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Donal Lunny

Guitar and bouzouki player Dónal Lunny is one of the pioneers of the Irish folk music revival. His first group, he told me, "was a very close imitation of The Clancy Brothers, [who] used to go to sessions every weekend in a pub called Pat Downing's in Prosperous, where there were some traditional musicians. As there was no other accompanist, I had sort of carte blanche with my guitar. So I used to go there and play all night, play tunes, reels, and jigs, and whatever on my guitar. I'm sure I was dreadful at the beginning. It improved as time went on, and I got involved in different groups in Dublin." One of those groups, Emmet Spiceland, also included Mick Moloney, now a champion of American-Irish music. In 1972, Christy Moore came home to Ireland to record an album. Lunny says, "He decided to collect musicians together. So he assembled whatever it was, eight or nine musicians, and we recorded Prosperous. And it just felt so good to everyone that we just said,'Well, jeez, of course, yeah. Of course... let's form a band.' At the time, I was making jewelry, making a living at that, if you like, and it just stopped. Planxty started, and I never had time to do anything else since." In 1975, Lunny left Planxty to join a group that never got off the ground. His career, however, bounced back nicely: "The Bothy Band was in existence at that point, not as The Bothy Band, but as an ensemble I think was known as 1691. I joined them, and we became The Bothy Band, and off we went." Lunny toured with The Bothy Band and recorded four albums with them. When they broke up, it was back to Planxty and eventually to Moving Hearts: "Some of the most enjoyable moments I've had in the last ten years have been with Moving Hearts. That did actually spring straight from the last version of Planxty. I wanted Planxty to sort of gear up, get a rhythm section in. Christy was interested in pressing on, so Moving Hearts started. That was an exciting time for me, both on stage and in the studio, because it was the first time I had to deal with bass and drums on an ongoing basis." Since Moving Hearts, Lunny has been more active as a producer than as a musician, producing records by many of the top groups in Ireland and Scotland. Look for his name as musician or producer, and you're sure to be buying an exciting, high-quality album. ~ Steve Winick, Rovi
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