Rock solid session from three legends of traditional Irish music

Paddy Keenan, Frankie Gavin and Dermot Byrne.

LIME Tree Theatre this week brings together three significant multi award winning trad musicians for a unique concert.
This event brings together Paddy Keenan, Frankie and Dermot Byrne.
Limerick Post chatted to De Dannan’s Frankie Gavin.
“It is the most unlikely combination of instruments, but it works,” he observes.

Paddy Keenan on uilleann pipes is a founding member of Bothy Band. He also plays low whistle and banjo.

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Dermot Byrne is one of our most outstanding traditional accordion players. In Altan he performed and recorded with Donal Lunny, Steve Cooney and Stephane Grapelli, touring all over the world.

Frankie Gavin is most associated with De Dannan. The fiddle player made ground breaking recordings, reimagining The Beatles’ ‘Hey Jude’ and recording with everyone from The Rolling Stones to Stephane Grappelli. Frankie also plays tin whistle and concert flute.

This concert of pipes, fiddle and accordion promises to be sweet and a lot of fun, Frankie predicts.
“You’d be surprised at how many people just want to hear the bare instruments and the melody played rock solid.”
And with this combination of the main players from Bothy Band, De Dannan and Altan, there might even be a competitive edge looking back on their history.
“We were competitors in the music field – keeping an eye on each other!!” Laughs.

A quick look at his Wikipedia Page throws up a few interesting “facts” about his career (it is a treacherous place for an interviewer to research!).
I asked him about three things that caught the eye …

True or false, you played with The Rolling Stones?
“I met Ronnie and Keith in Oughterard (Galway). Keith said, ‘We are here to hear some good music.’ I just lived down the road and by the grace of God, I was on my way back from West Cork that evening.
“I recorded with them for the ‘Voodoo Lounge’ album and played gigs in San Francisco and in Nashville. We have been friends for the last 25 years. Is great to see they are still at it.”

True or false, you played with Frankie Goes To Hollywood?
Laughs! False!
“Frankie Goes To Holyhead would be more like it!!”

True or false, you hold the record as the fastest fiddle player in the world? True!
Frankie played ‘The Fox Hunters Reel’ and sped it up to 150 Beats Per Minute for The Guinness Book Of World Records.
“It was done as a bit of a publicity gimmick for Arthur’s Day. It was great craic! And it didn’t take very long!!” Laughs.

Alongside with this tour with Paddy and Dermot, Frankie has established The Roaring ’20s Irish Orchestra, another show to look forward to when it rolls into town in the future. This new project recreates the music captured by The Flanagan Brothers in New York back in the day – all of 100 years ago.
The show features a brass section, double bass, clarinet, banjo and of course Frankie on fiddle.
“It’s all the music from the ’20s that kept all the Irish emigrants going when they thought they would never see home again.
“The Flanagan Brothers were the most successful act in their day.
“It’s very lively and really great fun.”

Paddy Keenan, Frankie Gavin & Dermot Byrne perform at Lime Tree Theatre this Thursday February 20.