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daily archive: 08/03/2008
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The Bothy Band

A bothy band was a Scottish band in the 19th century, named for the shelter on the farms where the workers would often entertain themselves with dances. The Bothy Band was one of the most talented and influential traditional Irish bands in the 1970's. Formed in 1974, they stayed together until 1979. These YouTube clips feature the band's lineup in 1976 (same as the original lineup except for the fiddler) and showcase both the driving rhythym and virtuosity for which they were known:

The Laurel Tree
Pretty Peg/Craig's Pipes
Mrs. Gilhooley's Party (Kevin Burke on vocals)
Do You Love an Apple
16 Come Next Sunday (nice bouzouki playing)

Matt Molloy, flute - Today, he is considered one of the great Irish flutists. However, The Bothy Band had to convice him to quit his job as an engineer to play music full time. Since then, he's had a hugely successful career, mainly known for his tenure with The Chieftains. He's also known for his pub in County Mayo, where the traditional music sessions are legendary, so much so that they made a cd. An interview with Matt Molloy.

Paddy Keenan, uilleann pipes - Coming from a line of pipers and taught by his father, Paddy's playing style was also influenced by his love of rock & blues. After a long absence from the music scene, he continues to perform today, mostly in the US. This interview adds some insight into his life & the band.

Dónal Lunny, bouzouki, bodhran - Multi-instrumentalist and former Planxty member, Donal Lunny is also known for introducing what's now known as the Irish bouzouki. He had a Greek rounded back bouzouki modified to have a flat back, and this configuration is now common in Celtic music. After his time in Planxty and The Bothy Band, he became one of Ireland's most sought after session musicians and producers.

Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill, clavinet and vocals; Mícheál Ó Domhnaill, guitar and vocals - The Domhnaill siblings (Tríona, Mícheál, and Maighread) sang traditional Irish songs together, mostly in Irish Gaelic. They continue to be among the most well known singers of Irish music. Mícheál collaborated with Tríona and Kevin Burke for many years after The Bothy Band's breakup. After moving to Portland along with Kevin Burke, he later returned to Ireland. He died in 2006 from a fall in his home in Dublin. Here is a video of him singing an Irish Gaelic song. Here is a recent video of Tríona and Maighread singing (with Dónal Lunny on the bouzouki & introduction). Finally, here's an Irish language clip about the siblings.

Kevin Burke, fiddle - Known for his incredibly smooth County Sligo style, Kevin Burke is one of today's great Irish fiddlers and teachers. Before joining The Bothy Band, Kevin was playing with Christy Moore, Donal Lunny's former bandmate in Planxty. When the band asked Kevin about joining (replacing Tommy Peoples, who had replaced original fiddler Paddy Glackin), he was reluctant about bolting from Christy Moore. However, Christy told him he'd be crazy not to accept. What he initially thought was a temporary fill-in gig quickly became permanent. He's currently in Portland, Oregon's second most famous Kevin.
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