Lankum are one of the most talked-about bands to come out of Ireland in decades. They are a Dublin four-piece who combine distinctive four-part vocal harmonies with arrangements of uilleann pipes, concertina, accordion, fiddle and guitar. Their repertoire spans humorous Dublin music-hall ditties and street-songs, classic ballads from the Traveller tradition, traditional Irish and American dance tunes, and their own original material. The band comprises of brothers Ian and Daragh Lynch along with Cormac MacDiarmada and Radie Peat. When not on tour Ian lectures in Irish Folklore and musical traditions in University College Dublin, while Cormac and Radie grew up as champion traditional players, on the fiddle and concertina, respectively. Yet Lankum are not purely trad themselves, in the same way The Pogues were more urban music. Rough-hewn and raw, they’re the edgiest thing in Dublin right now.
Having spent a number of years performing as ‘Lynched’ - a play on Ian and Daragh’s family name Lynch - the band decided that they would no longer continue with the name due to the unavoidable implications that it has in regards to acts of racist violence. Their new name comes from the ballad ‘False Lankum’, as sung by the Irish Traveller John Reilly Jr.
The band was originally formed in the early 2000’s, and has since progressed through a number of incarnations, culminating in the four-piece group playing today. The release of their album Cold Old Fire and a subsequent appearance on the BBC television programme, 'Later... with Jools Holland' cemented their reputation as a band that successfully crosses genres. Lankum are busy breathing new life into old music.
Although an acoustic group whose repertoire is fundamentally based on traditional song, influenced by legends such as Frank Harte, Planxty, The Dubliners and the Watersons, subtle traces of the group’s collective influences can be detected, ranging from American old-timey music to krautrock and drone.
“Lankum are the darlings of Dublin’s 300 year-old folk scene.” Colin Irwin – The Guardian
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