What ‘s in a name? Well. when the names are Donal Lunny, Andy Irvine, Liam O’Flynn and Paddy Glackin it means a full house at the Cathedral Quarter Festival Marquee.
Three quarters of Planxty (two of the hippies and the civil servant) were joined by one of the country’s finest traditional fiddlers for a night that was about more than nostalgia for the 1970s (which would have been remembered by a good many of the audience) but about the music and song that so excited us back then and how it still has the power to entertain and entrance.
We can still marvel at the interplay between the strings of Lunny and Irvine, O’Flynn’s mastery of the pipes and whistle – as authentic as you can get – and the Donegal roots of Dubliner Glackin’s fiddle playing.
Amongst the instrumental highlights, there was the two hornpipes from O’Neill’s 1001 Tunes got feet a-tapping, a few of West Clare’s John Kelly-related tunes, and a stirring set of reels to end the night off. See below.
And of course, there were the songs that are imbedded in our psyche – Arthur McBride and The West Coast of Clare, Donal Lunny’s version of Siubhán Ní Dhuibhir, a song he learned from his Donegal mother, Mary Rogers, to the highlight of the evening, Andy’s ethereal version of a song he learned from Bridget Tunney from Beleek in County Fermanagh. As I Roved Out.
But there was humour too. Irvine’s paean to the heady days of the folk revival in Dublin, O’Donoghue’s, heavily featured references to the recently-deceased Banjo Barney McKenna who would often lead the musical shenanigans at the Merrion Row pub despite downing a skinful of drink.
“They carried him bodily out to the jacks, he emptied his bladder and they carried him back, he swallowed his pint and he was back on track, how the f*** does he do it?!”
Although I would have preferred to hear a slow air from O’Flynn and a livelier audience, this was still a gig to savour.