Reaching a 45-year milestone in any profession is extremely rare; however, when that profession involves remaining at the top of the Irish music scene for almost five decades, then the achievement is even more remarkable!
A 45th anniversary celebration is what is in store for the legendary Wolfe Tones at the Dean Crowe Theatre, Athlone, on Friday July 10. This show will be a special celebration of the Wolfe Tones and their influence on Irish ballad music worldwide over the last 45 years.
First seeing the light of day in 1964, The Wolfe Tones started out on a ballad career which has taken them to the heights of not just Irish, but international entertainment. Their achievements include receiving the freedom of the cities of New York and Los Angeles, being presented with Philadelphia’s greatest honour The Liberty Bell, appearing in New York’s Carnegie Hall on numerous occasions, in Paris’s famous Olympia, Melbourne’s Victoria Hall - the list is endless! They have even received a special citation passed by the US House of Congress on the occasion of their 25th anniversary! Not bad for a bunch of lads who started off busking at the fleadhs around Ireland.
2009 has seen The Wolfe Tones commence a year of special events to mark their 45th anniversary. This tour has the group performing 120 shows in 10 countries. Having an extensive catalogue of hit songs in their repertoire, ballads such as ‘My Heart is in Ireland’, ‘Irish Eyes’ and ‘The Streets of New York’ are guaranteed to make the rafters ring in the Wolfe Tones’ unique style.
No strangers to controversy over the years, the rebellious Wolfe Tones have remained unabashedly proud of their songs and ballads. It is their firm belief that it is the work of the ballad maker to reflect the times they live in, and there is no one could argue that the Wolfe Tones have not carried on that centuries old tradition.
Their ballads from 1964 to the present day have encompassed every aspect of Ireland including emigration, famine, love songs, satirical songs, as well as those ballads which cover the most recent events in Irish history.
A huge factor in the group’s international success is the fact that they have in their ranks a ballad singer who is widely considered to be one of the finest Ireland has ever known. When performed by Tommy Byrne, ballads such as ‘Grace’, ‘The Loughsheelin Eviction’ and ‘Kevin Barry’ will show why this singer has gained a legendary status over the past 45 years.
Always creative, the group continues to release brand new material even after 45 years on the road, mostly from the pen of prolific songwriter, Brian Warfield. It is the Wolfe Tones’ banjo player and harpist who has composed such hits as ‘Irish Eyes’, ‘Rock On Rockall’ and ‘Joe McDonnell’. The Dean Crowe Theatre appearance will feature the group’s numerous hits from over the years, but will also give their fans a glimpse at their most recent work.
Talented musician, Noel Nagle, the Wolfe Tones’ whistle player and uillean piper, completes this legendary trio. It is Noel’s musicianship which adds that distinctive sound to some of the Wolfe Tones’ most rousing ballads.
The Wolfe Tones will appear at the Dean Crowe Theatre, on Friday July 10 at 8pm. Tickets can be booked via the venue’s box office, tel (090 ) 6492129 or online at www.deancrowetheatre.com
Brian Warfield, Noel Nagle and Tommy Byrne are renowned for their live performances, so early purchase is highly recommended due to the expected high demand for this special Wolfe Tones 45th anniversary concert.