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Planxty: The "Inner Keltia" Interview - Part One

I had the chance to get an approach to this magnificent magazine through Wendy Newton from Green Linnet Records who kindly send me some volumes as a present by the 80's. Thus I got acquainted of the outstanding work of J.A.Johnston (also known by his druidic name Kaledon Naddair ) who was it's editor and reviewer. Besides several articles each volume contained amazing interviews like this one published on Inner Keltia 4 issued on June '83 , and I thought worthy to post. If you wish to purchase more of Kaledon books and works please feel free to visit the official website of Keltia Publications. In this opportunity Andy Irvine and Dolores Keane were interviewed by John A Johnston.
By those days Planxty was reformed since two of it's founding members left the band. The original line up would joined up once again for the celebrated 2004 Live Concert at Vicariy St, Ireland. According to Andy Irvine's official bio he recalls this period on this way:
"Ralph McTell came over from London to talk about the band and play a few songs. Now there was an idea!
Eventually we asked Arty McGlynn, James Kelly and Dolores Keane to join and we rehearsed in Bill Whelan's house.
The music was lovely! It was very different music and a very different Planxty at this resurrection! Possibly, in retrospect, we should have called the band by a different name. I think the name bore heavily on some of the new members. At the time, though, Liam, myself and Bill felt that we were the band, the other two having left it…
We played a tour of Britain, finishing off at the Dominion Theatre in London. It was a very good gig , jammed to the gunnels, nobody shouted out ''Where's Christy?'' and we sailed back to Ireland content enough. We played a short tour of Ireland and that was that.
The last codicil of Planxty."

The Inner Keltia Interview:

"The new-look 6-piece Planxty is a very much changed beast, only Andy Irvine and Liam O'Flynn remaining from earlier line-up.
Christy Moore's singing and personality will be deeply missed. Also no matter how competent the new musicians are, the rythmn-section will lack the drive of a Donal Lunny or a Paul Brady.
However, on the bright side, the infectiously appealing singing of Dolores Keane should please many connoisseure of Irish Folk Husic.
If posterity judges this present line-up of Planxty to be weaker than earlier ones, then it must also judge Christy to have less impact on the Folk Scene solo than in Planxty or Moving Hearts.
Whatever the ins and outs I wish each and all well in their different musical ventures. " (J.A.Johnston)

JOHN - Is this present line-up of Planxty intended just as a short-term arrangement, or would you like to see it continueing for a long time.?

ANDY - On the contrary, the very reason for its existence at all is because it is intended to be a long-term thing. The idea for a band this size was born over a year ago, Liam and myself wishing to rectify the situation of Planxty always being in moth-balls. Chriaty and Donal were playing in Moving Hearta and we were very frustrated not playing, and people would come up to us and keep saying 'I've heard Planxty has broken-up','what happened'. We decided then that we should reformulate Planxty without Christy and Donal, and that ia the way it now is.

J : What were Christy and Donal's reasons for leaving Planxty ?

A : Their reasons are perfectly straightforward - Christy left Planxty and Moving Hearts because Christy is always changing and right now he wants to play on his own; Donal never officially left the Band, he just couldn't play in Moving Hearts and Planxty, and he was heavily committed to Moving Hearts.

J : I heard a rumour that the Concert you did last night was being recorded, was that for Irish radio, or for what purpose ?

A : Por the BBC. We were rather unhappy about that. WDR Cologne wants to take 3 tracks off it, BBC Belfast wants to take 1 track, and we just felt it was a bit ridiculous to have the very first Concert in this new line-up recorded, as there were bound to be lots of sound and teething problems.

J: Has the Group in its present line-up got plans for an album soon, or do you want to try out new material first ?

DOLORES : We're talking about it, some of the material is going to change. I want to change some of my songs.

A : Obviously we do want to make an album as soon as possible, but we don't want to make it before the band has properly settled down.

J : Do you ever sings songs at Concerts because you wish to preserve them for posterity ?

D : The only reason I'd sing a song is first of all because I like it, secondly because it suited my style of singing. I really haven't thought about singing a song to preserve the tradition, it hasn't come up yet, but maybe in the future I'll think about it.

A : I wouldn't sing a song I didn't like, and I don't have too much of a preservationist feeling towards songs, if a song is good it will be preserved anyway. I do like to sing songs other people don't sing, but if there was a song other artists were ainging, and I liked it, I'd still sing it.

J : Irish people last night lamented the fact that no 'rebel songs' were sung due to the absence of Christy. What does the Group feel about Republican songs, and the ongoing struggle for a whole Irish Republic ?

A : Planxty never sang protest songs. Planxty, with Christy Moore'a consent was always non-political, alright we did "Only our Rivers Run Pree" etc, but that is not really a political song.
My only committment is to sing songs I really like. We're planning to introduce a song quite soon about a man called Raol Wallenburg who saved 20,000 Jews in Budapest in 1935 then was taken into the USSR and who has never been heard of since, and nobody has tried to find out what happened to him - this song is political but it is not "Irish-political'. The Irish situation is so complicated I can't relate to people who sing too 'black and white songs'(clearly opinionated - Ed.) I couldn't sing 'black and white' songs because there are always'grey áreas as far as I'm concerned.

J : I've been speaking to a lot of Irish Groups over the past year and they were lamenting the fact that Comhltas Ceoltoiri Eireann seemed to be breaking down , and not seeming to get the support it used to. Do you think this is true, and do you think it ia bad for Iriah Music ?

D : You still get competitions and there almost aeems to be more now than I have ever seen before. The young musicians are still coming up, they are still there. I don't know if Comhaltas had all that much to do with young folk musicians coming up in Ireland.

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