Various Artists -The Irish Folk Festival – Celtic Roots & Celtic Moods (1996)

FrontCover1.jpgThe Irish Folk Festival (not to be confused with the St. Patrick’s Day Celebration tour organised by Petr Pandula) exists since 1974, and is the oldest of the German Celtic Folk Festival tours. The Festival has yet presented 18 tours (in a couple of years the tour did not take place); since 1988 it has taken place every year again. All in all, 145 different musicians (from Ireland, along with a few from the United States, Scotland, England and Brittany) have participated, and 427 concerts have taken place in 100 different towns. Nearly half a million visitors have come to the tours, mainly in Germany, with sometimes extensions to Switzerland, Austria or Denmark. Over the 25 years, the size of the festival tour has stayed always quite at the same level: Mostly ca. three weeks long, with between 13 and 17 musicians, and concerts with an average 1.000 head audience. These 1.000 visitors per evening were needed as soon as – after a few wild first tours – the festival became more musician-friendly, with a chartered tour bus with driver and accommodation in single rooms in hotels. Both organisers, Carsten Linde and Axel Schuldes, have a permanent job since a long time, and do the festival tour parallely more as a hobby.


Tour Poster 1974

The whole story started in the early 70s when Carsten Linde discovered the Furey brothers, after having been an important person in the German folk scene already in the 60s promoting American folk music. He was impressed by them, and thought that this kind of music should be brought to a bigger audience than just the back rooms of pubs. These thoughts resulted in the first Irish Folk Festival Tour in May 1974, which was quite a Furey invasion, with Eddie, Finbar, George Paul and father Ted, joined by Davey Arthur and Bobby Clancy representing the emigrated Irish. The second festival presented again several Fureys, but also Clannad and Micho Russell. “The idea of combining a festival and a tour was new, and that has been and is still one of the reasons of the success of the IFF.”

Today, the Irish Folk Festival has the reputation as one of Europe’s most important tours for Irish Folk music. What rank does it have today for Irish Music? Thinks Axel, “I hope quite the same as it had right from the start, which is defined by the intention of the festival. The Irish Folk Festival has never wanted to be a trend setter; it never wanted to define what is important in the Irish Folk Scene. It always tried to be a reflection, a micro cosmos of what is happening in the Celtic scene in Ireland.” Still, the organisers were often very much in time with the Irish scene; a good example being that Clannad played as a brand new band on the second Irish Folk Festival in 1975.


Seamus Creagh with Aidan Colley; photo by Sean Laffey The importance of the maxim to reflect the current scene in Ireland is also represented in the break of the IFF between 1982 and 1987. “The scene not only in Germany was at a low point – mainly because of ‚overfeeding’ with too much poor quality music from Ireland -, simultaneously in Ireland there did not happen very much. So we were consistent and stopped the tour for some years. Until in the mid-eighties, with Moving Hearts, new life was breathed into the scene. The scene simply had to regenerate a bit after the huge boom in the 70s. When the Irish tree was in full bloom once again in the end of the 80s, the Irish Folk Festival tour came back in 1988.” (


And here is a sampler (all songs were recorded in the studio) to promote the Irish Folk Festival in 1996 … all tunes are beautiful … and if you love and like this very unique Irish Folk (like me), than you have to listen !



Reel Time:
Eilis Egan (accordion)
Mairin Fahy (fiddle, vocals, tin whistle)
Yvonne Fahy (percussion)
Benny Heyes (keyboards)
Chris Kelly (guitar)

Maire Breatnach Band:
Maire Breatnach (fiddle, viola, keyboards)
Conor Byrne (flute, tin whistle)
Alan Connaughton (guitar)
Steve Dunford (bodhran)

Conor Keane & Kevin Griffin:
Kevin Griffin (banjo)
Conor Keane (accordion)

Sean Tyrrell:
Sean Tyrrell (vocals, mandola, mandolin, guitar, bass)


01. Reeltime: The Bridge Across The Atlantic (Traditional) 3.38
02. Reeltime: Buachaill On Eírne (Traditional) 4.28
03. Maire Breatnach Band: The Monaghan Twig / Jenny’s Chickens (Traditional) 2.18
04. Conor Keane & Kevin Griffin: Cooley’s Hornpipe / The Fairy Queen (O’Brien/ Traditional) 4.38
05. Maire Breatnach Band: Taimse Im Chodladh (Traditional) 4.24
06. Sean Tyrrell: The Moon Behind The Hill (Traditional) 4.00
07. Conor Keane & Kevin Griffin: The New Mown Meadow / The Dublin Reel / The Steampacket (Traditional) 4.12
08. Maire Breatnach Band: Nead Ná Lachan / Mall Rua (Traditional) 2.57
09. Sean Tyrrell: Lady My Love (Traditional) 3.21
10. Kevin Griffin: Two Barndances (Traditional) 4.44
11. Reeltime: The Trip To Germany (Traditional) 3.03
12. Conor Keane: The Jig Of Slurrs / Páidín O’Raifeartaigh (Traditional) 4.17
13. Sean Tyrrell: I Am A Rover (Traditional) 7.30




Still alive and well: