by Han Speek.
(Copyright © 1995/1996)
Throughout his active involvement in Irish traditional music Donal has been incredibly productive as a producer and sometimes engineer for the recorded work of his fellow musicians. The first album for which Donal is credited as producer dates from as early as 1973, which is even before his recordings with Christy Moore. The list of artists which were at some point in their career produced by Donal is sheer endless: Christy Moore (of course), Clannad, Planxty, Altan, and many, many more (see discography below).
In 1987 Donal was at the heart of the band that did the final concert in the Sean O'Riada (composer, band leader and musical pioneer, who laid the basis for the Chieftains, and introduced a couple of innovative views on how Irish trad. music should be viewed) Retrospective. Donal is seen by many as following the path set out by O'Riada, since his work (especially his own compositions) is considered innovative, and extending the concept of Irish traditional music as it is today.
Donal's activities as a producer, and of course his reputation as a musician and composer, have also resulted in his involvement in a couple of TV productions on the subject of Irish trad. music. For the 1991 Hummingbird (commissioned by BBC/RTE) production "Bringing It All Back Home", which follows the influences Irish trad. music had on American (folk ?) music, and vice versa, Donal wrote the opening tune, a piece called "April the 3rd" (the date it was composed), which (again) demonstrates Donal's fascination with complex rhythms. He also produced the double CD that was compiled of the recordings made for this project, released on Philip King's "Hummingbird" label. In 1995 another TV series was done, again by Philip King, this time showing recent developments in Irish music, as a result of all kinds of ethnic influences, under the name "A River Of Sound". Donal was commissioned to write the title piece, which brings together instruments from various cultures, such as fiddle, Irish harp, African kora, harpsichord, piano, saxophone, harmonica, keyboards and various percussion instruments. Donal and TV producer Philip King continue to work together, and other projects may result in the future.
Donal (on bouzouki, bodhran and keyboards) forms the heart of a group of young musicians: Siobhan Peoples, Paul McGrattan, Sean Og Potts and Mairead Ni Dhomhnaill. This group, together with the duo Kevin Burke/Jackie Daly and Stockton's Wings, do a series of concerts in Germany as "The Irish Folk Festival on Tour '93". A CD was also compiled based on this tour, unfortunately using mostly material that appeared on previous records of the participating artists, and only some 25 - 30% live material. German public radio (WDR5) however did a full-length broadcast of one of the concerts, and the quality of that show was exceptional.
At the time this is being written, Donal Lunny is just completing a project under the title "Common Ground", which is all about putting together the "First interactive CD-ROM compilation of Irish music"(quote Irish Times). The project was initiated by EMI, but (major PC software company) MicroSoft is also somehow involved in the project. Among the artists listed are Sinead O'Connor, Bono (of Irish rock band U2), Elvis Costello and Kate Bush, so it's a bit outside the trad. field where Donal usually operates. But still, once again he's breaking new ground for Irish music. At the moment it seems that the normal (sound-only) CD of the project will be available first, since there are some problems in getting everything sorted out for the new medium. But the release of the CD-ROM is soon to follow.
Donal was asked to do a series of music shows for the new Gealic-speaking TV station Telefi/s na Gaeilge (TnaG), for which he used a pretty impressive group of musicians as the house band, including fiddler Nollaig Casey, guitarist Steve Cooney and ace piper John McSherry, and occasionally complemented by Sharon Shannon on accordion. The series of 13 half-hour shows was an instant success, and has also been broadcast by regular Irish TV (RTE). A CD featuring many of the guest artists in the show was also released.
Donal has found the time to put together a new band, mainly drawn from the group that worked with him during the making of the "Sult - Spirit of the Music" TV series he did for TnaG. The band, which also includes Sharon Shannon, Marta Sebestyen and Maighread Ni/ Dhomhnaill, recorded an album under the name "Coolfin", which was released in september 1998, and a review (kindly provided by Philippe Varlet of HMT) can be found here.
