Andy Irvine is a musician who needs no introduction to those who have followed Irish music for the past 50 years. Since starting on his musical journey back in 1965, Andy has been associated with most of the big names in the industry. However, he’s not a man who believes in the ‘music business’, preferring to go his own way.
I caught up with Andy earlier in the week and he told me about starting off in music.
“I always reckon my beginning year was 1965, that’s 51 years ago. It was full of wonderful characters but there wasn’t a lot of work. I used to play down in a pub on Capel Street called Slattery’s and I might play there once every two weeks or I might play three nights a week! One magical week I played all of them! (Laughs). I played two gigs per night for five nights that week.”
Lack of work in Ireland meant that Andy had to broaden his horizons and that meant travelling to mainland Europe.
“There wasn’t a lot of work, you know. It was much the same as today; you had to go away to make a bit of money. I started travelling in 1965, I went off on the road with my old friend Joe Dolan from Galway, not to be mixed up with the other fella! We went down to Rome and then came back up and went to Denmark and that gave me the bug for travel and I’ve been at it ever since.”
Andy has picked up quite a few different sounds on his travels and trips to the Eastern Bloc led to a love for Bulgarian music. It’s this large pallet of sound, which makes his concerts so appealing. So with travel and broad horizons in mind, what does the man born in London to a father from Glasgow and a mother from Antrim think of ‘Brexit’?
Andy was sure about one thing: “The mad thing about Brexit is that we don’t know what’s going to happen with Ireland and with the border. I’m living in Co. Fermanagh at the moment and if you had to go through a border post every time you go south I’m out of here!”
What does a musician who grafted hard in Slattery’s on Capel Street think of the modern music industry?
“To be quite frank I don’t watch things like that, I think the ‘music business’ is sh*te and it always has been. I try and stay away from the music business. I’m a troubadour, I do my own thing and I’m not looking for any help from anyone.”
Andy Irvine will appear at the Roscommon Arts Centre this Saturday night (July 9th), bringing with him an eclectic mix of music for what will be a great night of entertainment. Booking now at Roscommon Arts Centre on