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Planxty: The "Inner Keltia" Interview - Part Two


Planxty: The "Inner Keltia" Interview - Part Two. If you wish to purchase more of Kaledon books and works please feel free to visit the official website of Keltia Publications.

John: Something that is disturbing to me and to many other people is that up in the Western Islands of Scotland the influence of American Country and Western Music is having a detrimental effect on the native Music Tradition where people are neglecting Gaelic/Scottish songs in preference for C & W. la it doing similar damage in Ireland ?

Dolores : Country & Western has been popular in Ireland for many years (they call it 'Country 'n Irish) but I think thats going down, the Dance Halls no longer exist, it's all Discos now. When I was growing up I used to go to Country & Western Dances because there was dancing, and it was the only place you could go, but I was still interested in Irish Music. Country & Western was only a weekend thing.

J « Certain people are involved with Folk Discos in an attempt to getFolk Music over to young people. What do you think about Folk Discos?

Andy : What does a Folk Disco do ?

J : Well take mine for an example, earlier in the evening we play slower stuff backed with slides, in the middle we try and have live musicians, and in the third period we play very fast folk music or Keltic Rock for the young people to dance to. The dancing is free-form, they can dance any way they like to things. It is hard to describe the enjoyable atmosphere that I can generate, I just know that I have managed to interest quite a few people in Folk Music through my Discos. I have however encountered a very mixed reaction from folk musicians, some say 'keep music live at all costs', otheres say ' if it can bring young people into the Folk Tradition then all well and good'. What are your own personal feelings about Folk Discos ?

A : You're probably right it would be nice if people knew a bit more about folk music. In Ireland up until a few years ago folk music was very 'in', young people were into it. Then for some reason, almost overnight it lost a lot of its appeal, and punk or rock or something took over. I don't think folk music has the right image at present for young people, it's old-fashioned. Mainly because when it was 'in' it was at a time when people were less aggressive. WalMng down Princes Street (a St. in Edinburgh) you see all those young people with amazing hairstyles, there is no way they would be interested in folk music, it wouldn't fit their image.

J : Ah but surely we've got to try working with those people, and try and present progressive folk music to them. I know many punk and rock fans who also like RUN RIG. There is a lot of young militant people around Edinburgh and Glasgow at the moment, they1re pissed-off with the Conservativo Government, pissed-off with Society, the Nuclear Scene etc., in a way you've got to accept they are there and like that, and then it is a question of what you do with them with regard to Folk Music, that's what interests me. And that is one of the reasons I run Folk Discos.

A : We've had it before in the 1950's with an upsurge in C.N.D. and everybody got shunted off to the left, and shunted from the left into Folk Music. I remember it well, and if it happened again, I'd quite like it, it would remind me of my childhood (said with a smile - Ed.). Basically I think Folk is a very good platform, perhaps a little restricted musically for some tastes, but the songs we sing I think they are really great. But people aren't listening to the words anymore they want something up-tempo, the words don't count.

D : However I've noticed recently that in a lot of rock and pop music the lyrics are getting a lot better, they are really saying things. I've found myself listening & singing along. And musically I think some of these young groups are really good.(l agree - J.)»
A : It's the disco bands that produce man-machine music that I think are really shit, they have no taste or talent. (general agreement - J.)

J : So have you both got solo projects or albums on the way, and what is Liam planning ?

D : I plan to do another album on Green Linnet with John Faulkner,
Jacky Daily and Jacky Small. And we'll probably go to the States  as well, to take up where we left off about a year ago, or rather to re-do old ground.

A : I'll talk about Liam first, Liam has been talking about doing a solo album for ages. The only album he has done is "The Brendan Voyage" which is a great album but it is not what he usually does. (D): It is amazing that in all these years he has never done a solo album. (A) : He was asking my advice on how traditional it should be. If I was Liam I'd do an album and get it out my system. I wish to Jesus he would just do it, he should record the ultímate good taste traditional pibroch álbum. Myself, I'd like to do another album like the album I did with Dick (Gaughan - Ed.).

J : How much of that was both of you agreeing to do an album, or how much was it the record company saying it would be a good idea for the two of you to do it ?

A : Dick and myself along with Dolores etc had been on an album for 'Folk Freak' called "Folk Friends" (God how I hate that phrase. (D); so do i). I played on one track with Dick and I liked his style, and so I said to the record company I'd like to do an album with Dick. Dick said yes, and we did a joint album, which was originally only meant to be released in the German-speaking Countries. It has been successful, and so far I haven't heard anyone say anything bad about it. So I don't listen to it, an just think it must be as good as people say it is. (it recieved a very favourable review in INNER KELTIA No.3). I am also supposed to be doing a Bulgarian- jazz - fussion album in Holland, the mind boggles.

J : I wonder what your image will be with ' folkies' when they hear that?

A : I hate the phrase 'folkies' because it conjurs up the image of these people with pewter tankards, with beards and great beer-guts. (Unfortunately too often right - Ed.) These people are interested in something but it is not Folk Music, they might think you have sold-out, but we are basically musicians, not 'folkies'.

A : I have found these days that I just have to work twice as hard, prices go up but the fees don't go up, for the simple reason that you can't ask people to pay too much more, 'cos they just might not come, I ara doing a Germán Tour next week, solo, for the same money that I got 4 years ago, so you just have to work harder. Fortunately I like hard work, and like to travel, and see people and old friends. You know , travel through places with  misty eyes .... (smiling) How do you spell your ñame, Irvine with a misty eye ('I') giggle, giggle....
A quote from Celtic Sprite: 

On October 2008, An Post, the Irish postal operator, had launched the second phase of its acclaimed Irish Music stamp series celebrating the buoyancy and flair of the Irish music scene. Planxty( featuring Andy Irvine) , De Dannan (featuring Dolores Keane), The Bothy Band and the Tulla Ceili Band, four of Irelands' most renowned and best loved groups are featured in performance on the new stamps. At this post Andy Irvine commented:  “Stamp collecting was my childhood hobby. Little did I think that, one day, I might become a collectible myself!”
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