The Bothy Band

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The Bothy Band
GenresIrish traditional music
Years active1975 (1975)–1978, 2007, 2023 - present
LabelsGael Linn
MembersPaddy Glackin
Matt Molloy
Paddy Keenan
Dónal Lunny
Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill
Kevin Burke
Seán Óg Graham
Past membersMícheál Ó Domhnaill (Died 2006)
Tommy Peoples (Died 2018)

The Bothy Band are an Irish traditional band, originally active during the mid 1970s.[1] They quickly gained a reputation as one of the most influential bands playing Irish traditional music. Their enthusiasm and musical virtuosity had a significant influence on the Irish traditional music movement that continued well after they disbanded in 1979.[2]



The Bothy Band was formed in 1975 by bouzouki player Dónal Lunny, after he left the group Planxty to form his own record company, Mulligan.[1] Lunny invited uilleann piper Paddy Keenan, flute and whistle player Matt Molloy, fiddler Paddy Glackin, and accordion player Tony MacMahon to get involved in an early project for the new label. This group of players was soon joined by a brother and sister who played in the Irish traditional group Skara Brae: Mícheál Ó Domhnaill on acoustic guitar and Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill on clavinet and vocals. Originally called Seachtar (Irish for seven), the group was renamed by Mícheál Ó Domhnaill after Tony MacMahon left the group to work as a producer for BBC. The Bothy Band made its debut on 2 February 1975 at Trinity College, Dublin.[2]

Three studio album career[edit]

In 1975, the Bothy Band released their eponymous first album on Mulligan Records (in Ireland; Green Linnet Records in US; Polydor Records in UK). Described on RTE as 'an incendiary mix of driving folk-rock rhythms' and 'a game-changer of an album',[3] it established their reputation as a significant musical force in Irish traditional music. In 1976, they released their second album, Old Hag You Have Killed Me, which was praised as 'a benchmark of the genre' of Irish music and expanded their following.[4] In 1977, they recorded what would be their last studio album, Out of the Wind – Into the Sun. In 1979, the Bothy Band released a live album, After Hours (Live in Paris).[1]

During their four years together, the Bothy Band featured a variety of fiddlers. Original fiddler Glackin was replaced by Donegal fiddler Tommy Peoples on the band's début album. Peoples in turn was replaced by Sligo-influenced fiddler Kevin Burke on the second release.[2]

After the Bothy Band break-up[edit]

After the group disbanded in 1979, the members continued to play influential musical roles in the Irish traditional music movement. Lunny returned to Planxty along with Molloy,[1] and then later helped form the Celtic rock band Moving Hearts. He continued working as a record producer, and later joined Andy Irvine to form the group Mozaik, releasing two albums in 2004 and 2007. After recording two albums with Planxty, Molloy joined The Chieftains. After several solo projects with Ó Domhnaill, Burke founded Patrick Street with Irvine and Jackie Daly (formerly of De Dannan). Ó Domhnaill and Ní Dhomhnaill went on to form Relativity and Nightnoise.[2]

In 1994, previously unreleased concert recordings from the 1970s were released as BBC Radio One – The Bothy Band Live in Concert. The music had been recorded in two different locations on different dates – 15 July 1976, at the BBC's Paris Theatre in London, and 24 July 1978, at the National Theatre, Kilburn.[2][5]

2007 tribute concert[edit]

Following the death of Mícheál Ó Domhnaill in July 2006, the surviving members of the Bothy Band came together at the tribute concert "Ómós- A Gig for Mícheál", held on 24 May 2007 at Vicar Street in Dublin. All proceeds from the concert went to the Irish Traditional Music Archive.[6]

2023 - 2024 Reunion[edit]

The group reunited again in 2023, initially for a television documentary, which led to a full Irish tour in 2024.[7] the lineup included all surviving members, including both Paddy Glackin and Kevin Burke on fiddle, joined by new member Seán Óg Graham on guitar.[8]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. p. 167. ISBN 1-85227-745-9.
  2. ^ a b c d e Harris, Craig. "The Bothy Band Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 12 September 2011.
  3. ^ Smith, Ruth (9 August 2018). "Simply Folk Recommends: The Bothy Band 1975 by The Bothy Band". {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  4. ^ The Bothy Band - Old Hag You Have Killed Me Album Reviews, Songs & More | AllMusic, retrieved 21 October 2023.
  5. ^ a b Harris, Craig. "The Bothy Band Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 12 September 2011.
  6. ^ LongNote (24 May 2007). "Ómós — A Gig For Mícheál". The Session. Retrieved 22 October 2023.
  7. ^
  8. ^