5 Minutes with… Andy Irvine

Live to your Living Room Andy-3-Brian-Hartigan-1024x683 5 Minutes with... Andy Irvine
Photo credit: Brian Hartigan

Irish folk legend Andy Irvine is known for his work with Planxty, his duo with Paul Brady and much more. He’ll be joining us for an intimate solo gig on 6th October, and we caught up with him to find out more about life during lockdown and what it’s like to be back on the road. Here’s what he had to say…

After a 50-year career in music, you must have seen huge changes in the industry over the years. How do you think we can adapt and recover after the events of the last year and a half? 

It remains to be seen. In Ireland, there is a sense of relief that live gigs are making a comeback. I hope it will be the same in the UK. Of course, a lot of venues have closed their doors for good, but I really hope things will settle down in the UK. For the likes of me, Brexit is a bit of a disaster. We’ll see how it all pans out!

Did you manage to find some time to be creative during lockdown?

Yes, I did. I have finished arranging and recording an album of songs by Woody Guthrie that I have threatened to do for the last forty years. I have laid down the tracks of me playing and singing, but I need to add the colour of other instruments. I’m not sure the album will see the light of day till next Spring, as the key musicians I want to use are getting busier and busier!

“In Ireland, there is a sense of relief that live gigs are making a comeback. I hope it will be the same in the UK.”

Earlier this year, you released Live in Telemark with Lillebjørn Nilsen – could you tell us a bit about that album?

Lillebjørn and I go back a long way! We first met at a festival in Switzerland about forty years ago and enjoyed each other’s music so much that we planned to make an album together. Seemingly, we weren’t in a hurry! It was to be a further 14 years before we finally got it together in Norway at the Telemark Festival. We remain firm friends.

How does it feel to be back on tour and reconnecting with fans?

Fantastic! During the pandemic, I felt like I was beginning to lose my ability; I practised every day but found I couldn’t play some of the phrases I had been able to before. As soon as I got on a stage with real live people in front of me, it all came back and it was as though I had never been away!

Andy Irvine will be playing an online gig for Live to your Living Room on Wednesday 6th October at 8pm BST. Book tickets now!