Interview with Alec Finn, by Paul Magnussen


[This is a fragment from an interview that music journalist Paul Magnussen had with Alec Finn, bouzouki player in the well-known Irish band De Dannan. The interview was originally published in "Guitar International" magazine of October 1991]
GI:  Alec, how did you come to be in De Dannan?

AF:  Well, when I moved back to Ireland I used to play the
blues on the guitar, in Dublin. I went to listen to the
music over there. I eventually moved on to Galway,
which is in the West. At the time it wasn't a place where
you could hear blues. It's all traditional music; and I got
a present of a bouzouki from Greece (by mistake it was,
actually - I asked a friend of mine to bring back one of
those "lautels" back from Crete. It's a type of Grecian lute,
a crude form of the European lute - beautiful thing,
bigger. And I was always fascinated by lutes: I thought
lutes were beautiful things, still do).
He brought me back a bouzouki by mistake, which I
had in Spiddal (in Galway). The only music you could
get into if you wanted to play was the local music. So I
started playing Irish music.

GI:  Did you know Johnny Moynihan, then?

AF:  Yes, I got into it about the same time - in the same
year he got his, I would imagine, if not the year after.
But we play completely different styles anyway.

GI:  I mention it because everybody credits him with introducing
the bouzouki into Irish music.

AF:  Well, he did. He was the first person, I think him and
Andy Irvine.

GI:  Andy had that Portuguese Guitar, didn't he?

AF:  He was playing Gibson mandolin when I first saw
him. The Portuguese Guitar was much later, I think.
So I started playing Irish music on the bouzouki, not
the guitar. The only reason I'm playing guitar now with
the group is because we always have a singer and it's
necessary to accompany. A bouzouki is not really strong
enough, it's a lightweight sound.

(Interview fragment used with author's permission.)


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