We have been adding more Celtic and traditional folk music to our playlists of recent and we’re currently digging into our older recordings to bring you more great music from the past. I was listening to the Bothy Band this morning and ended up re-playing Old Hag You Have Killed Me, an album they released in 1976.
You only need to read through their history to realise how big they were. All the names mentioned below are world famous now and there is no escaping that they changed the face of irish traditional music forever. Donal Lunny once described Paddy as “the Jimi Hendrix of the pipes”, after listening to him play you can understand why! Combine this with the drive of Tommy Peoples’ fiddle and Matt Molloy’s flute along with the rest of the band and you have one of the best musical combinations ever.
The band performed officially for the first time in 1975. Paddy Keenan, their Uilleann pipe player, had spent some time playing blues and rock around Europe. Upon his return to Ireland he began playing in Dublin with with Triona Ni Dhomhnaill (singer/keyboards) and Micheal O Dhomhnaill (singer/guitar). They were later joined by Paddy Glackin (Fiddle) Matt Molloy (Flute). Next to join was Tony MacMahon (accordion) and then Donal Lunny (guitar). They called themselves “Seachtar,” an Irish word for “seven.”
After a growing number of gigs and a decision to become professional resulted in Tony MacMahon and Paddy Glackin to leave. Paddy was replaced Tommy Peoples (later replaced by Kevin Burke).
According to Paddy Keenan, this is how the band got their name:
Micheal O’ Dhomhnaill had recently returned from Scotland, where he happened across a photograph taken in the 1890s of a group of tattered musicians. “The Bothy Band,” it was titled, in reference to the migrant Irish laborers who worked in England and Scotland and were housed in stone huts known as “bothies.” Micheal suggested that the band take this name, and the others agreed. Thus was born one of the most influential bands of the 1970s, The Bothy Band.