & Paul Brady”. After a brief time with De
Dannan, he rejoined the reunited Planxty from 1979 until its breakup in 1983. .
Andy’s his first solo album, “Rainy Sundays ... Windy Dreams”, followed, as well
as “Parallel Lines” a duo album with the great Scots troubadour, Dick Gaughan.
Never one to rest on his laurels, Andy formed Mosaic, a pan-European band that
included Donal Lunny and Hungarian singer Marta Sebestyen. After one blissful
summer traveling through Europe with this band, Andy returned to solo and duo
work. This work soon grew into Patrick Street, featuring Kevin Burke (Bothy
Band), Jackie Daly (De Danaan) and guitar maestro Arty McGlynn.
Patrick Street, originally billed as Legends of Irish Music – one of the few
times such hoopla was accurate, recorded three albums from 1987 to 1990. Andy
then recorded his second solo album, “Rude Awakening”, and created the hugely
influential ”East Wind”, an album of Balkan music, produced by Bill Whelan and
featuring Davy Spillane on Uilleann Pipes. Patrick Street regrouped in 1993 with
Kevin, Jackie, Andy, and Ged Foley. To date Patrick Street has released eight
recordings, all on the Green Linnet label.
Early in 2002, Andy drafted some long-time musical friends and formed his “dream
band” for a one-off tour of Australia. Calling themselves Mozaik, reminiscent of
the earlier cross-genre group, Andy was joined by Donal Lunny, Dutch guitarist
Rens van der Zalm, Hungarian bagpiper Nikola Parov and American fiddler Bruce
Molsky. The response was so positive that they might well have another go at it.
October 2002 saw the release of Patrick Street’s Street Life, arguably their
best ever. It showcases an ecumenical approach, while never letting go of the
tradition that binds these amazing musicians, all at the very top of their game.
Although an integral part of the finest Irish bands of our time, Andy Irvine
continues along the road he set for himself so long ago - a vibrant career as a
solo artist in the old style, a teller of stories and maker of music.