Frankie Gavin Got Stoned
De Danann’s prince of fiddlers receives a sovereign nod
By Margaret Moser, 2:10PM, Wed. Jan. 30, 2013
When it comes to modern Irish music, Frankie Gavin can stand up and take a bow as “The Prince of Irish Fiddlers.” And he’ll be taking several – literally – when he performs with his ground-breaking group De Danann at the One World Theatre tomorrow, Thursday.
Gavin hails from Connemara, in the area of Ireland sometimes called “the Gaeltacht” because the Irish language remains in use there. He says that the formation of the European Union has proved good for the preservation of the language since, “It’s made us be more protective of our nationality and culture, perhaps by sheer lovely accident.”
Gavin founded De Danann in the mid Seventies, just before the Irish music renaissance of the following decade. They rode the Celtic Tiger along with the Chieftains and Clannad, spreading the joy of timeless music across the world with albums like The Mist-Covered Mountain, Song for Ireland, and Welcome to the Hotel Connemara. The challenge stays high to uphold tradition as beloved figures of Irish music pass on.
“Irish music is in great shape! Look at the Chieftains, all those collaborations helped them keep going ‘til now. They would not have survived had they not called in favors in that domain.”
Yet certain aspects of modern life chafe at the outspoken Gavin, who recorded with the Rolling Stones on 1994’s Voodoo Lounge and would rather play his fiddle in the rain than deal with Facebook.
“Too many professionals from other walks of life – accountants, doctors, tax consultants – who play music for a pastime, have now decided to clutter the music market and crowd musicians’ space while they still hold down comfy salaries from their real professions.
“That said, the future is simply brighter than ever. My team is the salt of the earth and bring me such joy to perform with. I am a lucky man to be where I am now.
“And I cannot go without saying what recording and performing with Keith, Ronnie, Charlie, and Mick meant. They are the gents who made a difference to me when it comes to care and respect and affection of an ordinary Irish musician.”