Penguin Eggs

Tuesday, 31 March 2020 13:48


Written by Colin Irwin
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They’re at the forefront of a new Irish wave of traditional musicians flush with modern intensity.

Lankum approach traditional Irish music with a modern intensity—a relentless spirit of non-compromise that obliterates perceived past notions. “We’re definitely drawn to dark music,” they tell Colin Irwin.

Irish music is embedded in a gloriously rich, empowering, and provocative folk tradition. From the songs of the travellers to the emigrés who crossed the Atlantic and those in the rural west who held informal dances in the streets when the state and the Catholic Church were so suspicious of house sessions they banned them, traditional music has provided a telling window to Irish history and culture.

Band, Moving Hearts, Riverdance, et al, the music has, of course, travelled far and wide and achieved unimaginable popularity around the world since those unenlightened days; but at its best, Irish music still gets to the core of the emotional heart.

A bit more sparingly these days, Christy Moore continues to be the ultimate communicator, while Dervish celebrate their 30th anniversary and Clannad embark on their farewell tour; but if we thought we were reaching the end of an era, there are plenty more taking on their mantle. The brilliant singer and songwriter Lisa O’Neill, for one, and the MacGloinn brothers of Ye Vagabonds for another, but leading the charge are the wonderful Lankum.

Representing the graphic underbelly of Dublin’s counterculture, Radie Peat, Cormac Mac Diarmada, and the brothers Ian and Daragh Lynch are well versed and strongly immersed in the history of the music they champion but invest it with a fresh passion and a very modern intensity that obliterates the normal perceived barriers surrounding the genre...

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