[Note: A recent interview with Donal Lunny can be found in
"Prosperous", Christy Moore, Tara, TARA2008, 1972 (*) "Christy Moore", Christy Moore, Polydor, 2383 426, 1976 (p) "Whatever Tickles Your Fancy", Christy Moore, Polydor, ???, 1976 "Live in Dublin", Christy Moore, Donal Lunny & Jimmy Faulkner, Tara, TARA2005, 1978 (LP) "AntiNuclear", Christy Moore, with tracks "People will Die", Barry Moore and "Trip to Cransore", Early Grave Band, Alternative Energy Records, ALT 001, 1979 (12" single) (p) "Ninety Miles from Dublin, The Rights of Man, Repeal the Union", Christy Moore, Music for H-Block HB001, 1980 (Single) (p) "H-Block", Christy Moore, Donal Lunny, Matt Molloy, Declan Sinnott, a.o., Music for H-Block, HBLP001, 1980 (p, with Christy Moore) "Christy Moore and Friends", Christy Moore e.o., RTE, distributed by Tara, RTE 59, 1981 (LP) "The Time Has Come", Christy Moore, WEA 24-0150-1, 1983 (LP) (p, with Christy) "Ride On", Christy Moore, WEA 240 407-1, 1984 (LP) (p) "The Spirit of Freedom", Christy Moore, WEA IR0840, 1985 (LP) (p) "Ordinary Man", Christy Moore, WEA 240 763-1, 1985 (LP) (p) "Unfinished Revolution", Christy Moore, WEA 242 134-1, 1987 (p) "Christy Moore", Christy Moore, Atlantic 7-81835-2, 1988 (p, with Christy) "Voyage", Christy Moore, WEA 2292-46156-2, 1989 (p)
"Planxty", Planxty, Polydor, 2383 186, 1973 (LP) "The Well Below The Valley", Planxty, Shanachie, 79010, 1973 "Cold Blow and the Rainy Night", Planxty, Polydor, 2383 301, 1974 (LP)** "After The Break", Planxty, Tara Records, CD3001, 1979/1992 (p) "The Woman I Loved So Well", Planxty, Tara, TARACD3005, 1980/1992 (p, with Brian Masterson) "Timedance" (12'' single), Planxty, WEA IR28207, 1981 (p, with Bill Whelan) "Words & Music", Planxty, WEA Ireland, 24-0101-1, 1983 (LP) (p)
"1975", The Bothy Band, Mulligan, LUNCD002, 1975 "Old Hag You Have Killed Me", The Bothy Band, Mulligan, LUNCD007, 1976 "Out of the Wind, Into the Sun", The Bothy Band, Green Linnet, GLCD3013, 1977/1985 "Afterhours (Live in Paris)", The Bothy Band, Green Linnet, GLCD3016, 1978/1984 "Live in Concert", The Bothy Band, Windsong, WINCD060, 1994
"Moving Hearts", Moving Hearts, WEA Ireland, IR 58387, 1982 (p) "The Dark End of the Street", Moving Hearts, WEA 58718, 1982 (p) "Live Hearts", Moving Hearts, WEA Ireland, IR 0230, 1984 "The Storm", Moving Hearts, Tara 3014, 1985 (p)
"Brian Byrne", Brian Byrne, Hawk, HALP 105, 1973 (p) "Celtic Folkweave", Mick Hanly & Michael O'Domnhaill, Polydor 2908 013, 1974 (p) "Ever The Winds", Tommy Makem, Polydor 2383 328, 1975 (p) "Aileach", Aileach, EMI/Leaf 7009, 1975 (p) "Pumpkinhead", Pumpkinhead, Mulligan, LUN 001, 1976 (p) "A Kiss in the Morning Early", Mick Hanly, Mulligan, LUN 005, 1976 (p) "Andy Irvine & Paul Brady", Andy Irvine & Paul Brady, Mulligan, LUNCD008, 1976* "Midnight Well", Midnight Well, Mulligan, LUN011, 1977 (LP) "If The Cap Fits", Kevin Burke, Rockburgh, ROC105, 1978 (LP) (p) "Welcome Here Kind Stranger", Paul Brady, Mulligan, LUNCD024, 1978 (p, with Paul Brady) "Molloy - Brady - Peoples", Matt Molloy, Paul Brady, Tommy Peoples, Mulligan, LUNCD017, 1978 (p, except tr. 11 p. Paul Brady) "And Listen to my Song", Franke Harte, RMLP 1013, 1978 (p) "The Singer's House", David Hammond with Donal Lunny, Struthan/Mulligan, LUNA 336, 1978 (p) "The Connachtman's Rambles", Martin O'Connor, Mulligan, LUN027, 1979 (LP) (p) "Promenade", Kevin Burke & Micheal O Domhnaill, Mulligan, LUN 028, 1979 "Rainy Sundays Windy Dreams", Andy Irvine, Tara, TARA3002, 1980 (LP) (p) "As I went over Blackwater", Mick Hanly, Mulligan, LUN 040, 1980 (p) "High Kings of Tara", Christy Moore, Planxty, a.o., Tara 3003, 1980 (p) "Green Autumn", Diane Hamilton, Greenhays, 1982 "Jimmy Mo Mhile Stor", Jimmy Crowley, 198? "Mary Black", Mary Black, Dara, DARACD 002, 1983 "Matt Molloy", Matt Molloy, Green Linnet, GLCD3008, 1984 (p, with Michael O'Domhnaill, Matt Molloy) "Heathery Breeze", Matt Molloy, Shanachie, 79064, 1993 (p) "Granuaile", Shaun Davey, Liam O'Flynn, Rita Connolly e.o., Tara, TARA3017, 1985 (LP) "Stony Steps", Matt Molloy, Claddagh Records, CCF18CD, 1987 (p) "Patrick Street", Andy Irvine, Jackie Daly, Kevin Burke, Arty McGlynn, Green Linnet, SIF 1071, 1987 (LP) (p) "Donal Lunny", Gael-Linn, CEFCD133, 1987 "Altan", Frankie Kennedy & Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh, Green Linnet, GLCD 1078, 1987 (p, e) "Liam O'Flynn 1", Liam O'Flynn, 1988 (p) "Lead The Knave", Arty McGlynn & Nollaig Casey, Ringsend Road, MCG CD1, 1989 (p, m) "Horse With A Heart", Altan, Green Linnet, GLCD 1095, 1989 "The Red Crow", Altan, Green Linnet, GLCD 1109, 1990 "Sharon Shannon", Sharon Shannon, Solid Records, ROCD 8, 1991 "Maire", Maire Brennan, Atlantic, 7 82421-2, 1992 (p, with Calum Malcolm) "Gan Dha Phingin Spre (No Dowry)", Maighread Ni Dhomhnaill, Gael Linn, CEFCD 152, 1991 (p) "Rabharta Ceoil/In Full Spate", Paddy Glackin, Gael Linn, CEFCD 153, 1991 (p) "The Mask & Mirror", Loreena McKennitt, WEA, CD95296, 198? "Bringing It All Back Home", various artists, Hummingbird/BBC, BBC CD 844, 1991 (p) "The Seville Suite", Bill Whelan, Davy Spillane, Mairtin O'Connor, contains "Timedance '92" and "Dun Briste" with Donal Lunny, Tara, TaraCD 3030, 1992 ("Timedance '92" p, with Bill Whelan) "No Frontiers", Mary Black, Grapevine, GPS 4, 1992 "Island Angel", Altan, Green Linnet, GLCD 1137, 1993 "Harvest Storm", D. Lunny, K. Burke, J.Daly, Stockton's Wing, a.o., Wundertute, ????, 1993 "Misty Eyed Adventures", Maire Brennan, WEA/Atlantic, 7567 82701 4, 1995 (p, with Calum Malcolm) "A River of Sound", Micheal O'Suilleabhain a.o., Hummingbird/Virgin, CDU 2776, 1995 "Irishtown - A Hummingbird Collection, vol. 1", various artists, compiled by D. Lunny, Hummingbird Records, HBCD00?, 1995 "Dermot Byrne", Dermot Byrne, Hummingbird Records, HBCD 0007, 1995 "Common Ground", (subtitle: Voices of Modern Irish Music), EMI/Premier, 7243 8 37691 2 4, 1996 "Blackwater", Altan, Virgin, TCV/CDV 2796, 1996 "Sult - Spirit of the Music", various artists, Hummingbird, HBCD 0009, 1996 "Each Little Thing", Sharon Shannon, Solid/Grapevine, GRACD 226, 1997 (p, e) "1798 - The First Year of Liberty", Frank Harte & Donal Lunny, Hummingbird, HBCD0014, 1998 "Coolfin", Donal Lunny Band, Hummingbird/RTE, CDHBRTE 221, 1998 *) has Andy on mandolin and vocals, but Donal on bouzouki. **) has both Johnny Moynihan and Donal on bouzouki. (p, e, m) = produced/engineered/mixed by Donal Lunny
Thanks to Joan McKenty, Peter Grant, Graham McDonald, Pete Wray, Peter Laban, Ted McGraw, Rolf Wagels, Susan McKeown, Aaron Newman, Philippe Varlet, ...